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Old March 10 2013, 08:23 PM   #1
EmoBorg
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old english accent was closer to American southern accent

A few months ago, I came across an article, that stated that the British Received Pronunciation accent was of recent origin.

The link to the article is below.

http://mentalfloss.com/article/29761...ritish-accents

Yesterday i came across a Vsauce youtube video and according to the video, The General American Southern Accent is much closer to the old English accent than the British Received Pronunciation accent.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=atI-JPGcF-k

If that is the cause, shouldn't all actors in future dramas set in the Elizabethan era, the Stuart period or the English civil war should speak with a General Southern American Accent from now onwards?

Could The BBC hire American actors to play historical English characters who lived before the 18th century and simply let them use their natural American accent.
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Old March 10 2013, 08:32 PM   #2
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

One would think they could, but I'm not sure it would happen.
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Old March 10 2013, 08:48 PM   #3
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

In the unlikely event that we get another TNG movie with the original cast, I want the French Captain Picard to be speaking in an thick (as Georgia mud) Southern drawl.

Worf; "Romulans decloaking Sir."

Picard: "Well boy, getz them shields eep."



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Old March 10 2013, 08:53 PM   #4
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

i want the julian bashir character to speak in a North Carolina accent.
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Old March 10 2013, 08:58 PM   #5
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

I think the accents in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia would be closer than general Southern. They're similar to the Southern accent but without the drawl, and tend to be very rapid and clipped with vowel sounds that I still have to interpret for people. My "i" sound, for example, is closer to what you say when a doctor puts a tongue depressor down your throat. People have frequently heard me and said, "That's a vowel?!!!"
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Old March 10 2013, 09:09 PM   #6
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

gturner wrote: View Post
I think the accents in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia would be closer than general Southern. They're similar to the Southern accent but without the drawl, and tend to be very rapid and clipped with vowel sounds that I still have to interpret for people. My "i" sound, for example, is closer to what you say when a doctor puts a tongue depressor down your throat. People have frequently heard me and said, "That's a vowel?!!!"
You mean like the girl in the video below.

4
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Old March 10 2013, 11:18 PM   #7
M'Sharak
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

gturner wrote: View Post
I think the accents in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia would be closer than general Southern.
The central Appalachian accents generally, but also the Chesapeake island dialects and possibly those found in the more remote corners of Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
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Old March 11 2013, 01:10 PM   #8
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

EmoBorg wrote: View Post
If that is the cause, shouldn't all actors in future dramas set in the Elizabethan era, the Stuart period or the English civil war should speak with a General Southern American Accent from now onwards?
Why does everyone in something set in Ancient Rome have British accents instead of Italian accents? Yes, I know Classical Latin didn't sound Italian, but it sounded far more Italian than English. Some things are just conventions by now.

I should add two clarifications to your post.

First, and I assume this is fairly obvious, but I should say it anyway. By old English, you mean Elizabethan English (which is an earlier modern English). It was after the great vowel shift. Before that point, everything was pronounced (and pronounced differently). The word Knight literally pronounced the k, n, g, and t and the i was like the i in the word Nick. That language would sound alien to us.

Second, more to the point. Elizabethan English was closer to a southern accent, but the southern accent has changed as well. The article there doesn't take a firm position on what accent would have been spoken. The recent discussion about Richard III demonstrates some British accents that predate the colonial period that are close to what is there today. I've heard in the past that the Tidewater accent is the closest, but the article you linked to seems to dismiss the idea.

I think what we do know is this:
The accent wasn't an RP accent. If a similar accent survives today, it'll probably be a lower class accent.
It was a non-rhotic accent. Most (if not all) accents in England don't pronounce their R's. Similarly, with the exception of Philadelphia and Baltimore (Mid-Atlantic accent), the American accents on the east coast are the same. The Mid-Atlantic accent owes its use of the R to a significant German and Irish population. The rest of America followed suit (either because they were settled from this group or out of a conscious decision to distinguish themselves), but the accents derived from English accents don't pronounce R's.
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Old March 11 2013, 02:01 PM   #9
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
Yes, I know Classical Latin didn't sound Italian, but it sounded far more Italian than English.
For what I understand, Classical Latin should have sounded like a mix between Italian and German: lots of hard consonant, intermixed with long, open vowels.

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
It was after the great vowel shift. Before that point, everything was pronounced (and pronounced differently). The word Knight literally pronounced the k, n, g, and t and the i was like the i in the word Nick. That language would sound alien to us.
And that would sound like bliss for me, or anyone who speak a language with a regular, consistent pronunciation. I love English, but the divide between written and spoken English is hell.
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Old March 11 2013, 02:25 PM   #10
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
Yes, I know Classical Latin didn't sound Italian, but it sounded far more Italian than English.
For what I understand, Classical Latin should have sounded like a mix between Italian and German: lots of hard consonant, intermixed with long, open vowels.

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
It was after the great vowel shift. Before that point, everything was pronounced (and pronounced differently). The word Knight literally pronounced the k, n, g, and t and the i was like the i in the word Nick. That language would sound alien to us.
And that would sound like bliss for me, or anyone who speak a language with a regular, consistent pronunciation. I love English, but the divide between written and spoken English is hell.
It may be hellish, but I would venture to say that there are few languages that offer such rich opportunity for wordplay!
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Old March 11 2013, 02:32 PM   #11
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post

First, and I assume this is fairly obvious, but I should say it anyway. By old English, you mean Elizabethan English (which is an earlier modern English). It was after the great vowel shift. Before that point, everything was pronounced (and pronounced differently). The word Knight literally pronounced the k, n, g, and t and the i was like the i in the word Nick. That language would sound alien to us.
You beat me to it. There are three different Ages regarding English (before getting to Modern English):
  • Old English (from the first traces of written texts circa the 8th century).
  • Middle English (from the 11th century in parallel with the Norman invasion)
  • Elizabethan English (up until the 18th century)
As Alidar mentioned, the Great Vowel Shift took three hundred years to take place, and that's one of the constants of any languages; they mutate.

EDIT: Oh by the way, I studied History of English at college (a minor in Linguistics) and it was awesome! I remember "Vader Ure"
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Old March 11 2013, 02:41 PM   #12
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

thestrangequark wrote: View Post
iguana_tonante wrote: View Post
Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
Yes, I know Classical Latin didn't sound Italian, but it sounded far more Italian than English.
For what I understand, Classical Latin should have sounded like a mix between Italian and German: lots of hard consonant, intermixed with long, open vowels.

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
It was after the great vowel shift. Before that point, everything was pronounced (and pronounced differently). The word Knight literally pronounced the k, n, g, and t and the i was like the i in the word Nick. That language would sound alien to us.
And that would sound like bliss for me, or anyone who speak a language with a regular, consistent pronunciation. I love English, but the divide between written and spoken English is hell.
It may be hellish, but I would venture to say that there are few languages that offer such rich opportunity for wordplay!
The diversity of the English language is both its greatest strength (for those who know how to exploit it) and its greatest frustration (for those daring to learn it.)
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Old March 11 2013, 02:45 PM   #13
Nerys Myk
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

I've a hard time imagining Shakespeare sounding like an episode of "Honey Boo Boo".
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Old March 11 2013, 03:03 PM   #14
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

I have been told that the different American spellings of written English words is a throwback to older versions of the language. With regard the spoken language, some American accents probably do have close links to older English, but so do some English accents - these are the two often stated to be the most closely related (and one I am very familiar with) :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqIcbLkY2iY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTfC1BIgTCw

Neither sound that similar to Southern American to me, but linguists can probably hear some commonality.

Ps. - look out for the 'Batmon' t-shirt !
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Old March 11 2013, 03:04 PM   #15
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
I've a hard time imagining Shakespeare sounding like an episode of "Honey Boo Boo".
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