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Old March 11 2013, 03:35 PM   #16
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Relayer1 wrote: View Post
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.
I thought Ulster Scots was generally reckoned to be the closest as a lot of them settled in what were to become the southern states.



I thought that American English spelling was largely down to Noah Webster, although he might well have revived older variants.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Webster's_Dictionary
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Old March 11 2013, 03:51 PM   #17
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Is there something specific we should be looking at here?
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Old March 11 2013, 08:19 PM   #18
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Alidar Jarok wrote: View Post
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.
I support more italian sounding roman dramas.

I understand that the great vowel shift over the last 300 years will make old spoken english hard to understand for modern english speakers and hence unsuitable for modern television programs. But why can't we use the American southern accent? It is more closer to old English accents. The British RP accent is fairly new. To be honest, I would like to hear Shakespeare spoken in an eastern Kentucky accent.

All those British period dramas set in the 18 century and earlier centuries need to have more American sounding actors.

The game of thrones novel is written by an american but the show features all british accented cast. The game of thrones is set in Westeros and Essos and not Great Britain. Why can't the american casting folks hired some americans for some of the roles and allow for their american accent on the show. I want a jon snow with a North Carolina Accent.
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Old March 11 2013, 10:02 PM   #19
Asbo Zaprudder
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
Is there something specific we should be looking at here?
Not if you don't want to. I was just pointing out that American spelling was more down to Noah Webster wanting to create an American English that was distinct from the original tongue -- although he failed to get Americans to spell that particular word as "tung" or "women" as "wimmen".
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Old March 11 2013, 10:16 PM   #20
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Mutenroshi wrote: View Post
Nerys Myk wrote: View Post
I've a hard time imagining Shakespeare sounding like an episode of "Honey Boo Boo".
Yeah, everybody knows Shakespeare sounds best in the original Klingon.

EmoBorg wrote: View Post
To be honest, I would like to hear Shakespeare spoken in an eastern Kentucky accent.
Well, go see a production at Eastern Kentucky or UK or Berea then. Lincoln Memorial right across the border in northeast TN would probably work too. Or support local theatre if you're from around there.
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Old March 11 2013, 10:24 PM   #21
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Not all the vowels shifted quite soon enough. "Varsity" sports froze the previous pronunciation of "university", as did Southern "rasslin'" (now a regular feature on the SyFy channel). "Wrastling" was preserved because the people who wrassled weren't the ones reading and writing about it. My dad once looked through one of my tree-finder books for a local plant called "sarvice-berry". The closest the book listed was something called "service-berry" so I asked him how he used to pronounce "service". He immediately said, "goods and sarvices." (I grew up three miles from Cumberland Gap, where Daniel Boone came through to Kentucky).

I once memorized about 30 minutes of the Fagles translation of the Illiad and used to crack my friends up by starting out with a sonorous, Harvard voice - "Rage, sing the rage of Peleuses son, Achilles" then kick into a deep, deep Eastern Kentucky hillbilly accent for certain characters. Imagine a deep woods hick saying "So tell me, Agamemnon..." kind of like Festus on Gunsmoke, but worse.

There is a version of Shakespeare done in what is as close to the original accent as linguists can get, and some of the non-rhymes become rhymes again. I think it might be on Youtube.
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Old March 11 2013, 10:48 PM   #22
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Kestrel wrote: View Post
Well, go see a production at Eastern Kentucky or UK or Berea then. Lincoln Memorial right across the border in northeast TN would probably work too. Or support local theatre if you're from around there.
My mom used to do the old-person's heart walk at LMU (Lincoln Memorial Univ). My dad owned WNTT in Tazewell, then sold it to the guy who dug the P-38 Lightning out of the glacier in Greenland.

Most UK students from Eastern Kentucky lose most of their accent fairly quickly, and I'm sure the theater department would probably rather die than put that accent on stage for anything other than a play about how Eastern Kentuckians are violent, ignorant hillbillies.

Some of the views in Lexington social circles can be pretty harsh. This past Thanksgiving the upper-class discussion turned to Kentucky literature and whether a prominent and famous local author was correct in thinking that what Eastern Kentucky needed was an infusion of outside genes to make the people there more intelligent, touching on rape gangs or mass sterilization. Then they looked at me and realized they were in mixed company.
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Old March 11 2013, 11:20 PM   #23
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Google: Tangier Island
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Old March 11 2013, 11:34 PM   #24
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

a lot of american accents aren't that far from some of the more 'rural' english accents, so there could be something to this theory.

old old english is pretty similar to dutch.

so in conclusion, lets just all be thankful we don't speak french. unless you do in which case, my apologies :P
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Old March 11 2013, 11:36 PM   #25
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent



Yep, that's pretty thick.
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Old March 12 2013, 01:58 AM   #26
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

The accent, like most other American accents, are fading thanks to 60 years of television.
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Old March 12 2013, 04:50 AM   #27
Alidar Jarok
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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.
I thought the voice actor for Augustus Caesar in Civilization 5 did a good job. Probably not a flawless one, but it still gives a good idea.

Asbo Zaprudder wrote: View Post
I thought Ulster Scots was generally reckoned to be the closest as a lot of them settled in what were to become the southern states.
Close. They helped form the Appalachian accent, but not all southern accents.

I thought that American English spelling was largely down to Noah Webster, although he might well have revived older variants.
This is true. He fought in the American Revolution and viewed it as his patriotic duty to say "fuck those British spellings."

Squiggy wrote: View Post
The accent, like most other American accents, are fading thanks to 60 years of television.
You would think that, but it turns out that this isn't true. Certainly some are dying out. New England accents, for example, isn't being used by people being born today. But the New York accent is going strong. Recently, they discovered a Seattle accent, which wasn't thought to exist 30 years ago.

ETA: This is also relevant. We have a decent idea what Richard III's accent was, which was about 100 years before Elizabeth.

Link with audio file

Also might be interesting is this: Link

Essentially, it's an attempt to recreate how Shakespeare would have been pronounced at the time by taking Midsummer Night's Dream, which has a lot of words that are supposed to rhyme, but don't today.
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Old March 12 2013, 05:18 AM   #28
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

gturner wrote: View Post
Some of the views in Lexington social circles can be pretty harsh. This past Thanksgiving the upper-class discussion turned to Kentucky literature and whether a prominent and famous local author was correct in thinking that what Eastern Kentucky needed was an infusion of outside genes to make the people there more intelligent, touching on rape gangs or mass sterilization. Then they looked at me and realized they were in mixed company.
What the author said was uncalled for.
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Old March 12 2013, 07:10 AM   #29
gturner
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

Oh, it gets worse. The Author was Harry M. Caudill, who wrote "Night Comes to the Cumberlands" which inspired John F. Kennedy to spend millions in aid to Appalachia. He was also a UK professor, distinguished scholar, opposed strip mining, etc., one of the most famous advocates for the region.


Herald Leader story from 2012

...

Ultimately, although conditions in the mountains improved, the salvation Caudill wanted never materialized. The poor remained legion.


That embittered Caudill. He came to blame his neighbors for being hopeless, for having "weak genes." And that led him to draw up a sterilization scenario for Eastern Kentucky, working in secret with William Shockley, a notorious eugenicist of the era.

...
As Caudill told friends and strangers alike, with the fervor of the newly converted, dysgenics explained so much about Appalachia. Smart and ambitious people fled the mountains to pursue opportunity in cities. This "brain drain" left behind a stagnating population of dullards. Multiply that over several generations — especially as relatives intermarry and introduce chromosomal abnormalities — and you've ruined the gene pool just as surely as strip mining poisons the drinking water, he said.

...

Back home, Caudill complained about "the trash element," his son Harry Frye Caudill said in a 1998 oral-history interview. The elder Caudill jauntily told reporters that the best federal anti-poverty program for Eastern Kentucky would be an Army base that could bring in outside sperm.
And on and on and on. There's lots of discusson in the article's comments.


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Old March 12 2013, 07:23 AM   #30
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Re: old english accent was closer to American southern accent

i live in Virginia very near LMU...trust me, sitting through inept school productions of Shakespeare is not a novelty.
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