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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek TV Series > Star Trek - Original Series

Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old December 31 2013, 04:21 AM   #1
BoredShipCapt'n
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How realistic was Scotty's accent?

Could someone from Scotland please give an appraisal of James Doohan's performance on the accent? I know that there are many regional Scottish accents and certain variations of particular sounds within each, but as an ignorant American I'm curious as to whether anyone in Scotland would actually talk like Scotty.

And if it's not realistic, does it sound as if he was striking a balance between authenticity (or possibly caricature) and what he thought an American audience would be able to understand? Or more as if he just wasn't doing it very well?

Thanks.
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Old December 31 2013, 05:21 AM   #2
scotpens
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

IIRC, James Doohan once said (with tongue at least partly in cheek, I assume) that Scotty's accent was what a Scottish accent would sound like 200 years in the future.

Truth be told, his "Scottish" dialect was about as authentic as Dick Van Dyke's "mockney" accent in Mary Poppins.

Disclaimer: I'm not Scottish myself, although my name is Scot (with one T).
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Old December 31 2013, 05:41 AM   #3
Maurice
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

Knowing various Scottish people I'd venture to say it only bears a passing resemblance to actual Scots accents.
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Old December 31 2013, 05:43 AM   #4
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

I totally bought it.

I first heard it when I was six.
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Old December 31 2013, 09:01 AM   #5
Lance
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

There were times when I thought it sounded... acceptable. Generic, but acceptable. Other times though, not so much.
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Old December 31 2013, 04:13 PM   #6
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

When I met one of our actual Scottish relatives (a cousin from Glasgow) I couldn't understand a fookin' word he said!
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Old December 31 2013, 04:24 PM   #7
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

Chris Doohan says when he toured Scotland, the Scots loved Scotty, but said the accent was terrible. They were much more pleased with having a Scotsman being such a major character and I guess he embodied enough positive qualities that the accent was just a source of amusement. Personally, I find that the more I drink the easier it is to understand a Scot...
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Old December 31 2013, 04:29 PM   #8
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

The world then was full of ethnic humpr done by white guys with cheesy accents. Buddy Ebsen on the Tonight show doing his "classic bit" as a Chinese waiter or something like that. 1966, people were ok with cheesy accents. Like bad disguises on spy shows. Now that we're exposed more in US media to real people from the actual places, the old cheese hasn't aged well. Except Pegg and other true Scots sound wrong to me, raised on the glories of Jimmy Doohan.

(And accents definitely change over time as Doohan asserted. My father in law, born in the US to Finnish parents, goes to Finland and he sounds hilarious to them. In the new country the language ossified as it was in 1890. In hipster Finland, it kept evolving.)
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Old December 31 2013, 06:58 PM   #9
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

I'm not surprised that Scotty's Scots accent was not very authentic - I've also read a number of comments on Chekov's . . . not very good Russian accent.
Among other things, I enjoy old movies and I'm frequently amused by English actors speaking in their native voices, but playing German or French characters. It never seemed to bother them, or the producers.
However, yesterday while watching an old Perry Mason episode, I may have heard the world's worst accent on film. The character, as described on film, was supposed to be a Welsh person, but the actor (read generic white TV character actor) was so bad with the accent, it came out as an Indian accent - and a caricature at that.
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Old December 31 2013, 07:05 PM   #10
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

Craig Ferguson once said that Scotty sounded like "a Pakistani with a stroke".

Makes me wonder two things: 1) what he thinks of Simon Pegg's version, and 2) would Ferguson himself have been able to play Scotty if asked? You gotta admit, Ferguson simply *looks* more like James Doohan, and has the advantage of actually being Scottish (although in Pegg's case, his wife is, and she helped him with the accent)
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Last edited by Mr. Laser Beam; December 31 2013 at 08:17 PM.
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Old December 31 2013, 08:06 PM   #11
Maurice
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

As I recall (perhaps from the book Chekov's Enterprise), Koenig said his accent was based on Lithuanian grandparents or something, not Russian. I'd have to look it up.
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Old December 31 2013, 08:33 PM   #12
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

I'm not sure what's worse: Scotty's Scottish accent, or Picard's French accent. Not Trek related, but Daphne's Cockney accent on Frasier is awful. A Brit friend of mine said that she sounds like a Brit, trying to sound American, trying to sound English.
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Old December 31 2013, 08:55 PM   #13
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

How French did Picard sound ? This is centuries in the future. Scotty is from Aberdeen but could have gone to school in the US, worked in Germany and had a home in Australia. All would affect his accent.
Bottom line, I liked it.

Don't forget in real life Doohan is from Vancouver Canada. Go Canada !
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Old December 31 2013, 09:19 PM   #14
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

TOSalltheway wrote: View Post
How French did Picard sound ? This is centuries in the future.
I don't think Jean-Luc will sound as Jean-Louc in the future. Jonathan Farwell was able to pronounce the U adequately in Conspiracy.
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Old December 31 2013, 09:20 PM   #15
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Re: How realistic was Scotty's accent?

Kirby wrote: View Post
I'm not sure what's worse: Scotty's Scottish accent, or Picard's French accent.
Picard never HAD a French accent.

He rarely even spoke French.

The character may have been French, but obviously spoke with an English accent, just like the actor. Seems simple enough...
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