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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Mar-30-11 06:43 PM
Original message
Does anyone else notice that in old movies
people speak with accents that no longer exist?

It's especially noticeable in movies from the 1930's, but even into the '60's you can notice it.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-03-11 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. I've noticed that the Boomers sound "old" even in video from the 60s and 70s.
Like in a you-tube video of Joni Mitchell singing "Woodstock", she was 27 at the time but still sounds really OLD to me!
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 01:20 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Keep in mind that Mitchell has been a heavy
smoker since age 13 or so, and cigarette smoking absolutely affects the sound of one's voice.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 01:33 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've heard that said before, but never noticed it. Can you give some examples

of which characters in which movies?




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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-05-11 07:47 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. The one I remember most clearly
is Clark Gable in some movie set in southeast asia. He pronounces Saigon "Say-gon".

I'm not at all good at mimicking other voices or accents, but it is very, very obvious in movies in the 1930's. Partly, many of the actors were schooled on stage and are using a kind of stage diction, but it's also that just exactly how a language is spoken and pronounced does change over time.

It's even more noticeable in things like newsreels and interviews with ordinary people.

I wish I could be more specific, but go out and rent an old movie, any old movie from the early 1930's, or watch one (if they still show them) on late night TV.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:36 AM
Response to Reply #4
5. I heard it in an old newsreel last night, on Ken Burns' CIVIL WAR.
Edited on Fri Apr-08-11 09:37 AM by raccoon
The newsreel was from 1938, and was about the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, and the veterans' reunion there.

The narrator talked funny. I know people in RL don't usually talk like newscasters, but he talked funny, different from newscasters of today.




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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 08:59 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. Yes! That's exactly the kind of thing I'm referring to.
And if the newsreel contains actual interviews with the Civil War vets themselves, they will sound very odd to out ears. In part because regional accents were, I think, much stronger then. It seems as though in this country they've been smoothed out somewhat because of mass media and the moving of so many people to other parts of the country. THAT will modify your original accent pretty fast.

I speak from personal experience here. I was born in upstate New York, lived there to age 14, then moved to Tucson, Arizona. I had a very strong accent, which has almost totally disappeared. For a long time people could tell from certain words that I was originally from New York, but even those clues are long since gone from my speech. What I have is some sort of generic American speech right now.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Apr-08-11 09:38 PM
Response to Original message
7. If you remember the odd accent that Daniel Day Lewis used in Gangs of New York...
That was based on actual recordings of the voice of Walt Whitman, who was alive during that period and was a native of Long Island.

If I think back to the old movies I've seen, I'd say that people talked farther back in their mouths and used different intonation.

Another thing is that people read for amusement instead of watching TV or writing text messages. They tended to be more articulate than people today for that reason.
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Jim__ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-12-11 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
8. I have noticed that what used to be very pronounced accents are disappearing.
Edited on Tue Apr-12-11 04:22 PM by Jim__
When I was young, anyone from the south, and especially Texas, was identifiable by their accent. There was also a strong midwest accent. I rarely hear either of those accents anymore.

I grew up in NYC, left there in 1975, but people can still tell that's where I'm from.
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raccoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 08:17 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. I live in the South, and seems like many younger people--30's or less--don't have much of a Southern

accent. I attribute it to TV.



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pscot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-07-11 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
10. TV has homogenized English
to the point that we all sound the same. I think it's too bad. I miss the regional dialects. If you listen to Cspan you can still her regional inflections in the voices of some of the Senators. Barbara Mikulski and Olympia Snowe come to mind. Fritz Hollings had a wonderful Sooth Carolina drawl. There's a moose in the hoose, git him oot.
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun May-08-11 07:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Sometimes I feel as if I can't figure out
if regional accents are actually disappearing or not. Sometimes they still seem as strong as ever, sometimes not.

In a lead-up to the Royal Wedding last week, I saw a piece interviewing some young man from Wales, and even though I could tell he was speaking English, I could not understand a word of what he said.

But I do agree that TV -- and to a smaller extent movies -- are evening out regional accents.
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