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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-12-13 01:49 AM
Original message
saw a trailer for Capt. Philips, the story of the merchant ship captain from
Massachusetts, starring Tom Hanks.

Sadly, a two time Academy Award winner and all around nice guy did little better with the Massachusetts accent than the clod from Cheers.

I don't know what it is, but no one seems to be able to do the accent. Even Conan O'Brien, who was raised in Massachusetts, found himself unable to do the accent after he rid himself of it in order to make it in show business.

The only ones I have heard get it correctly are Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, also raised in Massachusetts, though not in the areas that still had heavy accents when they were born. And even Damon is a little harsh on some of the sounds.

Not sure what it is about that particular accent that is so hard to reproduce.

Sadly, the accent is disappearing. I listen to JFK's speeches and press conferences. Today, people from Brookline, where JFK was raised, have almost no discernible accent. Migration from one state to another and radio and TV have been subversively wiping out our regional accents, which I happen to love.

Even Boston Mayor Mennino, who used to bet Mayors of other towns a great "lohbstah dinnah" that his beloved Red Sox will beat their ball team, was teased about his pronunciation of "lohbstah dinnah" so much that he has modified it.

John Connolly, currently running for Mayor, has almost no accent. His opponent, Marty Walsh has a bit more of an accent--a bit deliberately, I suspect--but, as I have written before, Marty's mum, an Irish immigrant, has the lovely brogue which has been such an influence on the Boston area accent. (During a recent local news interview, the anchorman asked Walsh if he preferred Marty or Mahty, and Walsh said "Mahty.")

In another generation or two, we'll probably all sound pretty much alike, with the possibly exception of the Real Housewives of New Jersey. Maybe that is too bad. I've always found accents so interesting. But, maybe it's a good thing in that it may be one more step toward thinking of ourselves as one people, rather than Southerners, Northerners, Easterners, Westerners, etc.?
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-12-13 01:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. I should have specified that migration and broadcasting changing accents is onl my theory
of why our regional accents seem to be disappearing. It is nothing I actually know.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-12-13 04:28 AM
Response to Original message
2. I agree that national broadcasting is the most likely reason for
the loss of regional accents. We now have a more national culture in entertainment. The Southern accent has really been watered down.

When I visited Canada on a fishing trip in the early 1990s the pleasant Canadians said they loved my accent. I had no idea that I had an accent. They said I sounded like country music singer Ferlin Husky. This was news to me because "those people" from Tennessee, Kentucky and the like always sounded so Southern and foreign to me. I bet we, me and you, would be shocked at how we sounded to one another. You would probably sound totally Bostonian to me.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-14-13 03:01 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Ohio speech might sound foreign in Canada, but it's at home in the US.
Massachusetts is my adopted home. I was born in New Jersey and moved to Manhattan just as soon as I got out of school and got a job.
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