Playpen

Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 18:57 on 21-05-2012, Dan H
Shim's the one with the background in linguistics, but I'm with Arthur on this one, I'm pretty certain that "dialect" is about the words you use while "accent" is about how you pronounce those words. Although thinking about it, I suspect that you could make the case that a given dialect will include standard pronunciations. Although following on from there it seems plausible that a person could be speaking one dialect and using pronunciations that are standard in a different dialect.
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at 18:52 on 21-05-2012, James D
As I've always understood it, a dialect is halfway to becoming its own language.
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at 18:30 on 21-05-2012, Arthur B
Actually, I have an aunt and uncle with a background in theater, and they told me a couple of years ago that only the second usage is technically an "accent," and the correct term in the former case is "dialect." I've never bothered to corroborate - does anybody here happen to know if that's true or not?

It isn't how I generally use it. I've always understood dialects as involving a subtly different vocabulary and perhaps diverging grammatical rules from each other. From wikipedia (apologies):

"A dialect is distinguished by its vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation (phonology, including prosody). Where a distinction can be made only in terms of pronunciation, the term accent is appropriate, not dialect."
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at 18:28 on 21-05-2012, Ibmiller
That's okay. I'm still working through my issues with states below the Mason-Dixie, but I don't necessarily dislike the accents in a vacuum.

As long as you understand that Fargo is not in Minnesota, I'm fine ;-) (Braces for incoming jokes)

As a side note - does Internet Explorer not work with FB? I don't usually use it, but I tried posting using someone else's browser, and for some reason it logged me in but wouldn't let me post (so I switched to Firefox).
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at 18:23 on 21-05-2012, James D
Sorry man, nothing personal! If it makes you feel better, I have a bit of an Appalachian accent myself. You can dislike that if you want.
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at 18:19 on 21-05-2012, Ibmiller
On the other hand, the only accent I absolutely can't abide is north-midwestern American, as heard in Fargo. I don't know what it is, but I just hate it so much!

Oh, well, can't win them all. That's the only accent I do well (when I choose to), since that's where I grew up...
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at 18:06 on 21-05-2012, Robinson L
@Robinson L: The accents in Torchwood are Welsh ;)

Crap, I meant to say Sherlock, but I wasn't paying close attention to what I was typing and I suppose since I'd already typed Doctor Who, I got the wrong association.

Personally, I tend to differentiate the accents of other people whose first language is English (e.g. Brits, Australians) from people who have English as their second language (I confess I haven't thought much about Polish accents, one way or the other). Actually, I have an aunt and uncle with a background in theater, and they told me a couple of years ago that only the second usage is technically an "accent," and the correct term in the former case is "dialect." I've never bothered to corroborate - does anybody here happen to know if that's true or not?

Good points valse and Andy about despising and fetishizing the languages of people of color and the formerly colonized. (Hm, I wonder how my special affection for Irish accents fits into that, seeing how Ireland is a primarily white, primarily English-speaking nation, but also a formerly colonized one.)
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at 18:04 on 21-05-2012, James D
Allow me to harsh your squee: I find it interesting that Americans love the everloving shit out of British (and to some extent) French accents, both of which are fellow imperialist/white supremacist countries. They're accents that are exotic but safely and comfortably so, and are not associated with those terrible brown/yellow people; the accents of most non-western non-Anglophones on the other hand will be considered barely
comprehensible, off-putting, and often a fit subject for ridicule.

You're welcome!

I'd just like to say that while I don't really love any sort of European accent, for whatever reason I find Nigerian-accented English really aesthetically appealing. Not sexually or anything, I just like the way it sounds. I'd love to get books on tape read by a Nigerian in a warm, resonant bass. I don't know if that counts as fetishizing exoticism.

On the other hand, the only accent I absolutely can't abide is north-midwestern American, as heard in Fargo. I don't know what it is, but I just hate it so much!
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at 18:02 on 21-05-2012, Adrienne
@Shimmin -- No, i know RP, it's not squeaky so much as swallowed.

Michal -- actually, while the only Polish person i ever knew spoke with very little of an accent, so i couldn't tell you for sure -- there are a lot of Eastern European accents i think are totally dreamy. :)
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at 17:56 on 21-05-2012, valse de la lune
Oh yeah, but most of us can probably agree that having your accent squee'd over is less disgusting than being humiliated for it.
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at 17:24 on 21-05-2012, Andy G
First though is redundant incidentally.
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at 17:22 on 21-05-2012, Andy G
Presumably that cuts the other way too though: if Brits/Americans were to squee over accents from non-imperialist countries, they would be fetishising exoticism, whereas squeeing over accents from other imperialist countries would be less Othering. Kind of like how, if you're British, telling jokes about the French is not racist, but telling jokes about Iraqis or the Chinese or Irish is.
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at 17:16 on 21-05-2012, Arthur B
I just want to be loved for what I say, not how I say it. :/
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at 17:03 on 21-05-2012, valse de la lune
Allow me to harsh your squee: I find it interesting that Americans love the everloving shit out of British (and to some extent) French accents, both of which are fellow imperialist/white supremacist countries. They're accents that are exotic but safely and comfortably so, and are not associated with those terrible brown/yellow people; the accents of most non-western non-Anglophones on the other hand will be considered barely comprehensible, off-putting, and often a fit subject for ridicule.

You're welcome!
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at 16:58 on 21-05-2012, Ibmiller
All of them? I thought it was just Gwen. I'm pretty sure Burn Gorman was using a Cockney accent (similar to what he did in Bleak House), and the others seemed pretty much standard middle-class London (at least, to this Midwestern American). Gwen and her fiance/husband were certainly Welsh (which hilariously sounded like a Minnesotan accent combined with a British one to me) (and awesome), as were many of the supporting characters, of course.

And yes, Robinson, Hugh Laurie is pretty good (though I can tell since I know the times he's faking it). But he's kind of the exception that proves the rule.
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at 16:03 on 21-05-2012, Andy G
@Robinson L: The accents in Torchwood are Welsh ;)
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at 15:39 on 21-05-2012, Robinson L
Adrienne: Sorry, Kyra and Dan. Your voices are hot. :) I'm a silly American that way.

(Okay, i have an exception to the standard American thing. I don't think Southern British accents are sexy. At least not mostly. I think they're squeaky. But otherwise? Yeah.)

Shimmin: @Adrienne: ...um, I'm not sure how to tell you this, but Dan has a southern accent...

I literally (yes, literally) burst out laughing at this. Part of the humor for me, as an American listener, is imagining Dan speaking with a pronounced drawl.

Interestingly enough, I think I've absorbed so much English popular media that when I'm immersed in it (say, watching a show like Doctor Who or Torchwood), I've stopped even noticing the difference.

Not awesome: either British or American actors trying to do their counterpart accent. I used to just think it was that Americans can't do a British accent to save their lives, but after watching Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, The Way We Live Now, etc, I realize that it's the same vice versa. With some notable rare exceptions

Hugh Laurie comes to mind ...
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at 13:51 on 21-05-2012, Andy G
It's a tough one - if you set a film in a foreign country but use English language, both fake accents and English accents sound weird. I found The Pianist incredibly disconcerting, which I think uses American accents but otherwise has a very realist style. And has anyone seen Hugo? It's set in Paris but everyone has British accents.

Oh and I like Polish accents btw, but I am taken ;)
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at 06:40 on 21-05-2012, Ibmiller
Oh, I did enjoy Defiance. It was just the accents which bothered me - don't know enough to say anything about accuracy (though it didn't sound particularly anything), but it was the inconsistency - supposedly, they were using one accent for Polish and one for Russian, but I thought that was just dumb.
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at 02:35 on 21-05-2012, Michal
I shamefacedly admit that I don't recall a Polish accent. I was irritated at the accent mishmash they used in Defiance, though. I wished they'd just pick one and fix on it, or something.

I have a soft spot for Defiance because it's one of the few times Hollywood has acknowledged the eastern front and not made a complete hash of it the way Enemy at the Gates did. According to the special features they were going for an eastern Polish accent. The problem is that English actors tend not to emulate very good eastern Polish accents, and they ended up with lot of people struggling to do eastern Polish accents and mostly failing, instead slipping into "well it's vaguely Slavic-sounding!"-speech. I guess you could give them props for trying, but I don't even know why they bothered with the accents at all.
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at 02:33 on 21-05-2012, Cammalot
There was a Polish guy in my cohort back when I did my MA who was known for being a particularly fantastic dancer, if that helps? :) Most proper Polish accents I come in contact with nowadays belong to older folk who are feeding me Jewish food, so the word "sexy" comes to mind less than "comfy," but I might have slightly tingly memories of dancing fellow...
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at 01:57 on 21-05-2012, Ibmiller
I confess to the American-exoticising-British (and Scottish and Irish - pretty much everything in that general area - hope that's not too offensive) -thing as well. But I don't think there's one of them I don't like. I like the northern ones, and the southern ones, and the Cockney ones. I admit to some class bias, but on the whole, they're all awesome.

Not awesome: either British or American actors trying to do their counterpart accent. I used to just think it was that Americans can't do a British accent to save their lives, but after watching Doctor Who, Torchwood, Sherlock, The Way We Live Now, etc, I realize that it's the same vice versa. With some notable rare exceptions (though I am very curious how good James Marsters' Spike accent is, considering he got hired to be British on Torchwood).

Side note: I listened to the 50 Shades Peacast while at work, and cracked up multiple times. Loved it.

In terms of favorite Ferretvoice on a cast - I'd have to go with Jaime. But maybe it's just because he says "Well, listeners" in just that particular way... :-)

I shamefacedly admit that I don't recall a Polish accent. I was irritated at the accent mishmash they used in Defiance, though. I wished they'd just pick one and fix on it, or something.
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at 00:36 on 21-05-2012, Michal
See, i have the standard American thing where i think that British accents are incredibly sexy

Sigh, I've yet to find anyone who finds a Polish accent sexy.
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at 23:34 on 20-05-2012, Wardog
Also you will like Shim best because he a) can do the most accents and b) has retained his gentle Northern rhythms and short 'a's better than the rest of us ... well me ... :)
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