Sunday, 15 June 2014

hearing ourselves speak

Some people are really good at accents.  I don't think I'm one of them, although I'll give it a go for children's stories.  For some reason my foxes are always cockney, and sheep are often from Birmingham.  What about you?

Andrew Jack is a professional accent and dialogue coach.  He is very good at accents, and you can hear his brief vocal tour of the British Isles in the video here.

I come from Ilkley in Yorkshire.  It's a very nice town, and doesn't have much of an accent, but I did pick up some things, and it seems to me that they've got more pronounced as I've got older.  I cannot stop saying envelope as 'onvelope', which is not just Yorkshire, it's old-fashioned Yorkshire!

I thought that while I might choose to speak with an accent at times (especially if speaking with other people from Yorkshire), I didn't really have an accent the rest of the time.  However, when I lived in Edinburgh, on a work night out a Scottish woman told me she didn't have an accent.  She did.  It made me realise that I did have an accent, just not a very strong one.

It's also a bit mixed up.  My parents are from Lancashire, so I've got some influences from there as well.  I've also lived in a fair few places and picked things up along the way.  Now I've lived in Scotland for a while I've adopted a few words - wee is generally the first one that English people in Scotland pick up, but I now also say weans, and ask where people stay rather than where they live.  I also feel better now about my glottal stops.  I lost them years ago, and would drive my mother mad by not pronouncing my 't's.  Happily Glasgow doesn't do 't's, so my glottal stops fit right in.

Scotland.  Not a bad place to live.

I can sing, but not as well as I used to, and I find it tricky sometimes at my local choir to understand what the words are (sometimes I've had to ask for things to be spelled).  We had an American choir leader once, and he was great, but it was really interesting that he said in Scotland people annunciate more than he's used to.  In my choir they don't annunciate as much as Yorkshire folk!

I don't like the sound of my voice when it's recorded - I sound more hesitant and girly than I think I should.  I ahve a friend with a very girly voice.  It always limits what people expect of her, and she gets to surprise them.  She is very clever.

I used to do Manx Gaelic, so I've not really been able to wrap my head around Scots Gaelic - I can usually translate it adequately if given long enough, but I'm happy enough speaking English.

One thing that drives me crazy is the Scots poetry that all Scottish children have to memorise annually.  I don't have a problem with them doing Scots poetry if it's good, but there's lots of good English poetry, and why not learn that too?  Getting the children to speak Scots is pushed again and again at schools, but I can't see how this will be beneficial in their lives.  I have no objection to my children having Scottish accents, but speaking in Scots will make them less employable and seems like a daft gimmick to me.  There are so many other ways to embrace their Scottish heritage.  For example, my son is studying The Tudors at the moment at school.  Great.  I love the Tudors.  They were a really interesting royal family of England.  But why study an English royal family that did not rule Scotland?  Especially when the Stewarts are just around the corner?  Surely Queen Mary would be much more interesting?  Nothing wrong with studying English history, but I don't think English kids are studying Scots history.  

Rant over.  And apologies if I've annoyed anyone about the poems.

So, what do you sound like?  Also, did you do dialect poems at school?  What are your thoughts on the matter?

Other posts you might like:

The book challenge
Words at 16/6/14 - 89,500.  
50,000 words done since the challenge began! 8,000 this month.
Where I'm at in First Draft - Chapter 20.
What I did last - The hero and heroine arrive at a party.