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Friday's Unscientific Poll [20140620|09:03]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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Poll #1972416 Spoken English accents

I believe I can distinguish hearing spoken English accents

From very broad regional areas (e.g. North America, South America, Britain, Oceania)
From broad regional areas (e.g. USA/Canada, Wales/Scotland/England/Ireland, Philippines/Japan/China/Malaysia, Australia/New Zealand)
From specific regional areas (e.g. California/New York, Brummie/Cockney, Visayas/Luzon)
From very specific neighbouring regional areas (e.g. NorCal/SoCal, Geordie/Mackem, apologies for lack of non-US/UK examples)
Nope, can't

I believe I can convincingly imitate accents from areas other than the one I was born in to a level of

From very broad regional areas
From broad regional areas
From very specific regional areas
From very specific neighbouring regional areas
Nope, can't

Here I provide more detail about how well I can distinguish and/or imitate regional spoken English accents.

When I started watching Orphan Black, I thought, "Wow, that's a really good 'Southern Hemispherical person who's moved to North America' accent."

And then in the next episode, it's explicitly mentioned that Sarah and Felix are originally from London.

Er. Sorry, no, that's not a London accent, let alone a British one. I've been in Britain long enough to be able to distinguish accents to a level of "specific regional areas". But I can't, say, tell a Brummie accent from a Black Country accent, and I most certainly would not attempt to imitate either. I can cosplay a decent "posh train announcement" or "BBC Radio 4 news" accent and that's my limit.

I certainly find listening to different accents and being able to identify them far easier than imitating them, and the rest of the show is very enjoyable, so I'm happy to pretend that Sarah and Felix's origins have simply been misidentified in canon. :P

[User Picture]From: doccy
2014-06-20 10:02 (UTC)
As per my promise - I can identify US accents and whether they sound 'wrong' or 'right' (House, for example, sounded 'wrong', no matter how hard he tried, although that might be because I was far too used to Hugh Laurie). I can't always say where it's from (i.e. I know if it's an accurate accent, and I can say "that accent's from a different area to the other one", but I can't always say -what- area *s*).

UK & Eire - I'm better for England, the same for the other countries ("That's definitely a Scottish accent... That's definitely a different Scottish accent... And they're from... Scotland? Yeah.") and my ability to imitate is... variable. I'm good for a generalised London, and for a generalised Northern England (mainly centred around Yorkshire it seems), but... Well, let's just say my wife (1/4 Irish) starts to twitch nervously if I try Irish.

That said, I can learn. Not learn -perfectly-, but (thanks to some intensive work with cutting and pasting tiny bits of several films) I can now do a passable 'Antonio Banderas Puss In Boots'.

...so yeah, that wouldn't fit in the comment box. For some reason. :D
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-06-21 22:25 (UTC)
Imitation is definitely easier when you have an example to hand, whether that's a person with the accent you're trying to imitate, or a script. This is why I can do train announcement voice - I've heard the script so many times I can recite it from memory.
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[User Picture]From: ursarctous
2014-06-20 11:16 (UTC)
I would never ever ever try to imitate another accent (I know I would be terrible, just the idea of it embarrasses me) although if someone says something really Norfolk within earshot I might repeat a word or two back to myself just to see how it feels. (It generally feels... quite fun.)

Anyway, yes, I'm so glad you're criticising Sarah and Felix's accents (because they're not right) but still enjoying the show (because it's amazing) - it's so odd when people say the accents are perfect and they can't believe the actor who plays Felix isn't really English. It's like Spike from Buffy all over again.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-06-21 21:55 (UTC)
I can only try it when I have a script (e.g. the train announcement) or for the amusement of someone with that accent who can correct it if necessary.

The Australians on DW who've answered the poll have asserted firmly that their accents are not convincingly Australian either. So we must sadly conclude that they're failing at both. But still...surely it's not as bad as Spike from Buffy. That was APPALLING. I remember being appalled by it before I'd moved to England. :P
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[User Picture]From: thekumquat
2014-06-22 22:56 (UTC)
Spike was just about OK by the time the series ended, after years of Tony Head trying to get him to copy his own voice. The first season of Spike was painful though - but to be fair, he did audition in a Southern US accent.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2014-06-21 21:52 (UTC)
I must admit I don't understand why they bothered to pinpoint Sarah & Felix's original location. Surely this is not an essential element of the backstory? The clones have been placed worldwide so it doesn't really matter.

Cosima is, or course, the archetype I identify with most. But like you I have sympathy for Alison, who gives the impression of "where is the gentle family-oriented sitcom I was promised and who are all these horrible people". Bless.
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