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19 October 2013

I particularly like his attention to the intonation contour of sentences. That's one of the things that's hardest to get right in a foreign language. Largely because we're hardly aware of our intonation patterns as we speak.
posted by jouke 19 October | 06:41
This reminds me of a weekend (pronounced wee-kÚnd) in which I was both exhausted and talking way too fast for people. I can be a very fast talker and I have slowed down considerably for hoi polloi, but i use to make far more concessions for the sake of whatever audience to ease communication, but this one long, not quite lost weekend, the only way I could consistently manage to effectively slow down my speech was to cop a British accent. I'm not sure what started it but my companions just rolled with it and no one mentioned it. This wasn't anything new per se (I'd call people's work and claim to be the assistant of someone from Belgium who urgently needed to talk to them, a school chum got me to fake my way through four of the Disney head's secretaries only to have him be in Europe, confused Balkan women would want to know why their $5 was not good enough for your public radio fund drive) but I think it was the entire weekend and that we were awake the entire weekend.

Years later I asked about it, to a general, "Oh yeah. You were British all weekend." I think some strangers may have made vague inquiries, and there was a lot of people reeling off their own avenues and angles or just shrugging with a, "Oh, you know those Brits." I never told anyone I was British, nor did anyone in earshot. I just had this light standard accent on the backburner in those days, which was really handy for two things: getting people to pay attention to what I was saying precisely, word for word, so I could get what i needed efficiently, and being the only person my British friends could easily understand ("She's the only one that doesn't sound funny!") It was pretty much just a slight lean and a twist on my northern accent with different intonation. I'd have to think and work on it to do it now.

A Bronx accent in burned into my brain from a Brown actress who used the phrase "dentalize your teeth" and just like that, I'm there. Generally got the most use from more genteel and vague accents. One can really throw down an about face with an "I'm not from here." I bet i can reclaim my Savannah accent with the right combination of chemicals and 90s music. I haven't done automated phone voice in so long, I bet that's rusted solid.

We need to have a grab bag of random people doing random accents, possibly with mecha coaches.
posted by ethylene 19 October | 21:38
If we'd have a metachat hangout we could teach eachother accents.
Well, as far as we'd get since we generally don't have this level of explicit knowledge about the phonetic mechanics of our pronunciation.
posted by jouke 20 October | 09:11
Late late late Friday night question. || This Is Not Porn