Why doesnt all English people speak like Charles Dance?

Guy from the 80's

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Since my native tounge is not English perhaps I rate the various types of english in a different way? But Charles Dance speaks perfect English, its so beautiful. My impression is that the amount of people who speaks like he does is shrinking, is this correct? If so then the English language is like the movie idiocracy. There are so many English dialects thats horrible, terrible and unberable.



If you speak in a horrible accent, why not change it? Also, what is Charles Dance accent called?
 

Legion

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His accent is purely English, it doesn't really have much of a regional tone to it (at least not that I can identify, I am English if that helps). It is pretty much how most actors/actresses and/or rich people speak due to having lessons on how to pronounce words correctly.

If you consider people such as Joanna Lumley, Dame Judi Dench, Stephen Fry and Michael Caine. They all have very similar ways of talking. Slow, measured and they enunciate words perfectly.

"If you speak in a horrible accent why not change it?" Well most people wouldn't consider their accents to be horrible.

When I was younger I was referred to as "posh" due to speaking in a similar manner (although I have always spoken very fast). As I have grown up I tend to have to consciously make sure to pronounce my t's and such, although I still use "posh" words. It takes a lot of effort to make sure you speak in a way so as for it to become natural, and if you are not encouraged to, or around people who speak in a similar way, then it's easy to slip back into "bad" habits.
 

Guy from the 80's

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Legion said:
It is pretty much how most actors/actresses and/or rich people speak due to having lessons on how to pronounce words correctly.



Stephen Fry and Michael Cane. They all have very similar ways of talking. Slow, measured and they enunciate words perfectly.

The way they speak is how I've always thought of the English language. So are there no "state standard" in schools? How is it when pupils have to read loudly from text books?



Stephen Fry and Michael Cane speaks lovely, its so pleasent to listen to :)
 

Legion

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Guy from the 80 said:
Legion said:
It is pretty much how most actors/actresses and/or rich people speak due to having lessons on how to pronounce words correctly.



Stephen Fry and Michael Cane. They all have very similar ways of talking. Slow, measured and they enunciate words perfectly.

The way they speak is how I've always thought of the English language. So are there no "state standard" in schools? How is it when pupils have to read loudly from text books?



Stephen Fry and Michael Cane speaks lovely, its so pleasant to listen to :)
That kind of speaking was fairly standard amongst the middle and upper classes, but it is slowly dwindling in the middle class, which makes up the majority of the country.

English speaking in "state schools" (I am assuming you mean schools that are free for all to attend) doesn't really have a standard requirement for English speaking. That is to say, we do not have English oral (speaking) tests, only written ones. A teacher should correct incorrect pronunciation, but seeing as it isn't tested, it's not something that is likely to stick unless the pupil decides to.

In the past it would have been a lot more common for "correct speaking" to be enforced, and in private schools, I imagine it still is (although the culture is somewhat different, which I imagine is a part of it).

It's kind of funny really. When I was a student, we had French oral exams, just not English ones.

Michael Caine and Stephen Fry do indeed have amazing voices.
 

Tiger King

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I am an englander, I love reading, I love storys but I'm pretty rubbish at writing etc.
Anyway, as a young person my only friends were books and my imagination. I loved to say words correctly and use them in conversation. But one day at primary school this new kid that a lot of people were fawning over, told me 'you're posh'.
I got kind of upset, because 'posh' is a bit of a dirty word in my world. It means you are one of 'them' instead of 'one of the boys'.
Mostly I got upset because I'm from a working class family, the occupation of my father on my birth certificate reads "stable lad" that's someone that looks after horses.

I dunno, perhaps this guy thought that I thought I was 'better than others' but either way I started talking a bit more gutteral.

So, basically talking like the queen is seen as 'un-cool'
 

Casual Shinji

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Because then everyone would be super.

And when everyone's super, no one is.
 

SuperFrankieLampard

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Because of regional and or class differences. Google Jamie Carragher or Steven Gerrard interviews and try and understand them.
 

IndomitableSam

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I'm assuming the it's the theatre training. All the actors @Legion mentioned have worked in the theatre at some point, and the training for that is really, really hard and involves a ton of vocal coaching.

But, yes. Charles Dance is sex. Best part of Alien 3, too.
 

Wadders

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Erm, what? What you call horrible terrible and unbearable, I call unique, interesting, and historical.

Sure he's got a cool voice, but diversity of accents and dialects make the country a way more interesting place. It would be boring as shit if everyone spoke like Charlie there.

Most people wouldn't consider their own accent horrible anyway, they've grown up speaking that way, as have their families for hundreds of years; why should they change?

It's just another way of speaking - it's still preserved in certain areas or by certain types of schools, so where's the problem?
 

OneCatch

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Guy from the 80 said:
Legion said:
It is pretty much how most actors/actresses and/or rich people speak due to having lessons on how to pronounce words correctly.



Stephen Fry and Michael Cane. They all have very similar ways of talking. Slow, measured and they enunciate words perfectly.

The way they speak is how I've always thought of the English language. So are there no "state standard" in schools? How is it when pupils have to read loudly from text books?

Stephen Fry and Michael Cane speaks lovely, its so pleasent to listen to :)
That is called Received Pronunciation, and is the de facto standard for English speech. But it's not that other ways of talking are 'incorrect'.
Regional accents are far more common for starters - only the upper class and aspirational middle class who send their kiddies for elocution lessons actually speak like that.

What d'you mean "when pupils have to read loudly from text books"? I don't remember doing that much, but you just use whatever accent you have. As long as the words are right, what's the problem?

In the US do you get marked down for reading in class using a southern accent, or a NY accent, or Hawaiian accent, or whatever?


That aside, with regard to the original question:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/UsefulNotes/BritishAccents?from=Main.BritishAccents

Basically, imagine all of the various accents in the US, then compress them into a place as titchy as the UK. That's how much variance you get!
 

BeeGeenie

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Casual Shinji said:
Because then everyone would be super.

And when everyone's super, no one is.
^This, sort of.

Look at the Boston accent. That is exactly what happens when poor white trash tries to talk like distinguished Brits.

If everyone adopted a "posh" accent, then the actual upper-middle class speakers would slowly change to some other accent to avoid sounding like those low-class... posh folk.
 

SckizoBoy

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Guy from the 80 said:
Since my native tounge is not English perhaps...
Just out of interest, what is your native tongue, because I'm betting that unless there are only a million or fewer native speakers of it, there will be regional variations if not dialects of it.

If you speak in a horrible accent, why not change it?
Well, good luck to them if they try... not everyone can afford a voice coach, and even if they can, I don't think many have the patience to voice train themselves.

Also, what is Charles Dance accent called?
That (I haven't watched the clip, but I can guess) is plain up RP...

Anyway, don't forget that there are nine countries (at least) for which English is a de facto (if not de jure) primary language of communication and government, every one of them has their own distinct set of accents, so all told, there are a good couple billion people who speak English as a first language, wherein there must be hundreds of different accents. It's just the way the penny drops, mate. I'm sure pretty much every state in the US has their own set of accents, every county in the UK, almost, has its own set of accent/colloquialisms.

Besides, how charmless would a country (i.e. England) be if everyone spoke RP?! Fucking hell, it's bad enough that Hollywood has already stereotyped Brits as haughty up-tight twats with a rod up their arses and this is purely from the accent, it really would be crap if that were a reality!
 

DrRockor

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The UK has so many accents its kind of crazy. I live in Manchester in the north west and my accent is different from people in Liverpool less than 40 miles away. People are proud of their accent here, people don't react kindly when you make fun of it. Actors and specifically theatre actors tend to be trained to speak in that way. I'd love to meet someone who spoke like that but its pretty rare to be honest.
 

Johnny Novgorod

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Well, he was one of the first bloked to go in Alien3. What good did Received Pronounciation do to him, eh?
 

Genocidicles

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I'd love to speak like that, but my TH-fronting* usually reveals my true nature as a lower class urchin.

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th-fronting
 

Guy from the 80's

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Wadders said:
Most people wouldn't consider their own accent horrible anyway, they've grown up speaking that way, as have their families for hundreds of years; why should they change?

It's just another way of speaking - it's still preserved in certain areas or by certain types of schools, so where's the problem?
A true Englishman should speak the language of the gentleman. Not the cast of eastenders HAH! ;)







OneCatch said:
What d'you mean "when pupils have to read loudly from text books"? I don't remember doing that much, but you just use whatever accent you have. As long as the words are right, what's the problem?

In the US do you get marked down for reading in class using a southern accent, or a NY accent, or Hawaiian accent, or whatever?
I'm not American but....they probably should! (jk)











SckizoBoy said:
Just out of interest, what is your native tongue, because I'm betting that unless there are only a million or fewer native speakers of it, there will be regional variations if not dialects of it.
I'm Norwegian but our dialects doesnt really vary much.


Well, good luck to them if they try... not everyone can afford a voice coach, and even if they can, I don't think many have the patience to voice train themselves.
Would they realy need a voice coach? How about just watching BBC? Or all channels broadcasting in "RP"?



Besides, how charmless would a country (i.e. England) be if everyone spoke RP?! Fucking hell, it's bad enough that Hollywood has already stereotyped Brits as haughty up-tight twats with a rod up their arses and this is purely from the accent, it really would be crap if that were a reality!

It would be the most charming place...in the world! RP does not equal haughty up-tight twat in my opinion, it just sounds so more....proper. It's really unique. The last time I was in Cornwall well....not much charm there


Yes yes this is correct I've been to Cornwall...not much charm there







Johnny Novgorod said:
Well, he was one of the first bloked to go in Alien3. What good did Received Pronounciation do to him, eh?

He made love to Ripley.
 

shootthebandit

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because england is so diverse even though its such a small country. here is a sample of all the different regional accents






 

Wadders

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Guy from the 80 said:
Wadders said:
Most people wouldn't consider their own accent horrible anyway, they've grown up speaking that way, as have their families for hundreds of years; why should they change?

It's just another way of speaking - it's still preserved in certain areas or by certain types of schools, so where's the problem?
A true Englishman should speak the language of the gentleman. Not the cast of eastenders HAH! ;)

Nah haha, being a true Englishman is about more than just being able to speak like some posh tart :p
Guy from the 80 said:
RP does not equal haughty up-tight twat in my opinion ... It's really unique.
Aye, and so are all the other accents in England - they're just as valid.

shootthebandit said:
because england is so diverse even though its such a small country. here is a sample of all the different regional accents






<3 Noel!

"oh, let's write a song about fucking washin' up liquid or summin'..."
 

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I speak pretty close to RP, as a result of both upbringing and a natural formality in my character, and although I love my accent, it's a mixed bag socially. It's good for job interviews or interacting with older people and foreigners who will usually associate the accent with sophistication and intelligence. The downside is that in more casual situations, one can end up being seen as 'posh' or aloof by some people. The current fashion in our society is to appear as if you are from a working or lower middle class background and so until that changes again, speaking in RP is decidedly 'not cool' and people like me and Charles Dance will be in a minority. Oh well, I'm not exactly cool anyway so I continue to speak my accent with pride :-D
 

Deathlyphil

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No love for the Scottish, Welsh, or Irish? We are part of the UK you know. (At the moment, anyway...)

I can't really talk for the Welsh or the Irish, but here in Scotland you can tell exactly where people are from by their accent.

Glasgow is the language of drunkenness and anger.
Edinburgh is much more clipped and posh (Think head teacher woman from the HP films)
Aberdeen is ...Doric. (difficult to describe. For example "Fa's a'body?" means "where is everyone?")
Inverness has the clearest accent in Britain. (Red head assistant of The Doctor was fro Inverness)

Everyone else varies inbetween these extremes. Apart from Buckie. That's a whooooole other thing...