Tuesday, 21 June 2011

In which I Rant... about accents

My brain is sinking fast at the moment so I’m taking the opportunity to read a little to relax. Unfortunately it is having the opposite effect on me and I want to vent LOUDLY. Seriously, in our shrinking world, have we not got to the stage of understanding that stereotypes of forty and fifty years ago no longer apply?  In particular, I am grousing about the stereotype that seems to be applied to British accents.
I have spent the day reading a well-known author who seems obsessed with making all her English people sound like Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins. Now if you are bristling and saying Brits are just as likely to apply a stereotype, I know that. But this is my rant, and as a Brit who does not sound like a Mockney or Posh, reading this outdated claptrap left me gnawing on the woodwork.
It wasn’t only the attempt on the accent. It was the language that was used, straight out of Mary Poppins.  Is it that BBC television and film are not good representations of British language? Do we only provide costume dramas with the Upstairs Downstairs class divide? Surely programmes like Dr Who and even terribly middle-class British movies like Love Actually give a better idea of contemporary Brit sound, even if they are light on regional accents.
I know that there are many phrases that do not translate between cultures. God knows, I know that after a protracted battle with editors over one or two phrases. On the whole though, Brits have got past the ‘apples and pears’ lingo and most of time can even hold a conversation with people from other countries.
I’m not going to read your books if you affect the Mary Poppins style of talking for your Brits because honestly, I’m too busy shouting “Bollocks!” at your characters to enjoy the plot. Oh, and not all British men behave like spoilt three year olds either. But that is for another rant.  

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