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(Slate)   Why British singers sound American. Is it something related to why people don't stutter when they sing?   (slate.com) divider line 162
    More: Interesting, African-Americans, Beatles, singing voice, dialects, james bond movies, African American Vernacular English, country music, singers sound  
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12851 clicks; posted to Main » on 21 Nov 2012 at 3:23 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-21 09:32:10 AM  

Hilary T. N. Seuss: That cat's something I can't explain.


Well played!
 
2012-11-21 09:36:16 AM  

TheVeryDeadIanMartin: Did not and does not sound American:

[upload.wikimedia.org image 382x593]

[upload.wikimedia.org image 386x250]


Who's the most British-sounding singer? My vote:

i.imgur.com
Anyone top it?
 
2012-11-21 09:37:09 AM  
even the scorpions sound like theyre from the northeast
 
2012-11-21 09:37:17 AM  

Mikey1969: fusillade762: Even when singers aren't trying to imitate a particular vocal style associated with a genre, regional dialects tend to get lost in song

This was always my theory.


CavalierEternal: [www.chartattack.com image 425x288]

Your argument is invalid.

Came for Blur. Leaving satisfied.

See also:

[www2.pictures.zimbio.com image 594x427]

[www.fusedmagazine.com image 800x1200]

That first one isn't Nena, is it? If it is, I don't think this argument counts when singing in a completely different language, at least in my opinion. Either way, I agree that dialects get lost. One of my examples was Ozzy taking vs. Ozzy singing, all the way back to the beginning.


I find Ozzy more understandable when he sings. If he is talking you need subtitles
 
2012-11-21 09:40:32 AM  

NicoFinn: "...as did Paul McCartney in his cover of "Till There Was You," pronouncing saw more like sawr."

Umm, I think that's actually part of some British dialects, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear this a lot in spoken British English. I don't think Paul was trying to sound American, necessarily. More like he let his own accent slip out.


Bingo. Paul has a Merseyside Liverpool accent. It's got lilting elements of the Irish accent to it, but there are also elements which sound American, or more correctly, there are elements of the Liverpool accent which when exported to America became part of out accent.

It makes perfect sense if you remember that Liverpool was a major trading port with the US in the 18th and 19th centuries and a major point of embarkation.
 
2012-11-21 09:40:48 AM  

FunkOut: Meanwhile, why do so many American punk singers sound British?


I wouldn't say "so many" but the answer is "blame the Ramones"
 
2012-11-21 09:51:24 AM  

Ablejack: david_gaithersburg: The British and Aussies are faking their accents. When others aren't within earshot they talk just like the rest of the world.

Funny that one of America's famous celebs, Madonna, has also adopted her own odd ostensibly british-styled accent from nowhere in particular. I have seen this phenomena of appropriating a similar 'posh' dialect in American cities as well. I've suspected it comes from some shame of one's own native dialect or a sense of identifying with a preferred group.

 

Does she still have the accent?

I'm not sure that it was fake or had anything to do with feeling ashamed of her own accent. I experienced something similar when I lived in England. I have a pretty strong southern accent, but after about a year of living there, I sounded English. It wasn't deliberate -- I just started to sound like the people around me. I couldn't hear it, but when I would call home to talk to family and friends, they sure as heck could!

When I moved back to the US, it took about six months for me to sound southern again. But I am married to a Brit, so some of the accent has hung around and it will sometimes come out when I am talking to him.

I also sometimes pick up on the accents of good friends who come from other parts of the US (Jersey, California, Ohio). Again -- don't mean to, it just happens!

I have a good ear for accents so maybe that has something to do with it?

I'm pretty sure that there is some linguistic-type reason that this happens to some people. I know we have some language nerds here on fark, maybe they can explain it?
 
2012-11-21 10:02:57 AM  

david_gaithersburg: The British and Aussies are faking their accents. When others aren't within earshot they talk just like the rest of the world.


So... they sound Chinese?
 
2012-11-21 10:03:40 AM  
 
2012-11-21 10:06:17 AM  
o/~ See the girls in Californiar, I'm hoping it's going to come true, but there's not a lot I can do... o/~
 
2012-11-21 10:16:51 AM  

Joce678: SJKebab: Not just british. Basically everyone who sings in the english language sounds american when they sing. Anything else just sounds weird these days.

It's because that's how people sing in the music they listen to.

Look at how many little girl singers sing in that horrible faux-Irish accent when they sing.

This is how you spot true musical talent - they don't imitate everybody else, they do their own thing.


That's a poor definition of musical talent. Wouldn't it be the people who make it sound the way they want it to sound be better?
 
2012-11-21 10:26:37 AM  
Adele does not sound "American" on the Skyfall song. She sounds like every other British chick aping Motown with a mouthful of marbles. Enunciation, it's important.
 
2012-11-21 10:36:24 AM  

FunkOut: Meanwhile, why do so many American punk singers sound British?


Billie Joe Armstrong particularly guilty of this on early Green Day records...
 
2012-11-21 10:38:19 AM  
www.trbimg.com
 
2012-11-21 10:48:50 AM  

X-Geek: [www.sirensofsong.com image 640x479]


Oh Harriet! Like many late 80's indie kids my age, I had a massive crush on this woman.
 
2012-11-21 10:48:56 AM  
They do it for the same reason country singers adopt a twangy accent, even when they are from LA or Canada.
 
2012-11-21 10:54:50 AM  

Dwight_Yeast: NicoFinn: "...as did Paul McCartney in his cover of "Till There Was You," pronouncing saw more like sawr."

Umm, I think that's actually part of some British dialects, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear this a lot in spoken British English. I don't think Paul was trying to sound American, necessarily. More like he let his own accent slip out.

Bingo. Paul has a Merseyside Liverpool accent. It's got lilting elements of the Irish accent to it, but there are also elements which sound American, or more correctly, there are elements of the Liverpool accent which when exported to America became part of out accent.

It makes perfect sense if you remember that Liverpool was a major trading port with the US in the 18th and 19th centuries and a major point of embarkation.


I've known people who grew up in/near New York City...Long Island, maybe?...with that quirk of speech. The "r" where none belongs.
 
2012-11-21 11:11:26 AM  

Roamin' Polanski: FunkOut: Meanwhile, why do so many American punk singers sound British?

Billie Joe Armstrong particularly guilty of this on early Green Day records...


Have you heard his speaking voice? His faux Brit punk singing voice is much, much more suitable in comparison...
 
2012-11-21 11:16:18 AM  

ExperianScaresCthulhu: UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: Song done British: Link

Same song, done Murrican: Link

/I love 'em both ways

Extra funny points: the Murrican way -- down to the very instruments being played -- was first done by the black and irish slaves those country boys used to own.

then the irish got uppity and called themselves white.


When we know they're pale blue.  Link
 
2012-11-21 11:23:51 AM  

LewDux: Link Link


Thanks for these. Nice music to wake up to.
 
2012-11-21 11:26:52 AM  

max_pooper: Each English language accent has its own best attribute:

American accent - best for rock n roll
British accent - best for sounding stuffy
Austrian accent - best for picking up chicks

It's science people.


Oh yeah? Well I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse.

FizixJunkee: I've heard rumors that many British can't actually hear the difference between "th" and v/f.


People keep telling me there's a difference in pronunciation between "pen" and "pin", but I can't hear it. So of course I can't say it. I thought the first person that told me this was just farking with me, but I've had quite a few people from varied backgrounds confirm it. Now I feel really self conscious when I have to ask someone for something to write with.

/I pronounce and hear them both like "ten"
//Or is it tin..oh god I probably fark that up too
 
2012-11-21 12:02:09 PM  

Eddie Ate Dynamite: People keep telling me there's a difference in pronunciation between "pen" and "pin", but I can't hear it. So of course I can't say it. I thought the first person that told me this was just farking with me, but I've had quite a few people from varied backgrounds confirm it. Now I feel really self conscious when I have to ask someone for something to write with.

/I pronounce and hear them both like "ten"
//Or is it tin..oh god I probably fark that up too


The vowel sound in pin is the same as the first vowel in icky.
The vowel sound in pen is the same as the first vowel in echo.
 
2012-11-21 12:15:45 PM  

Eddie Ate Dynamite:

People keep telling me there's a difference in pronunciation between "pen" and "pin", but I can't hear it. So of course I can't say it. I thought the first person that told me this was just farking with me, but I've had quite a few people from varied backgrounds confirm it. Now I feel really self conscious when I have to ask someone for something to write with.

/I pronounce and hear them both like "ten"
//Or is it tin..oh god I probably fark that up too


I can hear the difference between "pin" and "pen" (and I pronounce them differently, too), but I know lots of people back home in Oklahoma who can't hear the difference.
 
2012-11-21 01:19:36 PM  
Wait.. Lily Allen sounds British when she sings... But Shirley Manson doesn't sound Scottish when she sings..

You can't explain that!!
 
2012-11-21 01:24:28 PM  
This is not true in Cocksparrer's case...

Link
 
2012-11-21 01:35:04 PM  
jonmwessel.files.wordpress.com

Youh aaaaaaaaaagumen' ess ehnvelid
 
2012-11-21 01:43:13 PM  
FTA: regional dialects tend to get lost in song: Intonation is superseded by melody, vowel length by the duration of each note, and vocal cadences by a song's rhythm. This makes vowel sounds and rhoticity all the more important in conveying accent in song.

That's pretty much all of it.
 
2012-11-21 02:11:22 PM  
1.bp.blogspot.com
"hey guys, what's going on in this thread?" (see file name)
 
2012-11-21 02:12:33 PM  

FeedTheCollapse: [1.bp.blogspot.com image 300x300]
"hey guys, what's going on in this thread?" (see file name)




huh, Fark rehosted the image and took the file name away...
 
2012-11-21 02:15:34 PM  
Arctic Monkeys
Franz Ferdinand
Cranberries
Twin Atlantic..

just off the top of my head.
 
2012-11-21 02:28:23 PM  

mkultra4013: Z-clipped: max_pooper: Austrian Irish Oirish accent - best for picking up chicks

FTFY

Also, I'm pretty sure they're singing in English on this album, but sometime a bit difficult to tell:

[images.uulyrics.com image 500x500]

Either way, it's fun to sing/grunt along to.


Actually a lot of their lyrics are in Gaelic
 
2012-11-21 02:30:53 PM  

Jekylman: [jonmwessel.files.wordpress.com image 600x356]

Youh aaaaaaaaaagumen' ess ehnvelid


What's funny is I just watched Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll yesterday. It was pretty good.
 
2012-11-21 02:35:09 PM  
$$$, perhaps?
 
2012-11-21 02:39:21 PM  

Ilmarinen: You are Borg: ClintonKun: NicoFinn: "...as did Paul McCartney in his cover of "Till There Was You," pronouncing saw more like sawr."

Umm, I think that's actually part of some British dialects, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear this a lot in spoken British English. I don't think Paul was trying to sound American, necessarily. More like he let his own accent slip out.

Also, British persons have this odd habit of putting an er on the end of words that end with a. Like "Americer" or "Obamer". Not sure if it's a recent development or not, and even though I tend to like British accents, that little quirk can get annoying.

I hear it on the radio all the time when they mention Canader and Chiner, always found it very odd.

What do you call a blind dinosaur?


Do you think he sawer us? Haha, nice one!
 
2012-11-21 02:59:45 PM  
FTFA: For the newest James Bond movie, Skyfall, English singer Adele recorded a song with the same name. Though Adele speaks with a strong London accent, her singing voice sounds more American than British. Why do British vocalists often sound American when they sing?

Let the skyfoe
When it crumboes
We wiwl stand toll
Face it oll togevah

Let the skyfoe
When it crumboes
We wiwl stand toll
Face it oll togevah
At skyfoe
At skyfoe

/She sounds pretty British to me.
 
2012-11-21 03:11:45 PM  
because Englishmen are a bunch of pompous, stuck-up, snot-nosed, giant, twerp, scumbag, dickhead, assholes.

/ just thank us for saving you from being the smallest province in the Russian empire.
 
2012-11-21 03:24:30 PM  
i have always rationalized this as simply as possible. When you speak in unplanned conversation your brain and mouth react in almost the same moment, so your speech comes out as you are used to speaking it, quickly and with whatever accent or draw or impediment you are used to. when you sing, your brain knows the words in advance (unless you're freestylin'), therefore no timing battle with your mouth and the words come out as planned/spelled/meant to be.
 
2012-11-21 03:46:48 PM  

fusillade762: Even when singers aren't trying to imitate a particular vocal style associated with a genre, regional dialects tend to get lost in song

This was always my theory.


CavalierEternal: [www.chartattack.com image 425x288]

Your argument is invalid.

Came for Blur. Leaving satisfied.

See also:

[www2.pictures.zimbio.com image 594x427]

[www.fusedmagazine.com image 800x1200]


Nice... Loves me some Ting Tings.
 
2012-11-21 03:53:45 PM  

Eddie Ate Dynamite: People keep telling me there's a difference in pronunciation between "pen" and "pin", but I can't hear it. So of course I can't say it. I thought the first person that told me this was just farking with me, but I've had quite a few people from varied backgrounds confirm it. Now I feel really self conscious when I have to ask someone for something to write with.


Here you go.

And don't even get me started on Merry-Marry-Mary. I've had West Coast farkers laugh in my face when I've told them that these words aren't supposed to rhyme with each other.
 
2012-11-21 03:57:23 PM  
Did anyone know that Mumford & Sons were English? They sound like some down-home good ol' boys in that "I Will Wait" song.
 
2012-11-21 04:08:06 PM  

B.L.Z. Bub: Did anyone know that Mumford & Sons were English? They sound like some down-home good ol' boys in that "I Will Wait" song.


Yeah. Listen to "Little Lion Man". It should be pretty clear they're British.
 
2012-11-21 04:36:23 PM  

Z-clipped: Eddie Ate Dynamite: People keep telling me there's a difference in pronunciation between "pen" and "pin", but I can't hear it. So of course I can't say it. I thought the first person that told me this was just farking with me, but I've had quite a few people from varied backgrounds confirm it. Now I feel really self conscious when I have to ask someone for something to write with.

Here you go.

And don't even get me started on Merry-Marry-Mary. I've had West Coast farkers laugh in my face when I've told them that these words aren't supposed to rhyme with each other.


HA!
 
2012-11-21 05:04:47 PM  

B.L.Z. Bub: Did anyone know that Mumford & Sons were English? They sound like some down-home good ol' boys in that "I Will Wait" song.


They sound pretty english or scottish or whatever in most of their songs to me. I've always thought of them as that band from england or scotland or whatever that tries to sound like a bluegrass band. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
 
2012-11-21 05:27:03 PM  

red5ish:
The vowel sound in pin is the same as the first vowel in icky.
The vowel sound in pen is the same as the first vowel in echo.


Huh. That's the best explanation I've heard (seen) yet. If I sit here and say "pecho" I can sort of get to a "pen" that's different from "pin". "Pan" is really close though, seems like pen is about half way between pan and pin almost. Maybe I'm still off. I've heard that for certain things regarding speech if you don't develop it during adolescence you'll just never get it.

Z-clipped: Here you go.

And don't even get me started on Merry-Marry-Mary. I've had West Coast farkers laugh in my face when I've told them that these words aren't supposed to rhyme with each other.


HA! So I'm not retarded (in this case at least, just southern...yes, there's a difference)! In your face all you damn yankees, you're just trying to make shiat more difficult than it needs to be.

Regarding merry-marry-Mary, I think I actually have a very slight variation in my pronunciation of those words. Not sure if it's enough to be noticable to someone else listening though. You have to admit a lot of things sound similar in every-day speech when people may not enunciate clearly. There's a reason the military uses the whole Alpha Bravo Charlie thing, and it's not because it sounds cool. Well, maybe just a little. Can't remember what they call that alphabet though.
 
2012-11-21 06:04:38 PM  

Z-clipped: And don't even get me started on Merry-Marry-Mary. I've had West Coast farkers laugh in my face when I've told them that these words aren't supposed to rhyme with each other.


I'm from the Midwest and I too would laugh in your face for such a statement. There is not the tiniest iota of difference in pronunciation of those three words where I come from.
 
2012-11-21 06:32:14 PM  

FizixJunkee: You are Borg: ClintonKun: NicoFinn: "...as did Paul McCartney in his cover of "Till There Was You," pronouncing saw more like sawr."

Umm, I think that's actually part of some British dialects, isn't it? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I hear this a lot in spoken British English. I don't think Paul was trying to sound American, necessarily. More like he let his own accent slip out.

Also, British persons have this odd habit of putting an er on the end of words that end with a. Like "Americer" or "Obamer". Not sure if it's a recent development or not, and even though I tend to like British accents, that little quirk can get annoying.

I hear it on the radio all the time when they mention Canader and Chiner, always found it very odd.


What about dropping middle TT sound in words like butter and better (e.g., "butter" is pronounced "bu'er" with a glottal stop)?

Or completely neglecting the "th" sound? When we were in England last week, you heard this everywhere, including the Home Counties: Many of them can't pronounce "th." I've heard rumors that many British can't actually hear the difference between "th" and v/f.

\ "I won the elf lo'ery!"


Not true. Whoever is telling you these rumours is a big fat liar. Some people (usually Cockney) may pronounce th as v, but it's ridiculous to suggest that they can't hear a difference. I have family in Bethnal Green who would be shocked to learn they have some sort of hearing impairment.
 
2012-11-21 07:00:42 PM  
 
2012-11-21 09:40:52 PM  
access.nscpcdn.com

It works in reverse, too. Some American singers try to sound British whilst speaking.
 
2012-11-21 09:45:02 PM  
img.youtube.com

Approve of the headline.

/hot linkage
//obscure?
 
2012-11-21 10:06:35 PM  

ZeroCorpse: Let the skyfoe
When it crumboes
We wiwl stand toll
Face it oll togevah



I can't listen to that song without thinking of Elmer Fudd.
Her diction (or lack of it) makes it unintentionally hilarious.
 
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