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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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12847 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 10:18:05 PM

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.


He emphasized it on purpose.
 
2012-11-21 11:02:20 PM

Pawprint: 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.


Here's how we say them in the Northeast:
Merry = bed
Marry = cat
Mary = chair

Spiralmonkey: 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.


Strangely enough, I have heard certain French speakers equate these two sounds. The classic depiction of English by a French-speaker is to merge "th" with "z" ("Ze cat is on ze chair" ), but there are other possibilities including replacing "th" with the normal hard "t/d" that appears in French, ("Tuh mouse iz under de table"), or doing what my friend Francis does- "Vuh monkey is on vuh branch". Francis learned both French and Portuguese as a child though, so that may have affected his ear.

Eddie Ate Dynamite: I've heard that for certain things regarding speech if you don't develop it during adolescence you'll just never get it.


You can train your ear, but it takes a lot of hard work just like anything else.

Eddie Ate Dynamite: 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.


I have a lot of family from the South, so I understand where you're coming from. Here's a question for you: If you put someone from west Texas, next to someone from southern Alabama next to someone from North Carolina, do they sound very different to your ear? Can you generally get an idea of where someone is from in the South by listening to their accent? If you can, then you have all of the natural talent you need to drop one accent and pick up another. We could have you pahking the cah and paying a dawla for a tawnic like a Bostonian in no time.

sipedogg311: 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.


It's a bit more complex than that neurologically. It's actually closer to the process of learning a language. Once a particular phoneme set is embedded, a speaker no longer needs to process a "translation" from one to another Obviously musicians deal with more rehearsed verbal material, but a similar phenomenon occurs for them in the case of scales and modes. Indian musical scales, for example, use the "re-flat" interval (or 1/2 tone above the root) that is almost never seen in Western music. When asked to improvise within Indian themes, western musicians will typically use the scales they're familiar with, but given enough exposure will eventually begin to unconsciously incorporate the re-flat without actually being taught the Indian scale.

ThatBillmanGuy: Wait.. Lily Allen sounds British when she sings... But Shirley Manson doesn't sound Scottish when she sings..

You can't explain that!!


I can... Shirley Manson is a musician. Lily Allen just....kinda sucks.
 
2012-11-21 11:49:01 PM

Mole Man: [
//obscure?


Morris Minor & The Majors? Hardly.

About the "th" and "v/f" thing, I was just listening to an Adam Carolla podcast with Sex Pistols' Steve Jones a while ago, and was annoyed by this "new-to-me" phenomena.

CSB!
 
2012-11-22 12:31:41 AM
GAT_00 [TotalFark]


2012-11-21 12:32:59 AM

RedPhoenix122: [i.telegraph.co.uk image 620x388]

Your argument is invalid.

upload.wikimedia.org

Ditto


actually, I came into this thread to say that Mark Knopfler sounds American in a lot of his DS songs. Infact, when their first record/single broke into the radio charts in America, listeners would call in asking "what's that great American sounding band you've been playing lately?". It's only when he speaks to the audience in live gigs (see Alchemy live) that he has a british accent.

Or, maybe I read your comment oppositely/wrongly.
 
2012-11-22 12:34:25 AM
I always found it interesting how some british singers in the late 60's, early 70's, intentionally put on a fake southern America accent for some songs:
Elton John "No Shoe Strings on Louise" and Mick Jagger (multiple rolling stones songs).


anyway, here's More great British / UK singers that sing in the vernacular:
Peter Hammill, Robyn Hitchcock, the lead singer from Wire (actually, now that I think about it... most UK punk bands sing with a British accent).
 
2012-11-22 12:40:48 AM
No one sounds more British than the Streets.
 
2012-11-22 01:32:35 AM

Koodz: 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.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linking_and_intrusive_R

Nope, it's about a 300 year old development.

/Used to teach English alongside Canadians, Britons, and Aussies.


Aha, I was reading the article with that one line from the song "A Day In The Life" running through my head. I've been wondering about the intrusive R for a long time now, though I didn't know how the phenomenon was described.

From what I've read, the use of a non-linking -er at the end of a word might be blamed in part on 19th century Oxford students: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_-er
 
2012-11-22 03:18:29 AM

cyberspacedout: From what I've read, the use of a non-linking -er at the end of a word might be blamed in part on 19th century Oxford students: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_-er


There's a lot of theory on it, but I think it's just that during the British shift away from the use of the rhotic, people started applying the "-er sounds like /ə/ unless followed by a vowel" rule in reverse. So any word that ended in /ə/, -er or not, was assumed to need an intrusive /ɹ/ if it was followed by a vowel. That's why a Brit will say "I like Barack Obamah", but will also say "Barack Obamer asked me out for suppah." 

Oh... and what do you know? Wikipedier agrees.
 
Heb
2012-11-22 04:22:37 AM

Jim_Callahan: You are Borg:
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.

It's a common feature of rural/suburban dialect in south England and Whales. When I visited family in Scotland and North England no one did it, but my cousins from a couple towns southwest of London (around the Rugby area) can't get a sentence out without appending an "arr" sound to the end of at least one word.

Interesting tidbit, this is why attempts in the early 19th century to standardize English spelling phonetically (in the 1700s it wasn't standardized at all) were miserable failures: hop from one municipality to the next, and how the words were pronounced precisely changed pretty dramatically. So we ended up standardizing based on just picking a damned spelling and making it the correct one, which is why we have some seemingly odd ones like "through" still being spelled the way it was pronounced in the 1820s instead of "throo" like it's pronounced by most modern English speakers. We only correct when the standard is no longer "close enough".


Your cousins are lying to you to make themselves sound cool. Rugby is in the midlands. As far as us Londoners are concerned, they are northerners :)
 
2012-11-22 07:45:01 AM

Heb: Rugby is in the midlands. As far as us Londoners are concerned, they are northerners :)

Sgt. Shadwell hated all southerners and, by inference, was standing at the North Pole.

 
2012-11-22 08:05:38 AM

Z-clipped



2012-11-22 03:18:29 AM

cyberspacedout: From what I've read, the use of a non-linking -er at the end of a word might be blamed in part on 19th century Oxford students: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_-er

There's a lot of theory on it, but I think it's just that during the British shift away from the use of the rhotic, people started applying the "-er sounds like /ə/ unless followed by a vowel" rule in reverse. So any word that ended in /ə/, -er or not, was assumed to need an intrusive /ɹ/ if it was followed by a vowel. That's why a Brit will say "I like Barack Obamah", but will also say "Barack Obamer asked me out for suppah."


The one I noticed the most was when I had a British/English Professor in University, and he consistently pronounced "Canada" as "Canad-er"
 
2012-11-22 08:59:01 AM

Already Disturbed: [www.trbimg.com image 599x480]


Yeah this guy with his reverse of the headline
 
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