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Tinika 11-11-2005 04:48 PM

Mary's Accent and Languages
 
I was surprised today watching an interview Mary gave shortly before her wedding. Her accent is markedly English--she barely sounds Australian at all. I wonder if she took some sort of diction course? It's strange for someone who has been away from the native country for only five years or so to have so completely lost the accent.

Yennie 11-11-2005 04:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tinika
I was surprised today watching an interview Mary gave shortly before her wedding. Her accent is markedly English--she barely sounds Australian at all. I wonder if she took some sort of diction course? It's strange for someone who has been away from the native country for only five years or so to have so completely lost the accent.

Iīm swedish so I havent heard that much "real english", but to me it sounded like she had an accent. Its almost like she doesnt speak english very well, like someone from a non-englisk speaking country...
Ofcourse I realise that she is fluent but I dont think I would have guessed she was an australian if I hadnīt know

KikkiB 11-11-2005 06:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tinika
I was surprised today watching an interview Mary gave shortly before her wedding. Her accent is markedly English--she barely sounds Australian at all. I wonder if she took some sort of diction course? It's strange for someone who has been away from the native country for only five years or so to have so completely lost the accent.

I noticed that too, even though I don't have English as my mother tongue. But I have watched a lot of Home and Away, and Mary didn't sound much like that :D I thought I also could hear some Danish intonation when she spoke, but I might have thought so, because it was commented on after the airing of that interview in 2004. Might have been biased so to speak :)

I've heard other people who have English as their mother tongue and that have lived in Norway for more than 20 years and still have their accent/dialect intact. I've heard CP Mette-Marit speak English (before the London stay the other year) and she had an incling of an Australian flavour to her English, and she only spent 6 months or so there in the early 90s :eek:

So my hypothesis is that something have been altered, whether it is diction courses or court etiqette courses I don't know... I'm not an expert, though I teach English.

Tinika 11-11-2005 06:20 PM

That would be my guess as well. She's very...careful when she speaks, very deliberate. Some sort of coaching.

Margrethe II 11-11-2005 06:35 PM

Her Royal Highness never had what one would call a very strong Australian accent anyway. I suppose having been brought up around Scottish parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles that this is to be somewhat expected.

After having learnt Danish for the past 5 years or so (her first foreign language) and having moved to Europe sometime back, it is perfectly normal that the Crown Princess should have a lilt when she speaks. Now her accent is more trans-atlantic.

"MII"

SpiffyBallerina 11-11-2005 06:50 PM

Hey, I speak English but when I'm with my Mexican friends, I just automatically shift my accent to theirs without even thinking about it. The same goes for my southern friends. Give me five minutes with them and I'll let a "yall" slip.;) I know a lot of people are like that: they speak their native dialect of English, but if they're in another environment it's REALLY easy to slip into another way of speaking English.
Perhaps English is just a language that makes it easier to shift accents.

And as far as Mary goes- it's no wonder she speaks deliberately! Everything she says is instantly news so it is very wise to speak carefully. Also, with people listening for an accent, it's good that she's trying to be mindful of it.

Lady Jean 11-11-2005 07:58 PM

I was struck by her English grammar more than the accent - the structure of the sentences, etc. is a little awkward for a native speaker, but I understand if it was because of the cameras, reporters, etc. Her "English" accent does seem to be a bit of an affectation unless the accents of the people around her (Margrethe, etc.) have naturally influenced her speaking manner. I think she's done a great job so far, and making speeches, etc. in a foreign language w/the world watching is definitely something I couldn't do.

Margrethe II 11-11-2005 08:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SpiffyBallerina
Perhaps English is just a language that makes it easier to shift accents.

It definitly is SpiffyBallerina,

Especially in Australia where we are broad multi-cultural society. I personally, find it easy to pick up other languages. I have the sound for it as do so many people I know.

"MII"

Australian 11-11-2005 11:18 PM

Also, the Australian accent on Australian tv shows are somtimes exaggeratted. I dont know anybody who speaks like Steve Irwin for example. The Aussie accent in my opinion is greatly exaggerated within foreign media.

Mahoogie 11-11-2005 11:52 PM

Nicole Kidman still have the strong aussie accent even if she stays in US for sometime or longer time coz of her acting career and I think she is based in L.A. more than in Australia..but I find it odd for Catherine Zeta-Jones who is a born-Welsh yet she doesnt sound like from Wales in some of her interviews..I have a Welsh friend and he says that he doesnt like the way Catherine forgets her roots specifically the way she speaks.I think it depends on the person's adaptation..There are some who still mantains their accent..

Pink Tulip 11-12-2005 12:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Australian
Also, the Australian accent on Australian tv shows are somtimes exaggeratted. I dont know anybody who speaks like Steve Irwin for example. The Aussie accent in my opinion is greatly exaggerated within foreign media.

Thats true. I do think she has some sort of an Aussie accent, even if it isn't as broad as others. Probably the learning Danish has contributed to her more refined accent, but even like Margrethe II said, having close family members from another country can mean that your accent can be slightly different to others, because you may pronounce certain words differently.

Mahoogie 11-12-2005 12:34 AM

By the way, we are talking about the former Mary Donaldson who is now Denmark's beloved Crown Princess Mary...Perhaps, the Princess wholeheartedly wants to absorb the Danish culture,language,and accent and its excusable and normal for her to be this way as she will be Denmarks' future Queen..Its not that she is putting aside her Australian upbringing nor Scottish roots, its just that Princess Mary is in another world now, and she is taking her new role with great passion and dedication..Thats what I see in her..

Margrethe II 11-12-2005 01:57 AM

I dont think the Crown Princess intentionally speaks with a lilt in her accent. Having undergone extensive Danish lessons and being based in Denmark it should be quite normal that her accent has taken on a stronger Scandinavian twang.

Oh definitly, I can still hear her Australian accent, absolutely.

As Pink Tulip also supports, the fact that she was raised around family members who spoke with a Scottish accent would have influenced the Crown Princesses more refined Aussie accent. I can associate with this as my accent has a slight english twang due to my grandfather, and having been around him alot since I was a child. Even his daughter (my mother) has what we would be enclined to call "throw back".

But my brothers dont have it, only I do. This could be said for Mary as well, as her siblings speak with an unmistakable Aussie accent.

"MII"

P.S. I could'nt agree more Mahoogie,

The Crown Princess has embraced and shown the character of a true Crown Princess. Her dedication and passion are unwavering.

Layla1971 11-12-2005 04:25 AM

Well, I was born and raised in Australia and while I speak english fluently I do have a strange accent compared to my friends.

My parents are both from Europe, so having heard them speaking english with strong Russian (my dad) and Greek (my mum) accents influenced the way my siblings and I speak our mother tongue.
I admit I had speaking lessons that were taught by a Welsh woman, so my accent is also quite Welsh, just a little more 'simple'.

Having learnt to speak German, and growing up listening to different accents, the way I speak in general, and the way I pronounce certain words in very different to the way my friends speak english.

BTW, I have seen the way foreigners (Americans in particular) see the Aussie accent. And, they think we all sound like the refinened accent of Nicole Kidman, or the rather rustic accent of Steve Irwin! And, even though my accent is strange, the general Aussie accent is very much a simpler, more relaxed version of the English accent.

Pink Tulip 11-12-2005 06:11 AM

I'm the same. My mother is Irish, from the north, and my friend often pick up when I pronounce words differently to them. When I was in Ireland, people were saying they were surprised I didn't have a strong Aussie accent (meaning what they had heard on television).

What about when Mary speaks Danish? Any Danes can tell us if she sounds Australian?

Xandra 11-12-2005 06:51 AM

For me, the lilt is more a Scottish lilt than any Danish influence. But I wouldn´t be surprised if she has had speech training (not necessarily to correct accents or anything, but how to speak clearly etc).
One thing that is very common, however, is for people to assume they hear an accent as soon as they know the person is from a certain country. I´ll bet if Mary or Alex calls someone on the phone without identifying themselves, no one would recognise any Australian, Scottish or HK accent.

What qualifies as British accent, anyway? People from Northern England have a very different accent from Tony Blair, for example.
I think there are too many pre-conceived notions around.

Layla1971 11-12-2005 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xandra
What qualifies as British accent, anyway? People from Northern England have a very different accent from Tony Blair, for example.
I think there are too many pre-conceived notions around.

A British accent (to us Australians that is), is a Blair accent or the ones in Eastenders. Either one would qualify as British here.

KikkiB 11-12-2005 09:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Layla1971
A British accent (to us Australians that is), is a Blair accent or the ones in Eastenders. Either one would qualify as British here.

I guess that Blair isn't the best example when discussing accents as he too has changed his. If I'm not mistaken he is really from Edinburgh, and my guess is that they don't speak BBC English up there :) By the way, according to Wikipedia he also spent some of his childhood in Adelaide, Australia. That would mean that he might have a Scottish accent with an Australian flavour, and not the very - in my opinion - posh English he has today.

In my interaction with people I've learnt that some people have a totally different accent than where they live, while others change accents depending on who they are talking to and their accent. And I know that people are influenced by their surroundings, so why not CP Mary too?!?

Layla1971 11-12-2005 10:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KikkiB
I guess that Blair isn't the best example when discussing accents as he too has changed his. If I'm not mistaken he is really from Edinburgh, and my guess is that they don't speak BBC English up there :) By the way, according to Wikipedia he also spent some of his childhood in Adelaide, Australia. That would mean that he might have a Scottish accent with an Australian flavour, and not the very - in my opinion - posh English he has today.

In my interaction with people I've learnt that some people have a totally different accent than where they live, while others change accents depending on who they are talking to and their accent. And I know that people are influenced by their surroundings, so why not CP Mary too?!?

I don't know much about Blair, but I was talking about the accent he has now.:)

And, yes, when I'm with my Russian family I speak like they do, and same with my Greek family, and my French friends, and so on....
It's easy to change your accent depending on the people you're with, and CP Mary is mostly around people with very posh Danish accents, and also she has had speech classes to improve her voice, so why wouldn't she be influenced like any of us.

Besides that, even if this voice/dialect change is concious, why shouldn't she be allowed to change?

We wouldn't be critisized for improving ourselves, so why should she, Even if she is famous?:)

BTW Kikki, incredibly difficult to read you're signature in that color! But, no offense, I like it.:) :)

Lady Jennifer 11-12-2005 10:43 AM

I wonder how their son's (& any other children they have) accent when he speaks English will be. Prince Albert of Monaco (for example) has a very American accent when he speaks English (its American but its not- he doesn't have a specific accent that is American- but he doesn't have a British English either--I hope that made sense! :D)....I wonder if their children will speak English with a accent (a Danish accent I mean).
I really haven't heard Mary speak before except for maybe once & it did sound kind of forced in a way....like she had never spoken it before. Of course as others have said she might have been picking her words carefully.


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