So, like, if American accents are so unsexy...

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I was just thinking about that off-hand comment in an earlier thread I can't seem to track down at the moment... someone said American accents aren't sexy. It made me wonder why people who aspire to rock all around the world try to sound American so often. Bands and solo acts from Norway, Britain, Mexico, France, Canada, Sweden, Japan, Germany... several have successfully removed their accents to the point where your average American is surprised to find out their favorite new artist is foreign. Most recent example I can think of, Turbonegro has successfully Americanized their sound.

On the subject of nonsexy accents, I'd have to go with German, Mexican, New Yorican, Asian, Indian, strong Scottish ... uh... brogue?, Russian and what I'm told is a"Cockney" Brit accent... is that correct? I like the James Bond sounding British accent, whatever that's called. As far as American accents, besides New Yorican, I'm also not too fond of Yokel, Street, Midwest or Southern, and some of that surfer lingo I still can't believe is hanging around.

Nude Spock, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I reckon youse all gots y'own idears on the matter.

Nude Spork, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Well, I was never really fond of Southern accents, and then after spending some time in the midwest, I decided I didn't like that accent very much either. And come to think of it, I hate New York accents...so I guess most American accents do suck pretty much. Surfer lingo is simply a novelty and not necessarily a regional inflection. Foreign accents are always intriguing because they tend to incorporate the accent of their native language. Americans didn't incorporate shit. It just changed for some reason. I wonder why...

Timothy, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Sorry, I think Scottish accents are the sexiest in the world!

In fact, almost all of the accents you named I like to a certain extent. The only accent I have ever really thought was unattractive is South African -- just something about the pronounciations rubs me the wrong way.

Nicole, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

the midwest with a slight hint of twang

anthony, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

"what I'm told is a"Cockney" Brit accent" Jeeeeeeeeeesus Christ, be thankful you don't live in Chadwell Heath then. Awight mate? Sweet etc etc. On a brief tangent, I was rather disappointed last night to see in 'Band Of Brothers' a dreadful cockney stereotype gibbering about apples and pears etc. Grrr!

DG, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Good lord, yes, NY accents, in general, are disgusting. Brooklyn, Bronx, blech. "New Yowuk is da best damn ciry in da wohl!!!!".. Then, there's Bahston.

Hmmm, how come everyone on tv sounds fine to me, but people on the street sound like morons?

Nude Spock, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hey, what the hell was Brad Pitt's accent in SNATCH again? Now that's sexy.

Nude Spock, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hey Nude Spock, those people who aspire to rock all around the world are not trying to sound American! Even most Americans don't sound American when they sing. There is something about singing which stops accents from coming through. You could just as well say they are all trying to sound English or Australian.

I've got to agree with Nicole that Scottish accents are very sexy.

toraneko, Thursday, 11 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Spock--maybe it's because what we hear on TV has become the 'standard' accentless english. That said, California (aside from surfer slang)=the only state w/out obvious accent? Or am I totally off the mark?

turner, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

What you hear on American telly (when they're not singing) certainly isn't standard English here! (or in NZ, UK, SA, India, Singapore, or any other English speaking country other than America).

I only watch telly about once a month, if that, and I find the American accents on American telly shows to be very strong. I think when I used to watch telly everyday I was not so conscious of it.

toraneko, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Americans didn't incorporate shit. It just changed for some reason

It depends on where you live. There's a south side Chicago accent that has strong Polish influences. Different ethnic groups in the area have their own version of it. You'll English influences up and down the east coast, but they have evolved quite a bit. Linguists have attributed the stereotypical American accent to Irish influences, particularly in the "r" pronunciation.

Kerry, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm from New Jersey. Ergo, I have no accent :-p

The only accent I don't particularly like is the Texan accent. Everyone with that accent sounds like a total moron. I suspect that I'd like the Glasgewian accent if I knew what the fuck they were saying ...

Tadeusz Suchodolski, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Scots' accents are indeed well groovy. *SIGH* Ah well.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Least sexiest accent is definitely the generic American shopping mall accent... the accent you hear as two high heel clopping women in business attire brag about their score at the Nordstrom's sale.

The only exception is, like, YOU KNOW, Encino.. or Tarzana! Fer sure! (Sorry, it's all rooted in my long-time crush of Moon Unit Zappa.. who I MISSED AT THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON BOOKSTORE A FEW DAYS AGO!) sigh.

Now, which nationalities has the sexiest accent? New Zealand and Austrialia, by far.

And I disagree... New York and Southern women can sound pretty damn sexy if they don't take the accent too far.

Brian MacDonald, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hmmm--methinks this does not bode well for my cultural intergration on impending sojourn in Glasgow...

turner, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Over the past year or so, I accidentally turned myself into an agnostic zealot. I blame all my basketcased tendencies on that.

Anyway, I used to have a Southern accent before I decided anything was possible and that I believed that whatever you believe in exists for you. I'm sad!

I wish I still had my natural accent and not this stupid one that only has rules for syntax. Then I'd be comfortable and not lisp and stumble when I think. Then maybe I'd be confident enough to know what I believe in.

I like British accents, especially Scottish. Hollywood accents are also interesting. Think of Gone With the Wind. I don't really dislike any accents.

capricious pants, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

All accents are trivial

Mike Hanle y, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Mike youre so...deep

turner, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Why do rock bands put on fake American accents? Don't know why they do it while talking, but on the rare occasions I attempt to sing I try to sing using my natural speaking accent but the vowels are really long and unwieldy and if you're not careful it sounds ridiculously overenunciated. Especially long Is, it feels so much neater just to go "ah" instead. And then there's all my peeves about my accent in general, too, but I ranted for too long about those on another thread.

Rebecca, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

English=lingua franca of rocknroll

turner, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

New Zealand? The Kiwis have the sexiest accent? They've only got one vowel, fer chrissakes!

ogden, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

the post cut off the last bit: nz - sexiest accent for sheep."

Geoff, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Accents I like: Irish, Noo Yoik, French, Spanish, posh-but-not unintelligibly- posh girls.

Accents I dislike: Brummie, Geordie (always sounds like they're chewing on something and choking), posh boys.

I have a variety of accents - I can purr smoothly from rough-diamond Cocknee (Yeah, mate, safe.) to gentle, bumbling Oxbridge (errrrrrrrr te'bley s'rreh) in little under five seconds.

Will McKenzie, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

To the guy/gal who said it: Do you really think singing filters out accents? There's plenty of people who sing with their accent. Accents only disappear if you're trying to sing without one, I think. Like, Silverchair doesn't sound 100% American, but much more so than the Lucksmiths or Ben Lee, f'ristance. Isn't Bush from somewhere else? Besides the odd pronunciation of "glycerine", they sounded a lot like they came from Seattle when they first came out, a Nirvana clone if there ever was one. INXS always sounded American to me. Actually, even a lot of the British Invasion stuff is accentless, for the most part. Sex Pistols don't sound American, however. By contrast, there's only one American band I can think of that sounds foreign: Green Day. Billie Joe's own words: "[I am singing like] an American trying to sing like a English guy trying to sing like an American." Personally, I think he's just an American guy trying to sing like an English guy.

Nude Spock, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

i'm with tad.

fred solinger, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Scottish and North of England accents - sexy.

Birmingham accents - so unsexy I'm amazed Birmingham hasn't become extinct.

Nasally whiney American accents - unsexy.

Southern American accents - sexy.

Effete middle class Dublin accents - incredibly sexy, and I should know.

DV, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Ya'll are silly.

Samantha, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Southern accents you see on TV are fake. Just some Yankee trying to be funny. If you ever come here dont think that the few hillbillies are representing all Southerners. Talk to a few educated people. Then maybe they wont sound so stupid. Well, I recken thats all I gotta say. Aint ya glad?

Tator, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Nude Spock:

Anyone who has received any amount of vocal coaching are going to default to a neutral accent when singing English. Vowel-wise, I think that the American/Candian accents are closest to sung English than the UK/Australian/NZ accents, thus making many singers sound like they're trying to sound "American" when they're really just trying to sing vowels and consonants that carry well when sung.

Dan Perry, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

But, it's sexy, innit? And it sounds "American", right?

Nude Spock, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

California certainly does have an accent, and it is a surfer accent -- without some of the weird ling, and a bit milder. But the long open vowels are the key.

Sterlnig Clover, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I'm sure I have one, but I'm not a 'yo, dude, yeah brah' type of speaker. One time a feller who was a grad student in linguistics and knew his regional accents ran an informal test on me to determine my accent. When it was done, he paused and said, "You have Midwestern news announcer *no*-accent." I was perversely pleased.

Ned Raggett, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

ogden: New Zealand? The Kiwis have the sexiest accent? They've only got one vowel, fer chrissakes!

Yeah, but it's the right vowel. (wudge wudge nink nink)

Goeff: the post cut off the last bit: nz - sexiest accent for sheep.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa......

Brian MacDonald, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

i find lots of US accents sexy - have no idea which ones, though. also Scottish and New Zealand are nice. Irish accents are a big dud for me though

m jemmeson, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hey did you hear about the new Pirate movie coming out?...

It's ratet Aaaarrrrrrrr.

hank, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I would like to announce for the record that upstate New Yorkers do not sound anything like city new yorkers. In my region people have irritatingly nasal vowels though. This is a gross exaggeration but the slight tendency annoys me: "yee-ah, it hyapenned ageeun."

I adore Scottish and Indian accents. I'm getting used to Southern and Asian. I don't like Spanish much.

Maria, Friday, 12 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

My accent is weird.

I don't have the Scandinavian Hosebag accent which most Minnesotans (including my whole family) have. Basically, if you want Fargo outtakes, ring my mother. She accuses me of over-enunciating - and has done for years - but I've never spoken like that. If you don't have the Minnewegian accent, you have the closest thing to American Received Pronunciation there is (journalists go there and spend a fortune on speech lessons to achieve it).

Ten years living in London has given me British usage and softer vowel sounds. Some people in Minnesota think I am 'Briddush?' when I go back to visit. Nobody in NYC is stupid enough to make that mistake.

Accents I don't like: Uneducated Minnesotan, Southern Redneck, NY Bridge and Tunnel Person. And, like, the Valley, y'know? Also not terribly keen on heavy-duty German or Israeli. And nuffink is more irritatin' than Birds Of A feather-type Cockney.

Accents I like: French, intelligent or 'scatty' (ie. Jane Birkin) posh English, Yorkshire Northern, Mancunian (when you could no longer hear Morrissey's Manchester vowel sounds sung, that meant the well was dry), and ALL Scottish accents (getting my old Glaswegian flatmate Stevie to say 'fellatio' and 'turd burglar' is guaranteed to leave me in hysterics).

suzy, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Hey Nude Spock, it was me who said that when singing accents are lost (and it was me who said American ones were unsexy too). Now, there are definitely some people who sing with an accent. I was listening to Carole King today and she sings with a major American accent. But then bands like Aqua & Bjork & Abba & anyone Japanese don't sound American (even when they are trying to) and very few English and Australian and NZ bands do either.

What Dan said might be true, that sung English vowels sound very much like spoken American. This sort of makes sense seeing as in singing more time is spent on vowels than consonants and the American drawl is like that too.

Singing is really different to speaking. I recall hearing that people who speak with a stutter do not sing with one.

What sort of accent do you have Nude Spock?

toraneko, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

"I like the James Bond sounding British accent, whatever that's called."

Which one?

Connery = Edinburgh Scottish Lazenby = Australian Moore = RADA Southern English Dalton = RADA (suppressing North Wales) English Brosnan = Irish.

I like Dutch, me. It sounds like eating.

Michael Jones, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I don't like Spanish much

This is just insane. Say 'patatath fritath' a few times and you will be cured.

Nick, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Roger Moore, the real James Bond. Yesh, I know Sean Connery came fusht, but hish akshent ishn't befitting of a Jamesh Bond. Alsho, he ish not nearly shuave enough.

Nude Spock, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

Tor, the only accent I have is in the cupboard and I use it on chicken. Ha!

Nude Spock, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

I've got to agree that Roger Moore is the real James Bond. Not least of all because James Bond is meant to be sexy and Sean Connery looks like my Dad.

I love James Bond. I want to be James Bond.

toraneko, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

is michael is like that guy in trainspotting? hey, what kind of accent did oddjob have?

ethan, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

in the book i think oddjob has no tongue (cut out) and can't speak: also fleming has v.carefully to explain that karate is a super- deadly still unknown versh of judo, so as to big up his cosmopolitan-knowledge cred

mark s, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link

JF Kennedy's favourite author apparently.

stevo, Saturday, 13 October 2001 00:00 (twenty years ago) link


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