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Monday, June 28, 2004

The final episodes of Frasier were shown on UK terrestrial TV last week, and I got around to watching my video of them over the weekend. I was going to moan about American actors with terrible British accents, until I googled Anthony La Paglia to check how to spell his name, and found that he's Australian. (Before anyone else mentions it, yes Ewan McGregor's accent in Big Fish was appalling. And I will concede Gwyneth Paltrow and James Marsters as being pretty convincing playing Brits most of the time.) Instead, let me muse upon the seeming inability of someone involved in the programme to grasp the whole concept of regional accents. A woman from Manchester would not have brothers who sounded like they came from London's East End, Glasgow, and a Knightsbridge Finishing School. Would someone from Texas be portrayed with a brother who sounded like he was from Minnesota? I think not. We Small Islanders do get rather put out by thoughtless treatments of our shores and our people, and it really takes very little effort to get it right and keep us happy

I also watched my DVD of Macbeth. It was fascinating to see two productions of the same play back to back, comparing similarities and differences in the treatments. And, fitting in nicely with my rant about accents, it was interesting to compare how the language was treated, and how changing the melody and rhythm of the words can totally transform their meaning. The 'music of language' and of languages is something that has long fascinated me, and I think is one of the key elements of getting under the skin of a language (or an accent) and using it convincingly. It's also something to keep in mind when trying to write attention grabbing essays. On which note . . . .

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