Speaking like BETTE DAVIS, CARY GRANT or FRASIER on “FRASIER”!
- During the Golden Era of classic Hollywood films, when sound films were first introduced, the silent stars who made the transition to the talkies were given lessons in diction and pronunciation.
WATCH THE NEW VIDEO – SPEAKING TRANS-ATLANTIC
- They were taught what is called the Transatlantic accent. It was the American equivalent to the British Received Pronunciation, or what could be called a “public school accent” or a theatrical trained way of speaking. The accent is also a variation on the Boston Brahmin accent.
The Mid-Atlantic accent, or Transatlantic accent, is a purposefully cultivated accent of English that blends together the most prestigious features of American and British English (specifically Received Pronunciation for the latter).
- Adopted in the early 20th century mostly by American aristocrats and Hollywood actors, it is not a native or regional accent; instead, according to voice and drama professor Dudley Knight, it is an affected set of speech patterns “whose chief quality was that no Americans actually spoke it unless educated to do so”.
Primarily fashionable in the first half of the 20th century, the accent was embraced in private independent preparatory schools, especially by members of the Northeastern upper class, as well as in schools for film and stage acting.
- The accent’s overall use declined following the Second World War. A similar accent that resulted from different historical processes, Canadian dainty, was also known in Canada in the same era. More recently, the term “mid-Atlantic accent” can also refer to any accent with a perceived mixture of both American and British characteristics.
Many people advocate for putting the accent back in use. Bring back speech classes in schools and colleges.
- Why? When you hear millennials, especially females who sound like a cross between a “Valley Girl” and someone scratching a blackboard it’s time for speech lessons.
Some who spoke with a Transatlantic accent or something close to it in the movies-TV: Katherine Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Franklin Roosevelt, William F Buckley (in his own way), Niles and Frasier on “Frasier”, the millionaire on “Gilligan’s Island”, Orson Welles in “Citizen Kane”, Peter Jennings, Vincent Price, Anthony Hopkins, Cary Grant, the Tin Man in “The Wizard of Oz”, Bette Davis, and most British actors who try to sound American (but not, of course, Idris Elba or Hugh Laurie of “House”)