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Odds and ends - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Odds and ends
The friendsditto thing: Since I more or less go through every few weeks and re-friend anyone who friends me who doesn't have a username like hpsucks (I really have to stop doing that, though; the old f-list is getting unmanageable), I'm not all that much less careful in f-locked posts than I am in public ones. And private posts tend to just be drafts of things I'm writing. And in the odd case where it actually is private, my life is so bloody boring that I doubt anyone would save it anyway. So, shrug. However, giving one's password to anything away=bad, bad idea. Please don't do it. The service is unnecessary anyway. Just add things you like to memories. And when you search, toggle the little drop down to change what level of security you're looking for in memories.

Question for British friends (or those used to hearing the sort of accent Neville Longbottom would be accustomed to in his rather insulated world): How would a kind of rough northern U.S. accent sound? (Marion in Raiders.) I don't mean as in, "Ugh, ugly!!!!" I mean more along the line of, would it sound clipped? Slurred? Flat? It's hard to hear what stands out about what's, to me, close to my own default accent, if a bit rougher and less heavy on the r's (yes, even as a speaker, I can pick up on the harsh Great Lakes r; when your RL name has two of them close together and it sounds like a cartoon growl--RRRRRR!--it's hard to miss, but I guarantee there are a lot of other things about my accent that are completely invisible to me).

I re-read Stephen King's Insomnia recently, and it's better on a second read-through. It still has places where, as a writer, I was saying, "Oh, come on, King--do you think we missed that you changed your mind about something and didn't bother to go back and edit out the old clues?" But now that I've done a couple of long pieces myself, I'm a lot less annoyed about it, more just... noticing it. But you have to dig an action story where the heroes are both well into their retirements. Also, it closed with an image that I think sums up what I love about Stephen King's books. I don't have it with me, so no quote, but it harks back to a memory Ralph has of waking up in an old barn and seeing sunlight coming in between the slats in dazzling rays, and basically, Lois (his best girl) realizes that no matter how dark it seemed, there was always light all around and ready to break through with great brilliance at every seam. All of his books just seem to have this profound optimism about them, this notion that darkness is transient. It always surprises me when I read literary criticism of him that dwells on the monsters and bogeymen, and sometimes goes so far as to posit pessimism (because the evil rarely dies completely). It strikes me as very seriously Missing The Point.

Guess that's it for the morning.
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fiatincantatum From: fiatincantatum Date: March 5th, 2005 04:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
Are you on linguaphiles? There've been a lot of posts in the last few days about accents, regionalisms and dialects, you might find it interesting!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 5th, 2005 07:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oo, thanks. Definitely dropped in.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 5th, 2005 08:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
And of course, promptly picked a fight with one of those "OH! TEH E3IL PRESCRIPTIVISTS!" types. G-d, the only thing that makes me crazier than lousy grammar is the fact that people sit around trying to justify it and crying about how those nasty old dead white men made up all these cumbersume RULZ to follow, waah, waah, waah.

Er, sorry. That whole line of argument is a huge pet peeve of mine.
vytresna From: vytresna Date: March 5th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
Ah, so it's THAT Marion. That sounds kind of nifty, actually. Hey, Dumbledore's Grid was a success, why not a weird crossover? I'm beginning to think you're capable of anything.
volandum From: volandum Date: March 5th, 2005 04:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
What is this friendsditto thing?
nymphgalatea From: nymphgalatea Date: March 5th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I'm from Scotland, so I'm kind of qualified to help. I think. Even Northern American tends to sound fairly drawly to me. The "r" noise is a lot more drawn out, and everything in general sounds a lot more...nasal, if you know what I mean.

About Insommnia...I liked that book a whole lot more before the final Dark Tower came out and effectively said "hah, fooled you!" I wanted Ralph to turn up. Or the little bald doctors. But I agree that it does have some of the most gorgeous imagery in the whole of King's back catalogue. In addition to the gorgeous beams of sunlight bit, the description of the town and the people when Ralph first sees the auras stayed with me for a long time. In fact a lot of SK's best stuff comes out when he's describing images: Susan riding over the clifftops or the haze of green and gold in the Maine forest in the Dark Tower. Lovely stuff.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 5th, 2005 07:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hi! I'm from Scotland, so I'm kind of qualified to help. I think. Even Northern American tends to sound fairly drawly to me. The "r" noise is a lot more drawn out, and everything in general sounds a lot more...nasal, if you know what I mean.

Thanks! That's exactly what I mean. Southerners tend to think northerners jabber, and I tend to have to force myself not to finish southern sentences, once I know where they're going... the idea of a northern accent as drawling is definitely new to me, and a good observation.

In fact a lot of SK's best stuff comes out when he's describing images: Susan riding over the clifftops or the haze of green and gold in the Maine forest in the Dark Tower. Lovely stuff.

And what's neat about him is that, while he's known for gore and does, in fact, describe it, his memorable images are almost always beautiful. I don't know what the man is like personally, but his writer-persona strikes me as someone who looks up at the sky every now and then and is just totally gobsmacked at the shade of blue. Like, "Whoa! It's always like that, isn't it?" And the auras were odd at first--very unlike the usual cosmology--but his observation of how absolutely beautiful everyone was, and old Dor's rainbow aura, and the way the auras would twine together... neat. And one of the saddest lines is when Ralph is looking at Ed and thinks of him as a precious Ming vase that had been shattered by a clumsy child.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 5th, 2005 09:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
a lot of the time it sounds as though Americans are questioning everything.

Heh. Not an entirely inaccurate impression. ;)
is_peoples From: is_peoples Date: March 6th, 2005 05:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
delurks I think the difference in the vowels is in the dipthongs. Brits (and other more Anglicized-sounding English speakers) have told me that Americans just go crazy with the vowel-blends. It's most noticable in the short o and a sounds, and it's probably at least part of why other English speakers thing Americans sound twangy. (I also have a theory that it's why so many fake American accents end up sounding southern to me, since the Deep South States, such as Alabama, have the most noticable vowel-stretching.)
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 5th, 2005 09:59 pm (UTC) (Link)
And thanks. I've noticed the nasal tones, too--damned if I can figure out why that should be so. It's darned easy to suddenly sound uber-sophisticated, though--just drop the voice into the chest. The problem is, I have to think about doing it!
nymphgalatea From: nymphgalatea Date: March 6th, 2005 12:30 am (UTC) (Link)
I think the nasal thing is fairly commonly noticed. However the thing about Americans sounding drawly/slow may be an entirely British regional thing. Northern Englanders, especially Yorkshire folk (like Neville) tend to draw their words out a good deal more than say, a Londoner, or someone from Scotlands' Central Belt (Glasgow to Edinburgh), which is where I'm from. (It has been noted by many folk that when a person from Glasgow gets excited the words tend to come out so fast as to be unintelligable to anyone but a fellow Weegie).

If you are indeed going from the few hints we have in canon, which would place Neville firmly in one of the Yorkshire counties, his speech might well be drawn out even slower than your average Americans'.
cornfields From: cornfields Date: March 7th, 2005 09:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always thought the Midwest (where I'm from) has a very flat-sounding accent, much like the landscape... Boring. I lived in Southern Maryland for four years, and they seem to have their own accent weirdness going there. I picked up some of that weirdness, actually, and my sisters love to make fun of me.

For example:

Oil is pronounced like "ohl", one syllable, taking out the pronunciation of the "i" entirely.

Home is pronounced like "hoam"

Phone is pronounced like "foan"

And then there's Baltimore where the residents almost have an Australian-like accent. According to a Baltimore Sun article, they use more dipthongs and tripthongs than in other parts of the country.

Apparently people from Pittsburgh also have an accent all their own, though I can't comment on that. They sound normal there to me.

I love New Englander accents. The name Linda becomes Lindar. Vowels are
all stretched to hell. When we went to Maine on vacation, I just sat back and listened.

Everyone knows what southerners sound like. :)
cornfields From: cornfields Date: March 7th, 2005 09:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
Pay no attention to my blatant mispellings. I am having a bad day at the keyboard.
From: anatomiste Date: March 5th, 2005 10:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
This isn't specifically about northern accents, but rather about American ones in general--my English Grammar prof says that spoken American English contains more varied stress than most British English and other European languages, the effect of which is that Americans can make the impression of being belligerent, intimidating, etc. when they're just trying to be friendly.

We didn't talk about it much in class so I can't explain it any better than that, but there's probably something online about it. I think it is related to what panamdea is saying.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 6th, 2005 02:18 am (UTC) (Link)
the effect of which is that Americans can make the impression of being belligerent, intimidating, etc. when they're just trying to be friendly.

Oh, thanks, that's useful. I'd know that if I thought about it from the reverse--Americans tending to think of British English as sounding cold and distant, forced behavior rather than something learned from the cradle (Tolkien apparently had a hard time convincing an American he met that he actually was speaking the way he'd spoken since childhood and not "doing an accent," which was hard to learn).
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 8th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC) (Link)
Honestly, the super-strident accents and over-emotional stuff freaks me out as well. I was raised in a family where the belief was that the first person in an argument who felt a need to raise his or her voice had already lost, because clearly good arguments had already been used up. ;)
hallie2985 From: hallie2985 Date: March 6th, 2005 04:12 am (UTC) (Link)
By and large I think of the American accent as a kind of 'drawl'. It's difficult; by and large I'd say it's drawn out compared to English, but there are variants. Northern US is much closer to English than Southern US. In fact, I often confuse American English with Irish...

From: laizeohbeets Date: March 6th, 2005 08:45 am (UTC) (Link)
Well, there is one thing to take into account: There are more than one "northern accent" and "southern accent."

A Bostonian and a New Yorker will sound completely different, as will a Georgian, a Tennesseean, and a Texan. Tidewater accents from North Carolina/Virginia sound much more "English" to me than any Northern accent. Northerners, sound to me, a bit nasally and have a sort of clippy drawn-out thing. (I know, that sounds like an oxymoron, but it's the only way I can think to describe it.) I wouldn't call it a drawl, per say, mostly because I'm used to my professors and relatives with their Georgia/Carolina accents, and that is a drawl if ever there was one.

As for the intonation, I think northerners have a tendency to speak a bit... flatter.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 6th, 2005 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's true. Although I'm not sure how well people distinguish between Boston and New York if they're not in the Northeast. The accent in question is kind of indeterminate. She's supposed to be from Chicago, but I'd peg her accent as sounding kind of New Jersey-ish.
gattamelata From: gattamelata Date: March 6th, 2005 12:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
*nods* My private posts are just posts from myself to myself, used for transferring information. I haven't been to frienditto, though, because somepeople do think friends locks mean privacy.

I'm a Kiwi, so I can't help with the accents, sorry. Try thinking of what Neville's accent sounds like, and go with the reverse of that to give an idea.

I've been reading some of the older stuff by Stephen King. I like it, so far... much, much better than some of the more recent books of his I've read.
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