Monday, January 23, 2012

Celebrities Who Think They Are British

One of my pet peeves are American celebrities who suddenly think they are British. All they have to do is spend a week in London or watch a few hours of BBC America and suddenly they start using British terms and think they are all that. Well, Huffington Post has managed to track down the worst offenders and they can be viewed here.


We can start with the newest offender to the list, Johnny Depp.

64 comments:

Cindy said...

I didn't detect an accent there, but then again, he IS from Kentucky, right? And they say Southern accents are the closest to British....

msgirl said...

I didn't catch one either, except maybe the first few words. But I have to say, it's almost natural to speak in an accent when surrounded by those who do.

Princess said...

I would love to be interviewing Madonna when she pulled that shit, then immediately say to her "I'm sorry, weren't you born and raised in Michigan?"

califblondy said...

Johnny isn't the newest to the list, people like him so he gets away with it more than Madge.

Sometimes Johnny's accent isn't even British. I don't know what to call it.

Tempestuous Grape said...

Eh, I think he's just mocking the one that walked off stage.

JisforMe said...

After you live somewhere for long you develop their accent. It just happens. I don't know why everyone gets crap. Move from NY to the south....your accent will change.

Beth said...

I thought Johnny Depp was doing something with his accent at the GG. It was the way he pronounced a few short As. It was more -ah than -a.

Beth said...

JisforMe, what's Johnny's excuse? He's been living in France for a decade.

EmEyeKay said...

The Gillian Anderson clip - what was she doing? It wasn't a weird accent like JD or an affected one a la Madonna, it was straight up British accent.

Seachica said...

I give actors who live in a foreign country a pass on this one. I lived in London for two years and came back with a slight accent and changed vocabulary. 10 years later, and I *still* use some British-isms - "keen on" and the like. Every time I visit friends in the UK, it takes me 10 seconds to start speaking in my slight accent again. It happens when you're surrounded by another accent/language all day.

Himmmm said...

(WHERE do they get these prePOSterous notions??).
Oh BOLLOCKS! Tis a bit of of fudgy from the old bird chapping on we Yanks on holiday from across the pond! In defence of the realm I say let's get right royal pissed; have some fish n chips, turn down the telly, and join your blokes for a round of Rum, Sodomy & The Lash! (God save the Queen!) :-)

PS - Glad no one is slamming American actors playing British roles. You know, because I love Natalie Portman ;-)

mom said...

It doesn't sound British to me and I'm English.

Shay said...

My grandmother is from the south, and after 5mins of talking to her all of the sudden I'm speaking with the same drawl as she is...LOL

RenoBlondee said...

^LOL
I thought Johnny definetly had a British thang goin' on in that clip. Agree it's only natural if you're around it though.
I refuse to believe I have any southern accent at all, but after being here in NC for 10 years my hubby says I say certain words with that accent and it KILLS me, lol.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a hodge-podge of inflections to me: American Southern, British dandy, vague European. Plus, JD sort of mumbles, causing his words to mush together. So there's a lot going on there. Nothing particularly offensive.

Emi said...

Although Gillian Anderson lived some years as a child in London and has been living for some more now, she does sound titally fake.

RocketQueen said...

I wouldn't call this an English accent, but my bf, who's a huge Depp fan, turned to me after this segment on the GG and said, "Why is he talking like that?" There's definitely some sort of annoying affectation going on now.

.robert said...

Gillian Anderson actually adopted an American accent as she spent he childhood in England.

MizCaramel said...

I detected some accent but I wouldn't say English, but then again I'm no expert.

BigMama said...

I live in the south now, to the locals I sound like a Yankee to my northern friends I sound like a complete hick (not sure that is because of an accent, come to think of it)

Johnny Depp could hop up on stage and start speaking like a Muppet and I would find it adorable, can't help it. He gives me the tingles in my naughty bits. :)

old ;ady said...

I am from the same town in Michigan that Gillian Anderson is. She lived near my sister and nephew for years.

selenakyle said...

I've lived in southeast VA and northeast NC and have my whole life, and you can really tell!

BUT when I've had to spend a couple/few days immersed in "up north-speak" with some of my NY, PA, DE and NJ clients, dang if I don't start sounding Yankee as hell!

Clients constantly ask me "where are you from?" because it comes and goes so easily.

So I can see if someone lives for long stretches in any European country, that some of it will automatically rub off.

Maja With a J said...

*sigh* Et tu, Gillian Anderson.

I actually can't pick on these people no matter how much I want to, because I do the same thing. I pick up the accent wherever I go. I try not to, because it sounds so DUMB, but I CAN'T STOP MYSELF.

BigMama said...

maja - I was a military brat, I have noticed that people with that background are particularly adept at picking up accents. Having said that, I have a niece who started singing and speaking with a british accent when she was 4 after watching Mary Poppins. Funny as hell.

Anonymous said...

In defense of them all, my father is Irish and,moved here in the 1960s. My mom is from Charleston, South Carolina. I live in Texas. Depending on the day, the company and my,mood I either sound like a proper Irish lassie, Scarlett O'Hara, a television broadcaster with the no where american accent or where are you from again? i get faint southern the most

BigMama said...

@Kimberly - that's hilarious!

Himmmm said...

SELENAKYLE:
I'm sure you (and everyone) know this joke, but your comment reminded me:

A southern woman was in line waiting at the checkout counter, when she overheard the woman in front of her speking in a strong Yankee snobby accent. In her genteel way, the southerner said:
"Oh hey yall! Where yall from?"

The snobby Yankee says curtly:
"Where I am from we don't end a sentence with a preposition."
The southern lady smiles big and says:
"Excuse me then...where ya'll from, BITCH??".

Sylvia said...

Didn't Madonna start her phoney English accent when she moved to England?

mingreader said...

While living in Nashville they called me a Yankee and when back to the Midwest they asked where I was from. I think some people just pick it up. Johnny can do no wrong in my book:)

Anonymous said...

How come Madonna gets shit on (check last week's Elton John/Madonna post) but Johnny gets a pass? There was definite pretention in that accent.

My mom is from Newfoundland. When she comes back home after spending a couple of weeks there, it takes her a bit to lose the accent/

Bleu said...

One of my roommates in colleges went overseas for ONE SEMESTER and came back sounding like one of the Young Onces or soemthing -- it's never the hoity toity English accents these people appropriate, it's always the hackneyed low-class bar brawl ones for some reason.

Róisín|nísióR said...

Born and raised in Ireland and moved to Boston last year and everyone thinks I sound Canadian. I'm no one to judge on accents.

crila16 said...

I totally didn't catch any British accent at all. I actually thought he was very well spoken and literate. Now...Madonna, Lady Gaga and Gwyneth...now they're ridiculous.

Pookie said...

wth, johhn depp. =O

but from that huffpo link....eeek, gillian anderson is the worst offender.

ForSure said...

My mother is English, moved to the US in 1971. Never lost her accent right up to the day she died.

My family moved to England when I was 6 months old and moved back to the states when I was 4. I spoke with an accent for almost a year in California, then lost it shortly after I started kindergarten and was surrounded by other children. To this day, people in California ask me if I am from the East Coast because I enunciate words more cleanly than most native So Cal residents.

But I still think Madonna's accent is completely fake and put on.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Well, if an English person (Mom, above) doesn't think it's an English accent then it isn't. Like JD could do anything wrong, heavens.

figgy said...

Some people who are good at foreign languages pick up accents very quickly. I'm one, if I may immodestly say so. I'm almost too afraid to go to England for fear I'd unconsciously start mimicking the accent in a few days.

Sorka8 said...

When I was touring Italy I did my best to speak Italian wherever we went. Then the day came when our guide asked where I was from:

Why?

Because he thought for sure I was an American but I spoke Italian with a Canadian accent!

lilivonshtupp said...

I give Gillian Anderson a pass, because she grew up in England. If she were drunk (she doesn't drink, right?), I imagine she would speak with an English accent. That's my highly scientific test for accents. How one speaks when one is drunk. That is usually the only time you can tell where I grew up.

I sort of give Johnny Depp a pass too, since he's lived in France for most of his adult life. I would give Madonna a pass, but we all heard that accent come out the moment she moved across the pond.

iheartjacksparrow said...

I agree with all those who say you start to imitate the way people are talking around you. I spent a week in England in the mid-80s, and after a day I was saying "brilliant" instead of my usual "awesome." While I was there I visited a friend who had previously lived near me in Los Angeles (she moved to England to be with her British boyfriend), and though she'd only been living in London for six months, she had a full British accent. I do think we are all a bit of a "sponge" when it comes other people's accents and sayings when we are constantly in contact with them.

lilivonshtupp said...

@figgy I remember reading an interview with some classic Hollywood actress (forgot who), and the interviewer asked her about being a good mimic. She said for a long time, she never realized she was, but people would get upset at her for "making fun" of them. She had no idea.

RJ said...

Actors and actresses are just natural mimics. I give them a pass on this. I think we just find Madonna particularly annoying because she is a totally horrible person and everything she does or says grates on our nerves. At least that's how I feel about Madonna.

Jamie 2 said...

Gillian Anderson lived in England from when she was 15 mos to when she was 11; she comes by the accent naturally. My cousin moved his kids (then aged 10-14) from England to the States five years ago. Now, they are "bilingual." They can switch accents at the drop of a hat. They speak in American accents to their schoolmates and English accents to their grandmother.

Madonna, on the other hand, EEK! I'd never heard her trying the accent before. Epic fail.

Johnny doesn't sound English or American to me.

Gwyneth sounds American; I'm not surprised she uses a few Britishisms - her kids and husband do. She's annoying for lots of reasons, but a fake accent ain't one of them.

I haven't seen One Day, but I seem to remember the main criticism being that Hathaway totally screwed up the accent. And she was being paid to act English, not being pretentious.

Amartel said...

It is easy to pick up the accent of whoever you hang around a lot. So I'm somewhat forgiving on this issue. However, people who start using a British or some other foreign accent because they think it makes them better somehow, or sound sophisticated, are (1) annoying and (2) idiots. It just make them sound insecure and they usually do the accent wrong anyway.

Sarah J. MacManus said...

There used to be something called the "Transatlantic Accent" which is a sort of combo of American and UK. It's what actors used to use back in old Hollywood (Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn) era. They were still teaching it in drama schools as late as the 80s and may still be teaching it as far as I know.

old ;ady said...

Guess I'll just start using a English accent. Lived in same town as Gillian and she did not always have a accent. Now I live 45 mins. from where Madonna grew up. Being from Mi. should give me a pass too on it. You are right Gillian does have a right to use one.

C said...

Johnny is not speaking with an English accent. Not any that I've heard anyway. I've lived in England for nearly 7 years now and my American accent is essentially the same, though I have the occasional slip up with vocabularly (like chips and mobile instead of fries and cell phone) when I'm back in the states. It all depends on the person. I have other North American friends whose accents have changed a lot since being over here. There are a couple of them however who actually affect it though deny it like crazy, but it's just so obvious how not real it is. Madonna is definitely one of those people.

chopchop said...

From now on, I want all of you to read my posts with a "Fargo" accent. Cuz, try as I might to lose the accent, that's what I talk like IRL. No hoity-toity talk for me. LOL!

Krystal said...

I completely agree Enty. I'm from Philly and have lived in London for the last 10 years (on and off) and I still sound like a Philly girl through and through. However, I have a few American friends here and you'd think that they were raised in Buckingham Palace. Come on.... *eye roll*

Krystal said...

Oh and I know that I still have my Philly accent b/c if I didn't my American family would crucify me! :)

Maja With a J said...

@lilivonschtupp: I totally get the drunk thing. Most of the time, people can't really hear an accent when I talk, and if they detect a little twang, they never know what it is. But once I've had a couple of cocktails, I sound like a goddamn IKEA commercial.

Maja With a J said...

"START THE CAR! START THE CAAAAAR!!!"

figgy said...

@Fawn Neun, thank you, that answers the question I always have when watching old movies, which is "why are all these Americans speaking with English accents?!"

@lilivonschtupp, you're right, when I'm drunk it becomes clear that I am really from Uzsluristan.

chopchop said...

^^ LOL @figgy

Caprica said...

What i found hilarious was in Girl With the Dragon Tattoo the only real Swedish actor, Daddy Skarsgaard, was the only one without an accent. In fact sometimes he almost sounds southern.

ClaireFrasier said...
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ClaireFrasier said...
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ClaireFrasier said...

If I read "Outlander" too intently, I notice that I *think* in English phrasing... It hasn't made it to my speech yet, thank goodness.

However, if I'm on the phone with an older gentleman, and I think he's going to get upset, then I get a little (sometimes more than a little) more Southern... I've gotten out of being yelled at so many times for that. (I work in Customer Service). Doesn't work with little old ladies, though. :-)

Anonymous said...

Did you ever see that video of the actress who introduces herself in what she believes is 25 different accents? The accent "from Toronto" is hilarious. I don't even know where that's from.

Sherry said...

I think that Johnny has always pretty much sounded this way in his real interviews. And I agree that having lived in Europe for quite some time can probably affect your accent. Also, Johnny is always doing a different accent in every one of his movies. I think people are just more used to Johnny's character voices than to his real voice. The only thing different here in this clip is that they didn't allow him time to Hmmm and Hwww around like he usually does...

Robin the Mad Photographer said...

After spending 8.5 years in Athens, GA, the natives there still thought I was just a damn Yankee (a Jewish damn Yankee at that, because if you come from the northeast and are fat w/dark curly hair and a slightly longish nose, you must be Jewish...ironically, most of the people who thought this were themselves Jewish, which makes me wonder if my mom is right when she says the Celtic peoples were one of the Ten Lost Tribes). However, when I moved back to Boston, people would ask me where I was from, and when I said "New Hampshire," I'd get the strangest looks...then I'd explain that I'd been living in Georgia, and you could damn near see the light bulb snapping on over their heads! (FWIW, not that many people in Boston think I'm Jewish, w/the exception of the Hasid in Coolidge Corner in Brookline who was about to rip into me for being out on the streets shopping at Trader Joe's on Saturday instead of at home/temple, until I politely cut him off & told him I wasn't Jewish, but English/Scottish/Irish/Native American. And people wonder why I joke that I'm an incognito Member of the Tribe...)

When I went to Dallas for a trip a few years later, I found myself wanting to slide into a southern accent, and had to actively fight it, lest I sound ridiculous. I've also found myself wanting to start using a British accent when hanging around w/Brits, so I dare say that if I actually spent some time over there, I could very easily pick up the accent & terminology.

(I still find myself wanting to say "y'all" when talking to a group of people, even though I didn't use it that much in GA, just because it slides over the tongue better and is gender-inclusive. *sigh*)

Robert said...

@chopchop: From now on, I'm going to think of you as chopchop Gundersson!

Karmen said...

I might be too late on this one, but it's really fascinating hearing each of you talk about your dialects and your interpretation of other's. George Mason University has a site I used in college and it was one of my favorite things I did as a linguistics major. It has dialect samples from virtually every region in the US and the around world. Definitely an intriguing time-waster, even if you don't know the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet, not India Pale Ale):

http://accent.gmu.edu/

Lelaina Pierce said...

I lived in SC & NJ most of my life until college, so I definitely "adjusted" my accent where appropriate, but not really on purpose. Like others have said, it's easy to do it and sometimes it's just unintentional.

I think someone else mentioned it not being fair that we knock Madonna (and Goop, for that matter) for doing this and not Depp but I think it's b/c most people like JD and hate Madonna/GP. So, it's easier to snark on them. :)

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