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Logistics of Accents (UK to US)



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Thu Aug 15, 2019 7:56 pm
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Elinor says...



Hey YWS,

Not sure if anyone will be able to answer this or point me in the right direction, but.

Say I have a character who, in the main action of the story, is 20 years old. She was born and raised in Liverpool, and lived there until she was fifteen. After that, she moved to Minnesota with her family, and has been in the United States ever since.

What I'm wondering is where her accent would be at this point? Would it still be full British, or would it have Americanized a bit? Would it make a difference if she was born to American or to British parents?

The reason I ask is I'm working at casting an actress to portray her in my feature script. She's American, and from what I understand *can* do a British accent, but doesn't have a lot of experience with them. She's otherwise perfect for the role, and I don't want to have her attempt to do an accent and have it be poor or distracting, but this character living for all or most of her life in Liverpool is intrinsic to her character, but I'd rather my actress focus on bringing the best performance she can. This is something I'll have to work on with her ultimately I think, but I wanted to see if anyone had any thoughts!

Most of the British people who have lived in the US for years that I've spoken to have still had their full accents, but they were adults when they moved and I'm not sure if it would make a difference if someone was still developing.

Thank you!

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Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:23 pm
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SirenCymbaline says...



I think her vowels would be very British, but she might start picking up Americanish consanants, like an American 'r?'
  





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Thu Aug 15, 2019 11:32 pm
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fortis says...



I'm by no means an expert, but by 15, I'm pretty sure an accent is fairly well established. Her accent might be a weird mix, but unless she tried hard to eliminate all traces of her accent, I'd bet quite a lot of it would remain. I bet she'd not use the British terms for things (telly, biscuit, zed, ect.) though, and the more prominent words like aluminum and garage would be more americanized.
Maybe if she grew up with american parents who just happened to live in liverpool it'd be different?
But maybe she got teased for her accent so she tried to make it as american as possible?
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Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:34 pm
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Lava says...



It really depends on how your character can pick up accents and code switch.
Eg: I code switch enough to pass off with a "regular" American accent, and I can switch back immediately when I talk to my friends/fam from home. I know it's not easy for other people. It's as much of Americanized as you want it to be. Some words, I do use my Indian accent, like "can;t". I do know of a person who has lived in the US for over 20 years now, but has a thick Australian accent always.
For a more nuanced application of accents, typically, non white European accents are subject to ridicule in American vs. people will say a "cute French accent", so depending on that dynamic, your character will not feel pressurized to code switch as much.
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Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:49 pm
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Elinor says...



Thanks guys! This is all really helpful.

All our dreams can come true — if we have the courage to pursue them.

-- Walt Disney
  








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