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Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film

Stilly River Sage 19 Jan 21 - 01:23 PM
Tattie Bogle 19 Jan 21 - 02:00 PM
robomatic 19 Jan 21 - 03:33 PM
Stilly River Sage 19 Jan 21 - 03:43 PM
robomatic 19 Jan 21 - 05:47 PM
Donuel 19 Jan 21 - 05:59 PM
Joe_F 19 Jan 21 - 06:33 PM
Helen 19 Jan 21 - 06:50 PM
Sandra in Sydney 19 Jan 21 - 08:18 PM
Jack Campin 20 Jan 21 - 09:21 AM
The Sandman 20 Jan 21 - 05:17 PM
Tangledwood 20 Jan 21 - 05:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 20 Jan 21 - 05:57 PM
Allan Conn 20 Jan 21 - 06:08 PM
Helen 20 Jan 21 - 06:22 PM
Helen 20 Jan 21 - 06:28 PM
Allan Conn 20 Jan 21 - 06:37 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Jan 21 - 09:10 AM
Bill D 21 Jan 21 - 10:19 AM
meself 21 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jan 21 - 11:26 AM
Helen 21 Jan 21 - 02:05 PM
Stilly River Sage 21 Jan 21 - 08:53 PM
leeneia 22 Jan 21 - 02:21 PM
mayomick 22 Jan 21 - 03:00 PM
The Sandman 22 Jan 21 - 03:04 PM
Helen 22 Jan 21 - 03:18 PM
robomatic 22 Jan 21 - 06:52 PM
mayomick 23 Jan 21 - 12:13 PM
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Subject: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 01:23 PM

This could easily expand into a larger conversation, but it's starting from a rather annoying commercial that plays on PBS (yes, commercial free, but sponsors of programs get to stick these in before the start of programs). Fidelity has a couple who change their financial plans according to their daughter's family growing.

Here are the particulars from a site that offers a lot of information about TV commercials: https://www.ispot.tv/ad/ZqHs/fidelity-investments-grandparents-song-by-tears-for-fears. I found this on Reddit, where there is a thread called "The Obnoxious Fidelity "change in plans" Couple."

What I find interesting is that the man in here clearly has a British type of accent, not necessarily from the UK, maybe from South Africa or another colonized area. Not American. Yet when you break it down, he only says four words in the whole thing. So how my ear pick this up so quickly is what I've been thinking about. The vowels, I think. He says "Twins" and then later, "Change of plans." That's all.

I started trying to look up the commercial to get the actor's name so I could find where he's from, and that hasn't panned out. The "hive mind" (as WYSIWYG often called Mudcat) can probably suss out the details I can't find.

From here, I will remark that we all have talked about how actors are sometimes known for the accents they master as they take on roles. Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman are the examples that comes to mind now, but there are many. Some not as successful as others. I remember a British program from years ago, about a vet at an exotic zoo at an estate in Britain somewhere. As the series progressed an American vet or marine biologist comes into the plot, and mostly her accent worked, except in one script I think they were talking about something an animal ate and out of her mouth came the words "bottle top." Wow. My head lurched around, realizing this was a British actor doing an American accent. Because in the US, bottle cap is the term. And the way she said it, well, an American actor would have alerted the script folks that the word was wrong.

Okay, enough background. My initial question is about that guy in the commercial - where is he from?


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Tattie Bogle
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 02:00 PM

No idea: not enough words to pin it down, tho' I could understand your suggestion of S African accent.
There was a lot of discussion about Scottish actor, David Tennant's accent in a recent UK TV series about Donald Nielsen (serial killer) with some people thinking it was strange, but others saying he was spot on for someone who had originally come from Fraserburgh in NE Scotland, but then spent a good few years in London, which had sort of "diluted" his accent.
Then I got puzzled by the accent of one of our health advisers who is frequently seen on TV in Scotland, Linda Bauld: it turns out she has spent most of her life in Canada and Scotland, so her accent is a delightful mix of both.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: robomatic
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 03:33 PM

I've heard that commercial enough to be faintly irritated by the 'change in plans' hook. And they use it outside of PBS. I think I've heard it on the elevated commercials for the Sunday talking heads shows, such as Meet The Press. I notice and appreciate accents, but I am not as finely tuned as SRS. Thanks for the commercial web site link.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 03:43 PM

I was an interpretive historian/park ranger at Ellis Island many years ago and lots of immigrants returned with their families once it was opened by the National Park Service. I got a lot of practice listening to accented English!


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: robomatic
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 05:47 PM

I lived in an international house as a student and later with a woman who taught ESL (English as a Second Language). She invited her students over all the time. Plus I've traveled around the States enough to really appreciate U.S. variety. It's my dream to bicycle around U.K. where the accents change by the town!


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Donuel
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 05:59 PM

I once found an app that could identify ones own accent down to the town you were from. It was amazing.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Joe_F
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 06:33 PM

When I was little (1940s), there was a guy on the radio who, if you were brought up in New York City, could pretty near tell you your address.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Helen
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 06:50 PM

The man in the ad looks very vaguely familiar but I couldn't narrow down his accent based on four words. I'm not sure how well this works, but I think Google can do an image search somehow so maybe you could search for his face.

When I was younger the UK TV shows and movies mostly used "the Queen's English", i.e. the received pronunciation. I have heard that actors and TV presenters, regardless of their origins in the UK and their hometown accents, had to speak according to this standard. I think the only real exceptions might have been "character" parts or even OTT caricatured parts.

It wasn't realism but it was easy to understand. Even in early Oz media productions that was mostly the accepted British pronunciation, but now wherever you are from that's the way you speak on TV and film. It's a good change, but ...

As I get older and speech can sometimes be harder to interpret, the interesting UK accents can be difficult for me to understand. Also, e,g, in the TV show Shetland, they often throw in local language words which I have never heard before so as an Aussie I have no chance of understanding that. In the last year or so I have given up the fight and I turn the captions on so that I know what they are saying, even sometimes on Aussie shows just because they talk faster when the pace of the show speeds up.

Ah the perils of ageing.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 19 Jan 21 - 08:18 PM

now that we are Olde Phartes ...

I was in a conversation with a long-time friend recently, we were both masked, me with ma 3-layer mask I'd made, him with a strange mask that made him look like he had a muzzle rather than a human nose, & I couldn't understand him! He is an unaccompanied singer with clear diction, but that mask & my hearing losses ... sigh

I'm sure it was all the fault of his mask as I heard every performer at the concert & every other person I spoke to!

sandra (who doesn't have a TV)


WE NOW RETURN YOU TO YOUR NORMAL PROGRAM


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Jack Campin
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 09:21 AM

There is a neat use of regional dialect variation (and scientific study of it) in the plot of Peter Robinson's first crime novel "Caedmon's Song" (I think it had a different title in the US). The Whitby setting is used very well too - recommended if you've been there for the festival.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: The Sandman
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 05:17 PM

Dublin 4.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Tangledwood
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 05:34 PM

The man hardly says enough to identify but it sounds to me as if he pronounces "plans" more like "plens", which could make him a Kiwi.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 05:57 PM

It's his vowels that help identify the accent. Any idea who he might be? Looking up the person would pretty much solve this riddle.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Allan Conn
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 06:08 PM

Shetland has a dearth of local accents. No Shetlandic dialect and of the main characters only Sandy has a hint of an accent.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Helen
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 06:22 PM

He reminds me a bit of Kevin Corrigan (who played the character Sam Weiss in Fringe TV series) in looks but probably not accent. The guy in the ad doesn't sound like a Kiwi to me, but possibly a British accent?

Google results for this search phrase:

actors in ad for fidelity and change in plans

a result was Jordan Murphy

Trying to find his biographical info is a bit difficult. He appears to be a bit coy about revealing his age or place of birth.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Helen
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 06:28 PM

Allan, it was only in some scenes e.g. when Perez was talking to an old man in a cottage.

On the Jordan Murphy idea, the search for info is complicated by the fact that there is a UK actor of the same name who was born in 1988.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Allan Conn
Date: 20 Jan 21 - 06:37 PM

Yeah I was just talking generally about accents. Rural Scottish accents don't get heard often on TV or in the movies. I don't think I have ever heard someone with my own Borders accent in a drama. Shetland is the same. The actor who plays Sandy is from Shetland. All the other main actors are from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire etc and they all sound like they could be from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Ayrshire etc. There is no attempt to even sound like they come from the Northern Isles. I like the programme but that does kind of let it down a bit.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 09:10 AM

The vowel shift in plans (to plens) is common in lots of accents. It was standard upper class a couple of generations ago (listen to old movies - or Noel Coward) and you still get it in some circles. And you get it in accents in Southern Africa, both South Africa and in places like Botswana.

Accents are fascinating. I'm always puzzled at the way you can hear people talking, and recognise what language they are talking, and even what accent they have. Though there are some ways of talking where I have difficulty recognising either of those. I'vex been in trains where I've heard people talking, and only after a while realised they are native English speakers.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Bill D
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 10:19 AM

I have no idea in that brief commercial about what his accent is.
I do, however, notice in recent years a trend toward the idea that Brit...or Aussie... accents touting some product give it more...ummm status?
The GEICO gecko has been a fixture for years now and there are a few other commercials that I can barely understand.

I have followed several English comedy series for years, but I do turn on closed captions to get all the words.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: meself
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 11:16 AM

I'm reminded of the bit from Flight of the Concords where the two New Zealanders are at a lock-up in New York trying to find their drunken countryman: the desk-sergeant says, "Is he the one who keeps saying, 'Yeh, yeh'?" The one New Zealander says, "That's him!" - the other says, "Wait - that sounds more South African."

Okay, it doesn't work as well in print, but anyway ..........


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 11:26 AM

Helen, the guy you linked to has a different bone structure, but a search on Fidelity has different actors and different commercials. He was in a different one.

Screenshot from CBS on one of the news programs.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Helen
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 02:05 PM

Thanks Maggie. When I tried to pause the video to take an image of him, the Play arrow icon would be covering his face. The only part where he wasn't sitting centre screen, he was at an angle to the camera.

Having said that, I just compared the image from the video with the image from the IMDB page and there are a lot of similarities. The hairline and style, the face shape, the length to width ratio of his face, his chin shape, the style of his beard, his mouth, etc. The IMDB image could be from a while back so there would be changes due to older age.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 21 Jan 21 - 08:53 PM

I had the same problem, but I tried different searches and found that from the Internet Archive, the contents of a news program including the advertisements, a that was the screen grab for that item.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: leeneia
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 02:21 PM

A real actor can do different accents and different voice types, so the identity of the actor in the commercial may tell us nothing about his ethnicity. Recently I was amused to hear Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show sounding just like Donald Trump . Jimmy talked like DT for a couple sentences, then went right back to himself.

Other news: We have been watching Antiques Roadshow on YouTube, but my husband doesn't want to watch British shows. He says he can't understand people.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: mayomick
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 03:00 PM

Dublin 4.


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 03:04 PM

so, two of us have gone for dublin 4


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: Helen
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 03:18 PM

I did a bit of approximate face comparison with the image of the man in the ad and the image from IMDB. I copied both images and then changed the size of one image to approximately the same size as the other and then I did some measuring to see if the dimensions were similar. They are, so I'm fairly convinced it is Jordan Murphy - not the UK actor born in 1988 but the one who comes up in a search for Jordan Murphy (American actor).


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: robomatic
Date: 22 Jan 21 - 06:52 PM

As an admirer of Shaw, I was impressed that the successful musical version of Pygmalion, "My Fair Lady" was created by Americans (and acted by Brits).

In the early days of TV and television shows through the 70s, in my experience, it was more likely to see American actors in English movies and shows acting other than American. They could convince Americans they were acting English, I don't know how convincing they were to the English. Over the past twenty years many English actors have done believable American accents and characters, especially Hugh Laurie, Damian Lewis, Idris Elba, and many female actors as well.

There is also a fun and well done American movie about voice actors and accents: "In a World".


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Subject: RE: Hearing & identifying an accent - TV & Film
From: mayomick
Date: 23 Jan 21 - 12:13 PM

Yes, I think you got it right, Sandman .But it could be one of the other posh Irish accents modelled on the D4 one.


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