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Old 08-14-2009, 04:02 AM
Starving Artist Starving Artist is offline
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 17,127
Originally Posted by Lemur866 View Post
There used to be an east-coast upper-class accent that has almost completely vanished. William F. Buckley, Katherine Hepburn, FDR, and others are examples.
Not quite. William F. Buckley had nine siblings and none of them spoke with the same accent he had, which was an odd admixture borne of his unusual childhood education. His family lived in Mexico when he was a very young child and Spanish was his first language. (His son has said that Spanish was the chief language used in his father's Manhattan duplex, due in part to the fact that so many of their hired help were Spanish themselves.) Then Buckley spent a short time in Connecticut before moving to France, whereupon French became his second language. He didn't begin formal training in English until he was seven years old and beginning several years of Catholic education in England.

So technically, Spanish was Buckley's first language, French was his second and British English was his third, although his English accent did come to be influenced somewhat by his eventual upper-class life at his parents' home in Sharon, Connecticut. His was a unique and hypnotic accent that was the result of wide and varied educational and environmental experiences rather than one attributable to upper-class, east-coast American life.

All of which stands to make what was his extraordinarily rich vocabulary all the more impressive, IMHO.

Last edited by Starving Artist; 08-14-2009 at 04:07 AM.