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Old 08-13-2009, 02:43 PM
gwendee gwendee is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Charm City
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Originally Posted by Marley23 View Post
For examples on film ... well, old film, of course ... you could try Margaret Dumont in a Marx Brothers movie. I don't think she sounds like Julia Child but to our ears, it sounds refined and sort of foreign.

I thought of Pheobe Dinsmore, the Diction and Elocution coach in Singin' In the Rain. My grandmother and her sisters, whose family wasn't even close to being as affluent as Child's all had such lessons, along with instrumental and vocal music lessons, and dancing lessons.

We used to have play tea parties and we (my grandmother, great-aunt, sister, and I) all had "great lady" alter egos and we spoke in a similar way. She often shared tips from those lessons, or a recital piece memorized 45 years earlier.

One set of my grandparents grew up with 2 different regional accents. They were very conscious of not wanting to sound like "rubes" or "hicks". They carefully eliminated the accents. They didn't go as far as adopting the Katherine Hepburn speech pattern, but definitely equated their original accents with sounding less refined.

I don't think they arrived at that conclusion without some help from the surrounding culture.