What kind of (American English) accent is this? Is it an accent or an affectation?

From Blood in the Face, a 1991 documentary about white supremacists. The documentary is both horrifying and hilarious. There are a variety of kooks depicted, explaining their heartfelt racist beliefs with some of the most ridiculous “logic” you’ll ever encounter. At one point, a guy is shown giving a speech to a group of neo-Nazis. That link should go right to it. Warning: while not obscene in the sense of using curse words, he espouses some dehumanizing rhetoric against non-white people that you might not want to play out loud if you’re at work or something, so just, you know, be forewarned.

This guy has a very strange accent/vocal delivery, and that’s what my question is about. It sounds sort of like a very mild English accent, but I don’t think it actually is one. He has a very mannered elocution, like he’s trying hard to sound scholarly. Is he trying to affect a hint of an upper-class English accent for this purpose? Is the way he speaks an actual regional accent from somewhere in America (or Canada?) Or is it some proprietary speech pattern that this whacko made up? I guess what I’m asking is, is it an actual accent, or is it just an affectation?

I don’t hear upper-class English so much as some sort of Irish accent. But that’s all I got. I’ve never heard that sort of accent in the US.

Same here. That is no kind of accent I can tell from anywhere in the U.S.

Of course, there’s no rule that says a white supremacist must be a native-born American.

I think it is an affected german-type accent.

Irish. Rural. Probably the southern half of the country. Middle or upper-middle class. Probably Protestant. But he has spent a good deal of time in the United States.

25:04 when he says “whatever”, 25:10 when he says “I know how prolific they are” and at 25:45 when he says “there won’t be any welfare”, the “r” at the end of those words is not really pronounced, much like a British accent. Or, for that matter, some forms of upper-class East Coast and Southern American accents. This man, whoever the hell he is, does not sound Irish to me in the slightest.

No Irish at all in there that i can detect. Very slight British accent from the south of England. The man has lived in the USA for a very long time and i guess for more than half his formative years.

Not any sort of purely American accent. I agree with several other posters that he was likely from somewhere in the British Isles, but spent a lot of time in the U.S., which had attenuated his accent.

My running partner grew up in Dublin; she moved to the U.S. 25 years ago. To my ears, she still has an Irish accent, though it’s not nearly as thick as I’ve heard when listening to lifelong Irish residents. However, her family (who are still back in Ireland) have told her that, to their ears, she now has an American accent.

I would’ve said a hint of Irish too. Maybe he’s Manx.

I should have added to my earlier post - I am Irish. I hear distinctively Irish vowel sounds in words like “probably”, “other” and “states”. The elision of -r- in words like “welfare” and “are” is what makes me think he may be Protestant, since a slight tendency to non-rhoticity is characteristic of some Anglo-Irish accents. But it could also be a result of long immersion to certain varieties of American English.

He is not Manx. The Manx accent is heavily influenced by Northern English accents - think Liverpool or Lancashire - and I don’t hear that at all.

Definitely Irish, definitely not british, with some USA influences probably from spending a long time in that country.

Someone who’s moved around and maybe reinvented himself, and maybe more than once (not an uncommon pattern at that end of the political spectrum). I’m thinking I might have heard the faintest trace of Canadian “aboat”. But there are odd touches that you sometimes hear in Scandinavians with perfect English.

Unfortunately, the cast list in the IMdB entry for the movie doesn’t seem to turn up a likely candidate - a Canadian fascist leader is listed but he doesn’t look like this particular speaker.

You sure it’s not a colonial accent - perhaps white Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) or Kenyan, with a bit of American?

Definitely Irish.

I am so confused by the people saying he sounds Irish. Granted, I’m not Irish - and I realize there are regional variations of accents in that country - but I do know what an Irish accent generally sounds like, and it doesn’t sound anything like this man. (I cannot figure out who he is - I looked up all the dramatis personae of the documentary and could not find that speaker among them.)

It feels like a bad thing to say, because this guy, whoever he is, clearly has some fucked up views, but - I like the accent. I wish I was hearing it in a different context! This documentary was filmed in 1991. I gotta wonder where this guy is now. He’s wearing some kind of paramilitary uniform that is clearly not “real” - was he a member of a militia?

I also briefly tried the route of searching to figure out the guy’s name but couldn’t. I did come across more than one discussion/review (one from white a supremacists who attended the event and liked the film :eek: a documentary supposed I think to condemn such groups just using their own words) saying the event with the speakers was filmed in 1986, though the movie came out in 1991.

Some of the guy’s vowel sounds sound Irish, others don’t, to me. Less as he goes along. I don’t think you could rule out affectation, grew up partly in different places, somewhere else? I’m NY Irish, and they obviously came from the original Ireland somewhere back in the mists of time (actually the last, one of my great grandmothers, came 150 yrs ago this year) but I’m no expert on Irish Irish accents. :slight_smile:

Whatever it is, I think he is trying to affect some sort of Germanic influenced, pseudo european accent. It’s fake.

Yeah, there are parts that sound very much Irish to me, and others that don’t. There’s also a clip of him speaking at the beginning of the video where I don’t hear as much of the Irish influence. But the clip linked to definitely has Irish vowels strewn about in there. I’m leaning affectation or perhaps spending time in various dialect groups.

I think I can see why maybe people are mistaking it for Irish, there is the odd isolated word that sounds similar to an Irish accent. But it’s definitely not an Irish accent.

I think the accent is a strange mish-mash of things, but this is exacly what I would have guessed. It sounds to me like it was probably originally British-African-colonial, with a strong American overlay. I’d guess he’s a Brit who grew up in colonial Rhodesia or somewhere else in Africa, and has lived in the U.S. for a long time (or is deliberately trying to speak with an American accent).

No, it absolutely definitely is. I am an Irish person living in Ireland and I can assure you this is an Irish accent. There is some overlay of an American accent but it is clear from literally the very first word (“Well”) that he grew up and was educated in Ireland. His accent is very hard to pin down to a specific region because he went to a “good” school but if I had to make a guess I would say he was from a farming background in the southern midlands, and that he went to university in Dublin before emigrating to the US.