June 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm 17 comments

Hello, Internet. I hope you’re having a good week, and spent your Father’s Day doing something fatherly like checking the air in your tires or boning your mom.

OK, point taken, Ziggy, you pathetic little pantsless bastard.

I tried very hard to provide Brad with a nice Father’s Day, and — after a day of sleeping in, blueberry pancakes, and a massive sausage-and-beer rich meal at Hofbrauhas — I think he was quite satisfied.

Thankfully, he left room for some after-dinner tea.

As an update on the last post, I’ve decided to go ahead with the audition. I got the sides I’ll be reading, and it seems I’m going to be auditioning for the part of a young Australian woman. And I’ve been asked to read in dialect.

Can’t wait!

I’ve had a fair amount of dialect training, and will take this opportunity to brag that I can fucking tear it up in a British or Southern American accent, but this will be my first time attempting Australian. I guess chances are slim I’ll be saying something like “shrimp on the barbie,” “This is a knife,” or “No rules, just right.”

I still cannot get over the fact that Outback sells a dessert called “Chocolate Thunder from Down Under.” AND PEOPLE EAT IT.

Much to my surprise, I’ve found that I’m already quite adept at the Australian accent, thanks to the fact that I worked for two Australian bosses for a year back in New York (who pronounced my name GYEull), and I once spent months transcribing interviews with many a heavily-accented Aussie. And — as  I mentioned — I have a nice bit of dialect training to my credit, the most helpful portion of which I completed during my first (and last) semester of grad school. We actually didn’t learn any dialects in particular, just the phonetic alphabet — which, conveniently enough, is like a key for decoding any dialect that uses the Roman alphabet. Hi, I’m a dork who really enjoyed learning this shit.

Also, I’m an asshole who spent a lot of money to repeat sentences like “He has forgotten the carton of hot satin mittens” in a room full of my peers.

The weirdest part of this particular class was having to re-learn the pronunciation of basically every damn sound in the English language. Our goal was to sound as neutral as possible, accent-wise, and to learn how to correctly enunciate our consonants so that we’d totally fucking nail that voiceover audition for Fancy Feast in the future.

Seriously, you guys. Next time you’re watching a commercial for cat food or tampons or whatever the fuck, keep in mind that the actor you’re seeing has probably spent upwards of ten years being trained as a Shakespearean actor. And then weep/mock accordingly.

That class was a total mindfuck in an overthinking-what-you-presume-to-know kind of way. After a lifetime of, you know, SPEAKING ENGLISH, it’s pretty messed up to be told that you (and the entire English-speaking population, basically) produce the “s” sound from the wrong area of your palate. And this results in an entire 90 minute class of listening to the teacher say “sss” and then you saying “sss” in exactly the same manner, only to have her say “Close, but not quite.”

My childhood dream of becoming a king cobra? Dashed to smithereens!

Actually, way at the beginning of the semester, the teacher pulled me aside and asked if I could tape myself reading a few paragraphs from a book. “You have an interesting mix of dialects that I’ve never heard before,” she said.  “It’s very hard to place.” I suppose this should have made me feel exotic or special in some way, but instead I just assumed it was her way of saying “Put that east coast hillbilly shit on record because you are the Eliza fucking Doolittle of Rutgers University, ho!”

The rain in Jersey falls mainly on the turnpike!

Anyway, that class was one of my favorites of all time, even though it gave me the inconvenient habit of becoming SUPREMELY annoyed whenever I hear someone replace an internal “e” with a short “i” sound (“pen” becomes “pin”), and I damn near want to slap a bitch whenever I hear someone pronounce the “t” in “often,” mostly because the individual involved is usually attempting to sound intelligent and well-spoken and GODDAMN IT’S PRONOUNCED “OFFEN!” “OFFEN,” you uppity whore, “OFFEN!”

Perhaps having this particular pet peeve makes ME the uppity whore? Fine, then. I’ll just put on my Uppity Shoes and be done with it.

Another kind of useless piece of information I learned from that class: the “ou” sound in “nourish” is supposed to be identical to the “u” sound in “nut.” Go ahead, say it like that. You sound like you’re on a fancy face cream commercial, don’t you? With goat’s milk and vitamin E nuh-rishing your skin? Fancy!

Anyone still reading?

OK, I’ll mercifully stop the rambling now. I need to go work on this dialect shit anyway.

“Working on this dialect shit” = 27 consecutive viewings of Muriel’s Wedding.

Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!.

GUILT The Old Folks At Home

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. hillary  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:05 pm


    • 2. hillary  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:06 pm

      PS: I’m sorry. You’re not an asshole. Snakes are assholes.

      • 3. jiveturkey  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:10 pm

        AAH! I forgot! But don’t be hatin’ on the snake! He loves you!

        “Hillary! Don’t be mad, baby! Now come over here and give me some sssssssugar.”

  • 4. Gaby  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I loved this post. I never knew the extent people went to to learn dialects, but I come nearly unglued when people pronounce pen as pin, so I found myself nodding in agreement throughout. I’ve heard that the popular newscasters use some sort of weird Midwestern dialect/inflection, so do you think that hottie Brian Williams once went through the snake session? Just curious.

  • 5. Maggie  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Just spent a solid minute saying “nourish” and “nut.” I’ve got to stop procrastinating at work…

  • 6. kristin @ going country  |  June 22, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I loved the one linguistics class I took in college, because I’m a nerd like that too. Also, I’ve been known to explain to more than one person that, no, the Geico gecko does NOT have an Australian accent. It’s Cockney.

    I’m a big hit at parties.

  • 7. kdiddy  |  June 22, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    It’s MAHriel

  • 8. Constantina  |  June 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Apparently everyone can know I’m from upstate NY because we pronounce “button” as “BUH-in.” No commercial work for me!

  • 9. Simon  |  June 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    It was a joyous day for me when I asked the bartender, whilst pretending to be Scottish, to critique my American accent. Then I talked all normal and shit (“I’d like a glass of Florida orange juice” is the most American sounding sentence ever). He then told me that my American accent wasn’t BAD, but that my r’s made me sound almost Irish. However, I could almost pass for an actual American.

    Fir fook’s sake.

  • 10. Simon  |  June 22, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Also, did Leah sign a waiver allowing you to put a photo of her uppity legs on your site? No, I didn’t fucking think so.

  • 11. sweetbird  |  June 22, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I’m going to assume it’s some kind of West Coast thing, because everyone I know pronounces the ‘t’ in often – those who don’t sound like those hillbilly fucks who don’t pronounce the ‘g’ on any word ending in ‘ing.’

    Also, as one of the maligned communication majors I have too often been plagued by the stupid phonetic alphabet. All these years of learning it and I still don’t care.

    Good luck with the Aussie accent!

  • 12. HoST  |  June 23, 2010 at 9:02 am


  • 13. Suniverse  |  June 23, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    O.k., I was done in by the first line of you post, because that was fucking genius. Truly.

    And then you got all interesting and phonetic [and linguistics was so interesting I took 3 classes] and you really nailed it. Or nay-alled it.

  • 14. Amy  |  June 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Hm. When I say nourish like that, I sound like I’m from Brooklyn.

  • 15. Cedar  |  June 24, 2010 at 10:16 am

    Now I want to hear samples of all of your accents. Can’t you post that shit? Attach some audio files…That’s probably a pain in ass along the lines of glitterfying images. Also, AWW! I love Sadie and Brad’s tea party. Little angel cheeks.

  • 16. Sarahviz  |  June 24, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I’m an upstate New Yorker who is now in Boston. I was actually worried that if I had a girl and named her Lydia that everyone in my husband’s family would refer to her as Lydi-er.

    I had 3 boys, so I guess it’s a moot point.

  • 17. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  June 26, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I am also sitting here saying “nuh-rish” over and over. Hmmm. My boyfriend’s daughter says “melk” and “pellow” instead of “milk” and “pillow” and we mock her mercilessly. And in the show I just did, one of the other actors kept saying ek-scape. He was also mocked mercilessly, but still pronounced it that way in every show.


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