It’s the fourth of July, the day once we americans celebrate our nation’s independence from Britain. To celebrate (sort of), i am walking to clock the HBO miniseries John Adams.

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At the moment of the series’ release, ns was intrigued by a quote from actor David Morse, who portrays George Washington. Mentioning the interval he provided for Washington in one interview v The Onion AV Club, the explained:

The accent back then was probably nothing favor what us think of as a southern accent currently or a new England interval now, so we tried to uncover the source of the accents. For Washington, it was a tiny bit the Cornwall, the western country English accent through a trace of farmer.

Here is a quick clip that Morse together Washington (He starts speak at :38).

I enjoy Morse’s accent here, nevertheless of its strict accuracy. He offers us a hint of West nation (particularly those tough r’s), while maintaining the feeling that Washington’s language was component of an earlier step in the evolution of American speech*.

Would there have actually been a West country influence top top the speech of early american Virginia? The concern is somewhat irrelevant, since most of 17th- and also 18th-Century southern England would most likely sound quite ‘West Country’ come a contemporary Englishman. Exterior of east Anglia, rhoticity would have actually been widespread, if the vowel in ‘kite’ would certainly have had actually a much more ‘raised’ pronunciation. Both functions are common of West country English today. And also these attributes were no doubt lugged to the new World.

There is lot of of contemporary evidence the Virginia (or at least parts that Virginia) once had actually something the a ‘brogue’-like accent. Isolated islands turn off the coast still betray the affect of a West-Country like progenitor (note mine earlier conversation of the interval of Tangier Island). Then there is Virginia’s ‘Tidewater raising,’ a comparable situation come Canadian Raising whereby the collection in words prefer ‘mouth’ is raised before voiceless consonants (so the ’bout’ might sound a little like ‘boat’).

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None that this is new, however it’s exciting to check out an actor embrace an accent that reflects this history. I certainly prefer to the ‘Mid-Atlantic’ British-ish speech typical of so plenty of actors portraying Washington!

*I need to really offer credit to John Adams’ language coach, Catherine Charlton.