Letter: Gawd speaks in strange ways - and so do we

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The Independent Online
CHRIS Peachment writes with some contempt ('We have ways of making you talk', Sunday Review, 26 July) of Americans who attempt received pronunciation (or southern British standard). I think that, lately at least, American actors are rather better at British accents than the English at mimicking any sort of speech patterns, other than the one they grew up with. We have a pretty poor record. Remember people like the early Margaret Lockwood doing awful chirpy cockneys?

Mel Gibson, Mr Peachment says, 'sensibly opted for an English accent' when he did Hamlet. In fact, most scholars of language now agree that Shakespearean English was nearer to current American speech than Oxbridge.

The absurdest piece of linguistic naivete, though, is the scorn poured on the 'Brooklyn Jewish' accents used in The Last Temptation of Christ. Is your critic seriously suggesting that Arabic or Hebrew (or whatever tongue was spoken by Christ) 'translates' somehow more faithfully into Rada 'received'.

Obviously, southern British standard is the language that God - or Nature - speaks.

Joe Martin

Bromborough, Wirral

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