View Full Version : Competition: Why did Americans talk funnylike in the early 20th century?

03-05-2009, 20:44:41
I posted this on Poly yesterday but no one answered me. :mad:

So here's a competition. WHICH SITE WILL WIN? ANSWER TODAY!


I'm watching more of the World at War, currently focusing on American cowardice circa 1939, and all of the Americans have nasaly, high-pitched voices with an accent that is very rare today among most Americans.

WTF happened?

This has bugged me for years.

The style of speaking has changed, too. Everyone spoke more slowly back then.
It's not the film quality, because the Brits, Germans, Japs, and Russians they interview sound normal. It's only the Americans that sound emasculated, whiney, and a bit British.

Provost Harrison
03-05-2009, 20:52:52
Those gay Americans were all purged by McCarthy...that's why America today is butch, masculine, commie hating and God fearing.

03-05-2009, 20:57:54
That's the leading candidate so far

Provost Harrison
03-05-2009, 20:59:21
Don't worry though, I'll try and think up a better fact before tomorrow morning...

03-05-2009, 21:01:00
Difference between New England dominated US and California dominated US?

I mean culturally.


Provost Harrison
03-05-2009, 21:05:44
It doesn't matter what part of the US you refer to, none of them have any culture :p

The Mad Monk
03-05-2009, 21:09:55
Can you link to some examples?

Provost Harrison
03-05-2009, 21:10:37
No...no, I can't...you've heard of Google haven't you? :p

03-05-2009, 21:10:43

Lazarus and the Gimp
04-05-2009, 08:51:15
Originally posted by Asher

It's not the film quality, because the Brits, Germans, Japs, and Russians they interview sound normal.

Though probably only to a foreigner's ears. There have been massive changes in British accents, with Estuary English largely replacing Received Pronunciation and a host of regional accents and dialects.

04-05-2009, 09:32:21
microphones and microphone pre-amps have changed hugely. that accounts for the nasal sound. british, german, americans from that era all sound nasal.

i don't think canadians had microphones until the 70s.

04-05-2009, 09:37:22
here are some canadians from the 30s


i really like the effect that those microphones have on a big band. really haunting.

Scabrous Birdseed
04-05-2009, 11:41:33
Certainly in Sweden there used to be a distinctive "theatre accent" back then, that was taught at theatre school and that was very nasal. It was thought to project better accross large theatres.

It then ended up in movies and with newscasters too.

04-05-2009, 11:53:17
if you hear recordings of regional accents in the south of the uk they were hugely different from region to region. the television, travel and movies have made accents more uniform. there was definitely a stage/news accent in those days.

the nasal quality is due to high gain ribbon mics which peak at 3 kilohertz and roll off above that. they were pretty much tin cans with aluminium ribbons inside to catch the vibrations and turn them into a signal.

when people do impressions of accents from those days, they have to make their voices sound nasal to match the sound that the microphones captured.

04-05-2009, 12:01:35
The same thing happened in America. You still hear the old accents but with the rise of Hollywood and national TV you found everyone standardizing accents. Mostly to the Californian accent.

04-05-2009, 12:08:51
I think most of the whiney-sounding ones died in North Africa. By the end of the war, there were only HARDMEN.

Protein might have a more correct point, though. I learned something new today. :beer:

04-05-2009, 12:29:09
We need an "Ask Counterglow" forum. We could put Wiki out of business and make The Management rich beyond desire.

Bigfat Stupidhead
04-05-2009, 13:12:38
Prohibition had recently ended, leading to a 10 year drunken stupor for all the real men. Thus, they filmed all the sober gay twats they could find.

05-05-2009, 10:47:43
Sounds like the difference in English people is down toLaz and Protein's two things.

I didn't know about the mics but that makes sense. Received pronunciation fading away is a good thing. IMO

05-05-2009, 12:55:55
We need to talk proper again like.

06-05-2009, 09:47:09
Originally posted by Lurker
We need an "Ask Counterglow" forum. We could put Wiki out of business and make The Management rich beyond desire. Even richer then the Wikipedia guys???? :eek:

06-05-2009, 09:57:36

06-05-2009, 10:02:17
One day everyone will speak mr_G gibberish.
That day we'll reread this thread with a 'flabbergasted smile'.

06-05-2009, 10:10:31
You don't want to be able to understand him. Believe me.

06-05-2009, 10:11:46
I actually gave up a long ago, the day I quickly replied to a work mail with "jesjes" I realized it was dangerous.

06-05-2009, 10:12:17

Sirius Black
06-05-2009, 13:12:13

06-05-2009, 13:29:08
mrgibberish, I like that.

07-05-2009, 11:19:30
I answered a question from my wife with "jes jes" and she asked me if I was planning on learning Dutch.

07-05-2009, 11:20:51
Does your wife lurk here???

07-05-2009, 11:26:13
No, just looks over my shoulder now and then, and goes back to the WoW forums. She may still lurk at TTLG, but I doubt it.

She's seen pictures of you though. Thinks you're cute.

Makes me wonder what she thinks of me. Adonis or Quasimodo.

07-05-2009, 12:07:07
Pictures of me? or my avatar?


07-05-2009, 12:15:11

07-05-2009, 14:02:30
the blonde one