Saturday, December 12, 2009

American born Premier

The new premier of New South Wales, Kristina Keneally, was born in Las Vegas and grew up in Toledo. Her Grandmother was a war bride from Australia and apparently her mother was born here but Kristina only arrived after meeting and marrying an Australian man she met at World Youth Day in Poland in 1991. She has only lived in Australia for about 10 years. Kristina is the third Premier since the last elections in 2007 as the Labor party struggles to try and win the next election in March 2011. This is very unlikely, whoever is Premier, as they have been in power too long and the State is a mess.

However I thought my readers might be interested in an article about her accent.

WE SAY "tomarto", she says "tomayto", but Kristina Keneally is not about to call the whole thing off.
Piqued by suggestions that voters find her American accent hard to accept, NSW's new Premier has fundamentally changed the ways she speaks, according to Isobel Kirk, one of Australia's top voice coaches.
"She has really changed what she's doing but not in the way you might think," said Ms Kirk,

Ms Kirk studied recordings of Ms Keneally speaking last year, in mid-2009 and after her appointment as Premier. "Strangely enough, the Premier's accent has actually become more American over that time," she said.
"In 2008, she was trying to do an Aussie accent. The 'a' in 'plan' was a short 'a'. She said 'new', not 'noo', and she was sounding out the 'g' on the end of words … which is more Australian."
The pronunciation was Australian but the vocal qualities - the pitch, tone, rhythm and speed - were American. "She spoke fast, with more words to the breath, as Americans often do, and her voice was thinner. The result was a dog's breakfast."

Ms Kirk believes the Premier has since been advised to "lean" on her accent, "to celebrate it, if anything" but change her vocal quality. In later clips, ''You'll find she is actually dragging her 'a' out: it's longer than it was and more American. And she keeps dropping the 'g' off 'openin' and 'good mornin'. But she has also started to speak slower, with more warmth and resonance, which is what Australian women typically do."

Ms Kirk believes voters have "been fooled" into thinking she sounds more Australian but she has relaxed back into her American accent while appropriating quintessential Australian inflections and intonations.

3 comments:

Revd Ivan Ackeroff said...

It hardly matters what her accent sounds like. Being a woman, she shouldn't speak at all in Jensenland.

motheramelia said...

When people (even Canadians) say I sound Canadian I just smile and say I was raised near the border. American accents vary quite a bit. I never leave the "g" off the endings of words and I tend to speak slowly. You should hear (he-ah) the locals. It's funny how one's accent influences what people think about you, your intelligence and whether the like and trust you.

Anatoly said...

Its interesting