Wednesday, July 25, 2012

quicko: jaws open more? less?

I seem to be told both of these are true of Americans' pronunciation, on a variety of occasions.  Your call.

1 comment:

Laetitia :-) said...

Most other nations open their mouths wider than we do. My father has a demonstration joke where he says, "Australians are the only people who can say a whole sentence without parting their teeth." The 'reason' given is that we're keeping the flies out of our mouths. :-)

Incidentally, when I was in NZ at the beginning of the year I saw one of their "NZ dictionary" type books at a place we were staying. The author said that their accent is partly due to a fashion (!) of the late 1800's / early 1900's to have all their teeth pulled out when they were in their 20s (since by then they'd have lost several already and several more would be going anyway) and have them replaced with false teeth. Since dentistry was not as advanced, they'd have to sort of suck them in when speaking to keep them from falling out so that's how the NZ accent really started. Then, of course, future generations mimicked their parents and the accent continued, even though the physical reason was no longer in play.

As for Aust. vs USA accents, I've heard that it's more to do with where in the mouth the sound is produced (forwards vs backwards - can't remember which is which respectively, sorry) so singers can sound rather different between singing and speaking. Of course, some words (e.g. Isaiah - IsIah (Aust.) vs IsAah (USA)) are just going to be different, regardless.