Proper American English

Why do so many British singers employ a distinctly American accent when they perform?  It’s complicated, but the reasons include market forces:

“Professor Jane Setter, head of English Language and Applied Linguistics at the University of Reading, says that the trend was driven by the popularity of American pop singers.

‘A lot of our modern music is blues, and blues come out of an American tradition. In terms of pop music the British were a little bit behind the States, so they were all copying musicians like Elvis Presley, who was seen as very radical.’

Stars like Lulu and Cliff Richard adopted the accent, with mixed results. ‘Sometimes we get it wrong. Cliff Richard sings ‘ma and pa’ as if they have an ‘r’ on the end – but Americans don’t say it like that. You get this kind of hyper correction.'”

Or maybe American English is more “neutral” than British English:

“Another theory suggests that you simply lose your accent and sound more ‘neutral’ when you sing – and it’s just by chance that that sounds like an American voice.

But Professor Kerswill said it was unusual to hear a singer turning American when singing the National Anthem.

‘Singing with an American accent is very much in. If you go for hip hop you get a blend between the English accent and the American accent. But the national anthem is set apart from other types of singing.'”

Either way, a British singer caught hell for singing “God Save The Queen” with a perceived USian “twang.”

Here’s the proper version:

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This entry was posted in English, ESL, Kultur, Language. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Proper American English

  1. Even back in primary school, I remember singing certain songs with an American TWANG. Weird.

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