February 4, 2016

If only Donald Trump had a British accent...



... he wouldn't just sound different, the meaning would change... to a freakish extent.

(Via Language Log.)

36 comments:

Char Char Binks said...

I'd vote for English Trump.

EDH said...

Reminds me of the time Althouse referred to Trump's "palaver", and I thought she was talking about his hair.

Karen of Texas said...

I think "British Trump" is either going to be viewed as an elitist ass lording it over the common folk if you already despise him or be viewed more favorably and as more reasonable if you don't have a complete hate-on for him.

Bias because of the "package" that's giving voice to the words? I think so. You need to take Trump's face out of the equation - but that is the point, I suppose.

By the way, I like British accents so I found myself simply enjoying the speaking of the words and not necessarily focusing on what message he was conveying. The Cockney turned me right off, though.

Original Mike said...

"... he wouldn't just sound different, the meaning would change... to a freakish extent. "

"You look at what she did with Libya, with Syria. Look at Eygpt. What happened with Eygpt? A total mess."

Still sounds spot-on to me.

madAsHell said...

A British accent.....but could he still be a natural born citizen??

MisterBuddwing said...

"I think 'British Trump' is either going to be viewed as an elitist ass..."

Or "arse."

cubanbob said...

Was it about Americans that when hearing some stupid crap said in a posh, plummy British accent makes it sound smart and sophisticated?

Patrick said...

How does the meaning change?

Bob Boyd said...

If Trump's calculations had led him to run as a Democrat, he'd be stroking the libs where they like to be stroked just like he's doing with conservatives and he'd probably be leading the polls in that race instead.

Ann Althouse said...

"Reminds me of the time Althouse referred to Trump's "palaver", and I thought she was talking about his hair."

I've only reprinted quotes with that word. Have never used it myself on this blog and perhaps never have written or spoken it in my life except in quoting. Just not one of my words. Could see maybe using it in some comic/poetic way.

Anglelyne said...

That'a very clever.

Trump's manner of speech reminds me of that of some of the older men on a branch of my extended family - men who were successful in contracting/construction/development in the big city. It always seemed to me to be an acquired, not a native-born style, since a couple of these Archie Bunkerese-speaking cousins were the sons of upper-middle-class fathers who certainly didn't talk like that (and who weren't too pleased with their offsprings' declassé career choices). It would have been a hoot to hear their speech coming out the other end of the British-izer.

Tom said...

I want to hear him say: "I'd like to hear a fiddle. Can someone fiddle for me?!"

Anglelyne said...

cubanbob: Was it about Americans that when hearing some stupid crap said in a posh, plummy British accent makes it sound smart and sophisticated?

Same thing that makes intelligent things said in a Southern accent sound like stupid crap.

Dan Hossley said...

The BBC has known this for years and NPR has picked it up. No one actually speaks that way, but it effectively conveys the notion that the speaker is reasonable and knowledgeable.

Contrast that to Hillary Clinton's screeching. Yuck.

wildswan said...

Put Bernie through a Southernizer and see how socialism sounds

lgv said...

Hmmm. I like the English accent, but I think it's the wrong British accent. Just like a Jordy accent would not be good, this one is definitely a bit posh. A straight southern English accent would be best.

Virgil Hilts said...

I want to see a version of this with Sarah Palin. Sarah would have done a lot better if her voice and voice mannerisms were not so annoying.

Virgil Hilts said...

I think it would work if you could get Jeremy Clarkson should do a Cyrano number with Trump.

MaxedOutMama said...

I don't think the meaning does change. Perhaps the viewer/auditor's perception of the meaning changes?

Richard Postma said...

Awesome.

Unknown said...

And she was one of the worst Secretaries of State in history. She and Obama have millions of innocents people blood and loves ruined on their hands. Obama may be the most destructive us president in history to innocent humans.

Only dropping the hbomb rivals their policies.

mikee said...

If a British accent on Trump changes his meaning, a French accent would allow him to get away with murder.

sydney said...

I blame Masterpiece Theater.

bgates said...

That's how Donald Trump already sounds to Scott Adams.

Oso Negro said...

They made him an effete homosexual.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Donald Trump used to have a mild British accent. (listen to a very old interview)

holdfast said...

What a palaver
What an absolute treat
To watch a cat and it's father
Pick a bone in the street

One of my favorite songs from Les Mis.

Sammy Finkelman said...

mikee said... 2/4/16, 11:49 AM

If a British accent on Trump changes his meaning, a French accent would allow him to get away with murder.

What accent does Robert Durst have?





Balfegor said...

Expected him to sound like Boris Johnson, was disappointed. Because that's what British Trump would sound like, isn't it? Boris Johnson? Or am I misled by their hair . . .

pdug said...

I want to see someone do this with, getting Julie Andrews to voice-over a Sarah Palin speech

Fritz said...

I've heard that a British accent raises an average Americans assessment of someone's IQ 20 points. It can even be Cockney, since Americans aren't that familiar with the difference.

Freeman Hunt said...

I hugely enjoyed this. Or I enjoyed it immensely. Which one depends on the Trump accent used.

Quaestor said...



It's the hair. They're both blond and more than a bit tonsorially outrageous, though Trump at least is familiar with that modern convenience known as the comb (patent pending).

Here's Johnson pontificating on Trump, mischaracterizing what Trump has said about immigration and also displaying considerable ignorance about his own country's immigration and visa policies.

aritai said...

In 2007 while visiting NZ to investigate their magical 70’s modernization found myself in a conversation with a group of their long discriminated against Maori . They had the most British of accents, and were dressed to the nines. I kept doing double takes which took an effort to suppress as they said the most remarkable things like how their children's education went from the worst in the world to the best when the new government decided it was a human rights violation to tell to parents where they schooled their children. They then dictated that tuition follow the child, and put the parents in charge who then held teachers responsible for product. The failing schools went from bleak and oppressive places to the best of magnet schools attracting students of all races because of their focus on the native arts. All at the direction of their new owners. And they did all this without breaking any contracts. My double take came from not just the accent but appearance. An earlier experience I had in the U.S. researching your schools where the language was Ebonics and pants hung low enough to distract. And they were convinced that no improvement could happen until they had more government charity and more staff to administer what was to become the common core. Very sad. at the time Detroit was collapsing on itself for the lack of an educated workforce and the average worker opening one book a week, and they had closed all their exceptional parish schools. A web search for waynedaniel documents1.pdf has the complete and amusing story:. Mr .Gore’s reinventing government effort was more than prescient. Which isn’t new news. Something similar happened when Warren Harding reduced the size of government by half which created the roaring 20s the growth that made most people rich, lifting all boats to borrow your phrase. The best welfare is a job, only growth can create jobs. Harding's tenure was blemished by the Teapot Dome scandal which paid out government a tiny fraction of today's tax on oil companies, and Google and Apple, and though a man's man, he bedded a small fraction of your Mr. C. Do read the paper or watch the talks given by Maurice McTigue. You’ll laugh and cry at the same time.

Q. said...

From his lip movements, he should have a French accent.

mtrobertslaw said...

If I were Trump, I would run this as a political ad. Humor and content--a good mix.