Thursday, December 08, 2005

An American in (Ye Olde) Hackney

Americans and Cockneys don't mix so well:

"But the one thing that should trip up American audiences and make Layer Cake [a British gangster movie] a liability in the American market is language. We Americans are extremely particular about consonants. We chew the hell out of our Rs and hack out our Ks like we're trying to dislodge a windpipe obstruction. The Cockney and semi-Cockney characters in Layer Cake pronounce most of their consonants like, well, vowels. They all sound like they've just come from the dentist. The easiest guy to understand is the Serb. (When you see one of these Cockney crime films in a theaters, audience chatter tends to consist entirely of 'What'd he say?') But people watching on DVD can just rewind and listen again. Granted, half the time, listening again doesn't really help, but often it does, and just having the option makes you feel that this recondite mix of class and language - so crucial for these films' verisimilitude but so bloody confusing - is not totally beyond your control."
You just have to respect the apologetic tone of his admission.


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