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  • Welcome from South Carolina!

    Hello, everyone, I'm a 10th generation yankee whose family is mostly from New England and largely descended (gasp!) from English people. Before you all call me a traitor knave, I do have some Scottish blood. I'm sorry, I can't help my ancestry! But I do have a great love and appreciation for Scottish history and culture. Some friends of mine are forming a traditional folk music group and our first album focuses on Scottish patriotic songs. (I know, were're Yankees, singing Scottish songs, so true Scots will probably think that's a bit painful). Since we are not native Scots, we will never manage a 100% true accent in our songs. But I am hoping to get a few pointers on here. We have been listening to countless recordings by various artists, especially The Corries and Alistair McDonald. I'd like to get some help with pronunciation and accent as we go forward. Thanks for any help, and thank you to the people running this forum for having such a place as this! A friendly welcome also, to whomever may read this, regardless where or who you are.
    . . . . . . But are you free?

  • #2
    Well, this is an American owned site and only a very few of us are actually from Scotland, but welcome

    Can I just say PLEASE don't sing the words with fake-Scots accents! There is NO pan-Scottish accent, we have lots of different accents! I'm from Edinburgh, and even within the city there are slightly differing accents. And don't get me started on Weegies, dundonians and the inhabitants of Furry Boots Toon! Oh and Fifers, Borderers, highlanders, Islanders .... Well, I'm sure you get the point.

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    • #3
      Well, we want to do our best. At the end of the day, we are Americans. Whatever help we can get will result in, I hope, a better sound. We want to fill the role, not copy it, as well as any actor could hope to do. British actor Hugh Laurie has done a good job of assuming an American accent, to the point that some Americans remark that they never would have guessed he was British. If we can strive for that level of attention, that's what we want to do. Maybe we will never get that good, but any help we can get is appreciated.
      . . . . . . But are you free?

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      • #4
        Well, SOME Americans can tell.

        You want an opinion? Just sing in what ever accent you already have. There's nothing worse than some affected and painful sounding gimmick.

        And welcome.


        Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

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        • #5
          Well we could go with some sort of a neutral accent. (as if there is such a thing). We thought of modernizing the words (Scots, who have with Wallace bled, etc.) but I couldn't bring myself to do that. Whatever we do, we are NOT going to lay on a thick, nasty accent. That would be most distasteful. I just want to try to get the vowels and consonants as close as possible. I am sure if we belted it out with our full-blown southern US accent, it would be quite bad.
          . . . . . . But are you free?

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          • #6
            Research has been done about accents, apparently American Southern is fairly close to some Scots pronunciations, which stands to reason. Robert MacNeil (MacNeil / Lehrer Report of PBS News fame) did a lot of investigating into the accents of the US and how they formed. You might find that interesting or helpful . . .


            Come to the Dark Side, we have cookies!

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            • #7
              Thanks, I do find all language and dialect study fascinating.
              . . . . . . But are you free?

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              • #8
                i think if your going to sing any song then you should just sing it in your native tongue...nothing worse that a false accent really.

                getting the words right is the main thing.

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                • #9
                  What if your native tongue is Klingon, huh Tig??

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                  • #10
                    dont knock it till youve tried it mate

                    the kingons will understand

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                    • #11
                      South Carolina, USA accent:

                      "Scahts, whuh hay wi Wolluss blayed, Scahts, whamm Broos hay offin ledd, well-cum tay yore gorey bayed, ore tay vick-ter-eey. Naow's thuh daeey and naow's thuh ow-ur, See thuh frunt uv ba-tul low-wer, cum behold prowd Ed-word's pow-wer, Chains and Slay-vureey."

                      Maine, USA accent:

                      Scotts, whuh hay wi' Wollus bled, Scotts whamm Broos hay offin ledd, wellc'm tay yah gah-ree bed, ah t'a victahree. Now's thuh day and now's thuh owa', see thuh frunt uv battle lou'a, cum behold prowd Edwa'd's powa'-- chaynes and slava'ree."
                      . . . . . . But are you free?

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                      • #12
                        Well, they're neither Scots, that's for sure.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Polwarth View Post
                          Well, they're neither Scots, that's for sure.
                          You got that darn tootin right.

                          So that's why I don't want to use either of my default accents. A generalized American accent would not be much better. (betta, if I'm in Maine). People from England who pay attention to such things say that the New England accent is the most like British English. So you have some of the things like the loss of "r" on the ends of syllables. So we say things like "Thaya's a baya!" "Whaya?" "Ova Thaya." "Ova thaya?" "Ayuh." The "Ayuh" is Maine's signature way of saying "yes."

                          If you take the following sentence and pronounce it by a Mainer (aka, Maina, or Mainiac ) and a South Carolinian, you get some interesting differences.

                          English:

                          I'll wear the red tie with my white shirt, or, if I'm too tired to tie my tie, I'll just wear my polo shirt and sweater.

                          Mainiac: (Mainer)

                          I-ul waya thuh red tie with my white shu't, oah', if I'm too ty'id ta tie my tie, I-ul jest wayah my polo shu't and swettah.

                          South Carolinian:

                          All wayer thuh rayed tah weeith mah whaht shirt, o'er, if a'm too tard t' tah mah tah, all just wayer mah polo shirt an' swayetter.

                          So I don't think it would be a bad idea to simply make an attempt to learn a "soft scottish" to sing. We're not going to lay it on like Gimli or Pippin.
                          . . . . . . But are you free?

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Intergaelica View Post
                            You got that darn tootin right.

                            So that's why I don't want to use either of my default accents. A generalized American accent would not be much better. (betta, if I'm in Maine). People from England who pay attention to such things say that the New England accent is the most like British English. So you have some of the things like the loss of "r" on the ends of syllables. So we say things like "Thaya's a baya!" "Whaya?" "Ova Thaya." "Ova thaya?" "Ayuh." The "Ayuh" is Maine's signature way of saying "yes."

                            If you take the following sentence and pronounce it by a Mainer (aka, Maina, or Mainiac ) and a South Carolinian, you get some interesting differences.

                            English:

                            I'll wear the red tie with my white shirt, or, if I'm too tired to tie my tie, I'll just wear my polo shirt and sweater.

                            Mainiac: (Mainer)

                            I-ul waya thuh red tie with my white shu't, oah', if I'm too ty'id ta tie my tie, I-ul jest wayah my polo shu't and swettah.

                            South Carolinian:

                            All wayer thuh rayed tah weeith mah whaht shirt, o'er, if a'm too tard t' tah mah tah, all just wayer mah polo shirt an' swayetter.

                            So I don't think it would be a bad idea to simply make an attempt to learn a "soft scottish" to sing. We're not going to lay it on like Gimli or Pippin.
                            I'm American and even those descriptions of the accents you posted seem sort of extreme... If you can/have the ability to speak either then shouldn't you also have a toned down middle ground that isn't so stereotypically regional? Like you said, lots of actors use American accents so I'm sure singing a traditional Scottish song in a more neutral American accent wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing...far better than a forced Scottish accent. Just like America, the accents vary so would you be doing the song a disservice by creating your ideal accent to apply to the songs? I dunno.... Just my humble thoughts from an outside POV

                            If you do choose to work on the Scottish accent... Or at least vowel pronunciation, I suggest maybe looking into the region the song originated from to apply the proper sound. Just a thought, but I'm with the other folks on not forcing it.

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                            • #15
                              Yes, I can do a neutral American accent. That's probably my normal. But the other singers are more extreme.

                              We're also up to a good challenge. As I said, I won't lay it on thick like Gimli from the Lord of the Rings. (What Scottish city or area was he from, anyway?)

                              We may end up with a neutral accent, but we intend for it to be unobtrusive. Some of the words of the songs hardly let us go American anyway. No way am I Americanizing the words-- that would be terrible. How can you not say something like "Whaur hae ye been, sae braw land-- whaur hae ye been sae brankie, o?" That totally doesn't translate. It would be an entirely different song. So if I'm doing Scottish words, it wouldn't make sense to Americanize the pronunciation.
                              . . . . . . But are you free?

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