The Rain in Spain

In walks a beautiful woman with poise, talent, a sense of humor and a quick wit. She’s tapped for a role in an American television show, packs her bags, gives goodbye kisses and heads to the big time. American fame. International fame.

Hold on!

What did she say? What? No, no, it’s not that she said something dreadful. It’s that she pronounced it dreadfully. Or so it is said.

So it goes for the beautiful Cheryl Cole – a star and sweetheart in her native England – who was chosen as a Judge on Simon Cowell’s The X Factor. She was a judge on the British version and so, I assume, it was logical to invite her to the states. But her presence was nixed before the show started, supposedly, because her accent is too high-country for us Americans to understand or appreciate.

“I don’t care how you treat me. I don’t mind your swearing at me.I shouldn’t mind a black eye; I’ve had one before this. But I won’t be passed over!” ~Eliza Doolittle

Now I don’t know about anyone else, but I love listening to accents from all over the world – and even from within my own country. Besides, who am I to talk about someone else’s accent when I speak Brooklyn? Fuggetaboudit.

Don’t you love the Geico gecko? Didn’t we all watch – and listen hard – to the Harry Potter movies? Weren’t some of the accents a tad thick? Didn’t you have to replay the DVD here and there for clarity? Did you mind? Seriously?

Now, I confess, I wanted to hear the Newcastle accent that cost this young woman a job. I admit, I really have to listen at times but no more so than I had to listen hard to my grandfather’s Sicilian accent. It is what it is. And, in my opinion, it’s not only interesting, it makes the world a little smaller. And I kinda like that.

What about you? Listen to these clips, tell me if you think her accent is too thick for an American audience or if you think there may be another reason this young lady was denied the job.

“The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated.” ~ Eliza Doolittle


8 Responses to The Rain in Spain

  • Good topic! I love hearing regional accents and trying to guess where the person grew up or lives.

    First off, I’ll answer your question. I don’t think Cheryl Cole’s accent was all that hard to understand. However, we watch Secret Diaries of a Call Girl. There are a *lot* of times I can’t understand a word they’re saying, and we have to rewind. I often wish they had subtitles.

    Which brings me to…

    We also watch Swamp People on the History Channel. It is, in fact, my husband’s favorite show. I have to admit, I think that Willie Edwards has it going on in his way. We have made fun of the use of subtitles in Swamp People. My husband and I both grew up in East Texas, about a stone’s throw from the Louisiana border. We don’t have trouble understanding the guys from Swamp People. At all.

    My accent, if you’re curious, is similar to Sookie and Tara on True Blood. The guy who plays Terry Bellefleur actually is from our neck of the woods, and that is how we sound. I can cut back my accent if I concentrate…really hard. Uh, yeah. Moving on. 😀

    One of the best movies we’ve seen recently had actors using such a strong accent, we could barely understand them. The movie was The Town with Ben Affleck. Even though we could barely understand what people were saying, we still loved the movie and got the gist of what was going on.

    Maybe the real reason they wouldn’t let Cheryl Cole come to the US is that they were afraid of her dog peeing everywhere?

  • Ah, subtitles. We’ve been known to use closed captioning at times just to clarify a line. It happens. I just didn’t find this woman’s accent all that difficult to understand.

    A movie where the accents made me work, was The Commitments. Loved the movie though. So much, in fact, that understanding some of the lines and saying them with our own awful Irish accents became part of the enjoyment. 🙂 It’s all what you do with it, I guess.

    Thanks so much for stopping by and for commenting! What fun reading all you had to say.

  • I blogged about this very thing this week–sort of. I was asked why Southern women are always characterized as being strong. I think it’s because of our accent. I think as soon as people hear our accents, they think “redneck,” “hick,” and “uneducated.” As a result, I think we grow a strong backbone early on.
    I LOVE accents. I love trying to pinpoint where that accent is from. A few months ago, at a restaurant in Los Angeles, our waiter’s accent caught my ear. Actually, just one sound–a flat “i” (pronounced identically to the New England “A”:-) I knew immediately he was from Kentucky. I asked, and he confirmed it:-)
    Can’t wait to hear your voice, Deb, to see if you sound in real life the way you do in my mind:-)

  • Her accent didn’t bother me at all. However, her complete inability to hide her thoughts might have been a reason they axed her. She’s more emotional than Paula Abdul – and that’s saying a lot.

    I’m that emotional, too. I certainly wouldn’t want my every reaction filmed while I listen to people sing.

    Anyway – just my .02! Interesting topic.

  • Ah, Pam, I’m almost afraid to let you hear my voice. Remember, I’m Brooklyn born. 🙂 And as for the Kentucky thing… all I can think of is THAT’S WHERE JOHNNY DEPP IS FROM! lol. I’m such a kid sometimes.

  • Christine,

    What a great observation! I did read her emotions but never thought of it as you did. I see how, for a judge, that’s not such a great trait. Though… she is judge on the British version of The X Factor. Hmm. Interesting.

    Paula, however, is so (lovably) loopy that you don’t know what she’s going to say until she says it. And even then… :-/

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting! Great to see you here.

  • This makes my blood boil. Poor Cheryl! I was born and raised in New York and while I don’t say “Fugeddaboutit”, I have been told, to my face, that I sound like Fran Drescher on The Nanny, that I sound un-educated and thuglike, and even had a boss interrupt a staff meeting once so he could school me on the correct pronunciation of “drawing” – complete with a white board diagram.

    Oh, the humanity.

    I went so far as to contact a speech therapist for ‘accent eradication.’ The estimate? In the thousands. Moving on…I decided I am who am. Like your first commenter, I can improve my accent if I concentrate. Since I am frequently asked to record the narration for my company’s product videos, I guess I’m not all that bad :).

    Beautiful blog!

  • I’ve heard you speak Patty and you DON’T sound like The Nanny! Heavens. NOBODY sounds like The Nanny (I can only hope). I can’t believe a boss did that to you. How disgusting. There’s definitely a story – and certainly a blog post – in that. Take your revenge! Make him the villain in your next book! 🙂

    And good for you for accepting yourself as is. That’s a beauty called, ‘individuality’.

    Thanks for coming over and commenting. And thanks for the lovely compliment on my blog. Can never have too many of those.

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