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Who was the only female to play the character 'M' in the James Bond films?

Dame Judi Dench
Dame Helen Mirren
Dame Edith Evans
Dame Maggie Smith

eei ouae

14
Nov
2012
 

By Miranda

That makes no sense at all, does it? If I'd written 'grtngs YPlyrs', however, you'd have a fair idea of what I was trying to say. And, yes, I left the 'y' in the consonants section because in this case, it's functioning as a consonant, not a vowel.

 

So, simple then, if you're trying to communicate, it's better to include a few consonants.  Or, is it?

 

For singers the vowels are much more important. If you're trying to project your aria to the back of the Met, it's much easier if you're singing a lovely 'ah' than the 'ei' of 'hay', for example. Hence some languages, English not included, being much easier to sing in than others. I have even heard that native French speakers have an advantage in playing the flute.

 

What brought all this to mind?

 

Well, recently I had the privilege of attending a marching out parade at an army establishment. It was a family affair, very moving - these young people looked so young and, as a result of several months of hard training, they also looked amazingly lean.

 

The pageantry and protocols of these occasions are both impressive and, just sometimes, a tad amusing.

 

But what amazed me the most, from a strictly 'words' point of view, was the voice of the sergeant leading the new soldiers.

 

For a start, the sheer volume of his voice was extraordinary. Well, his commands needed to reach not only the parading soldiers but also the band on the far side of the ground. And they most certainly did.

 

But there seemed to be a complete absence of consonants in the commands so that we were hearing 'ahahahahaiaiai' or 'aaouououererer'...

 

Fortunately we had an informed translator to hand. And we stopped giggling when the penny dropped that this actually makes sense. The vowels are easier to project, there's a rhythm to each command that is unmistakable, and, if you're close enough, there's just enough articulation of the consonants for those in the parade to hear, anyway.

 

So, what’s your favourite word for shouting, and, coooeeee...

20 Responses to

eei ouae

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mommyscat said:
November 14, 2012 at 12:54 PM

My husband is always amazed that I can get the dogs to do anything I want if I follow the order with a firm oi. He gives the dogs orders and they look at him as though he was crazy and then continue doing what they were. So I have to say oi is my favourite shout.

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said:
November 14, 2012 at 3:30 PM

Personally I love to walk around with a loud-hailer! But away from school you can't beat a whistle... Can mean anything from a lecherous wolf whistle to a 'get here fast', 'steady as you go' to WTF!

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November 14, 2012 at 6:55 PM

definitely WOOHOO - every time the Sydney Swans score a goal for example ;) mommyscat, my experience with dogs is similar, I use a short,sharp 'ah' instead.

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gracie10 said:
November 14, 2012 at 7:05 PM

Oi is good. I find that talking to dogs in more gravelly tones helps - and if you bark or growl at them they really understand that you are boss! Have had similar experiences to you mommyscat with dogs - they listen to me (well, most of the time). I went to the beach one day, someone was trying to get their dog to sit, I told my dog to sit ... theirs did as well. Quite amusing. Interesting that it is vowels that make most of the difference in accents also - studied phonetics for a while. In Oz we go more for the vowels at the back of the mouth, in other countries, NZ for instance, they form their vowels more at the front of the mouth. Consonants are also different in some accents though - the glottal stops and sounds of some english accents.

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Mojito said:
November 14, 2012 at 11:53 PM

Gracie...I love your 'dog sit' story LOL But as for shouting words, I have none. I was bought up to never raise my voice.

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tiggercat said:
November 15, 2012 at 7:52 AM

Gracie - totally agree about the vowels in accents - I looked after my friend's little boy between the ages of 2 and 4 several days a week - he was the same age as my daughter and great friends. He developed a lovely Scottish accent, and it was mostly the vowels, especially the 'a' in 'Daad' which was so very different to the Aussie 'Dehd'. Didn't last beyond primary school unfortunately (the accent, not the boy!)

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kragzy said:
November 15, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Like Tuscany, I was taught never to raise my voice. However, I have been known to shout loudly at exciting moments when Australia gets one the English at cricket. (And yes, for you cynics out there - cricket is exciting!)

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kragzy said:
November 15, 2012 at 12:55 PM

That should read 'gets one over the English' (which we do often).

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gracie10 said:
November 15, 2012 at 5:47 PM

Tiggercat - interesting how you can acquire an accent. Although born in Oz, after spending 3 years in Malaysia, mostly with Brits, and attending an English primary school, I ended up with an English accent. Came back to Oz and everyone thought I was a new immigrant. What the! I'm sorry Kragzy, but I am one of those cynics. I spent a lot of time watching cricket one summer (whilst simultaneously reading a book). This is because I was painting my house and was keeping myself occupied between applying coats of paint, so basically I consider cricket to be marginally more exciting than watching paint dry :)

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said:
November 15, 2012 at 6:13 PM

The highlights in the news are pretty good but otherwise I concur with Gracie.

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mommyscat said:
November 17, 2012 at 12:27 PM

I had a similar experience Gracie. I was born and raised in Canada, but when in my 20's I lived in Holland and when I moved back to Canada my sisters teased me about having a very strong dutch accent, which I vehemently denied of course.

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said:
November 18, 2012 at 1:57 PM

The variantion of accents within countries amaze me. You can pick the city where a Pom comes from, even American accents vary considerably from place to place, but I wonder if Aussies can be pigeonholed by our accent. Of course we get the Aussie drawl from the Outback but I'm not aware of differences between say Sydney and Melbourne.

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gracie10 said:
November 18, 2012 at 6:17 PM

Jafa, although I do not think there is much difference between Aussie accents on the east coast, there does seem to be a slight difference between eastern states and west aussies - but definitely not as vast as the differences in Pommie land or America. Maybe its because we have such a heterogeneous mix in our origins.

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said:
November 19, 2012 at 8:09 AM

Surely Australians origins are much the same as Americans. I'm thinking that though the colonies of Melbourne and Sydney developed quite separately with competitiveness and jealousy abounding, perhaps the gold rush in the 1850's mixed things up. Doesn't explain the other cities though. Kiwi accents I can hear even after they have been many years in Australia but I can't detect variations in any Australian cities. Any other ideas? Or have visitors to Australia noticed any real differences in accents between Australian cities?

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kragzy said:
November 19, 2012 at 5:54 PM

Jafa, I have never noticed any difference in accents, other than perhaps Sydney-siders (like me) don't speak very clearly compared to the crisper pronunciation of South Australians for example. There are, however, different pronunciations and words. SA'ers tend to say darnce and prarnce whereas we Sydney-siders say danz and pranz will full nasal twang! Victorians refer to the strip of land between your house block and the street as the nature strip, whereas I would call it the verge. There used to be many more differences but they are disappearing - thanks to TV and the sadly all pervasive Americanisation of our language.

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said:
November 20, 2012 at 8:54 AM

You've given me an idea Kragzy. Perhaps we are so aware of the different accents in England and America due to our high exposure to them in TV and movies. A Birmingham accent is indelibly set in my brain after watching hours of my favourite comedian, Jasper Carrot! And I would not be nearly so familiar with a New Yorkers accent if it wasn't for all the sitcoms set there. In Australian TV we don't have sitcoms set in Darwin or Adelaide. If we did perhaps we would be more aware of variations. This goes for other countries as well. I am atuned to only one generalised accent for every other country.

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said:
November 20, 2012 at 8:57 AM

And VERGE Kragzy??? Did you work with the council? :)

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kragzy said:
November 20, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Kath and Kim are definitely based in the great westie suburbs of Sydney. The rising intonation at the end of sentences is a dead give-a-way.

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deeover said:
November 22, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I find all your comments totally amazing. Due to my eduction with a governess overseas, I have learned the "Queens" english and so am quite sensitive to accents and different pronounciations of words. I agree the Australian accent shows very little variation from place to place. The English accent varies so much, due to the lack of travel between areas, which is slowly beginning to change with the younger generation. Americans are similar. Australians, being the outdoor and adventurous nation, are always migrating to new and different pastures, ergo the similarity in accents. These are my observations and not necessary shared by many.

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Robymac said:
November 26, 2012 at 1:41 AM

When I was growing up you could tell from which state a person came by the way they talked. I am told you can always pick Queenslanders as we talk very quickly, South Australians had a middle class English accent, ACT an upper class accent and so it goes on. I have noticed the variations between states has started to disappear probably becasue of TV and the more americanised speech we seem to be developing.