Howl Film

Hallie O'Donovan hallieod at
Thu Aug 23 15:08:30 EDT 2001


>  > Funny, I'd never thought about it until you wrote this, and then had to go
>>  check.  Sophie never says anything that I could find about Howl's having
>>  an accent.  When they go to Wales he talks in a foreign language, which
>>  she recognises as probably being the same as The Saucepan Song, but
>>  nothing else.  I'm far from being an expert (Ania will be here tonight and
>>  can correct me), but everyone I've heard from Wales had a really noticable
>>  accent - rather like a Cork or Kerry accent here.  You'd never fail to
>>  notice one of them.
>I have to disagree a bit Hallie.

Oh well, if you have to, you have to, Ven.  It's good to have you 
back anyway. :)

>I know one guy from Wales who
>speaks in  a rather posh standard english accent, which I suspect
>is as common among the middle classes there as it is everywhere
>else in the UK (which is definitely not to suggest that it's universal).
>I would venture to suggest that when you have encountered Welsh
>people without a conspicuous Welsh accent you just didn't realise
>they were Welsh (when I first knew my friend I assumed his
>parents were incomers to Wales but his mother, at least, is

Of course you're right.  I mean, right that it's a strong 
possibility.  Mine was only negative evidence, which isn't evidence 
at all.

>I suspect Howl isn't quite as posh as my friend but iirc he
>did go to university.

Well, I'm glad you put this in, because otherwise I'd have had to 
disagree with you. :)  Howl does not strike me as posh at all.

>I also  think that he is proficient at code
>switching (sociolinguistics speak for changing speech patterns to
>suit the company). I take the "Megan bach" that Jennifer refers to
>as indicating that his accent has become more Welsh. (it's
>demonstrable that the less formal the speech, the further it drifts
>from the standard and informal speech is usual amongst family).

Umm, but...  If he was sounding more Welsh, it still doesn't explain 
why Sophie doesn't remark on the fact.   It's actually that he calls 
Mari "cariad", rather than Megan "bach",I'm pretty sure - and then 
breaks into Welsh with Mari, while he always speaks English with 
Megan.  Could it be a snobbish thing on *Megan's* part not to be very 
Welsh?  Possibly - going into pure flights of speculation here - that 
came from their family, and Howl's mother was like Megan, and wanted 
the children to sound "refined", rather than Welsh.  (A Dublin joke 
is calling this sounding "rathfeened", from the posh areas Rathgar 
and Rathmmines, and the mispronunciations involved in the attempt.) 
This is all more than a little OTT, but it's fun to think of Howl's 
childhood.  :)  Can't you imagine what a handful he was?


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