John Oliver and Jimmy Fallon Talk Accents

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There are a few instances in this video that relate to or bring up some sort of sociolinguistic/sociocultural linguistic norm or topic, but the main one that sticks out comes up at about 1:00, a minute into the video. John Oliver, who is an English comedian, writer, producer, political commentator, actor, media critic, and television host of the HBO political talk show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. He is asked about his 18-month-old son and whether or not he will have an English accent or not. Oliver goes on for a bit poking fun at American accents after explaining that his son will most likely NOT have an English accent, where he jokingly says, when talking to Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon who has an American Accent, "the way you make words sound hurts my ears", and when explaining how he will speak in a different manner, he again jokingly says he will be speaking "worse". The main example he presents though is at the 1:50 minute mark when talking about the difference between American and English accents and whether it makes it harder to communicate in America. Oliver goes on to explain that for people without an American accent, automated machines are a "real problem". He jokingly makes a comparison in which he says when dealing with automated machine people without American accents are "battered down into submission by the machine until you talk like a sedated John Wayne" after which he does an impression of...a sedated John Wayne, in which he speaks with a stereotypical American accent. This last bit is very interesting because even though he talks about it in joking, light-hearted manner, he brings up strong evidence for people without American accents being "battered down into submission" to not use their accents. In these situations, people without American accents are forced to accommodate their speech and change it to sound more American which also relates to Style-Shifting. To me, there is also a slight bit of globalization too in a similar way to what I just mentioned. It is most likely indirectly but it is pushing towards just a plain American accent to be used.

Posted by Hayden Balduf on May 2, 2017

British English;

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