Tom:Urgent Request (Regional Accents)

A.S.C.M.   Thursday, August 21, 2003, 00:43 GMT
Actually, my initials are A.S.C.M. I wrote them wrong above.
wingyellow   Thursday, August 21, 2003, 04:56 GMT
What's the difference between soap opera and sitcom?
The English in Friends is very easy to understand. They speak very clearly. I have some questions concerning this sitcom.

1. They once made jokes at an English lady called Emily because of her accent. Phoebe even said,"It's hard to understand you. The accent." Is it really possible that an American will have certain difficulty in understanding an English person who doesn't speak RP?

2. Does Joey have any Italian accent? Is he really an Italian?

3. Phoebe's brother, Frank, speaks with a cool accent which is different from other characters. Why?

4. I don't think every American speaks like actors or CNN. On TV, American English is really not as flat as Ryan proclaimed. Why?
Julian   Thursday, August 21, 2003, 06:26 GMT
A soap opera is a drama, usually in serial format, characterized by stock characters, sentimentality, and melodrama (e.g. Dallas, Dynasty, Bold & the Beautiful, etc). A sitcom is a comedic series featuring a regular cast of characters in unusual situations, i.e. misunderstandings or embarrassing coincidences (Reference:

Emily wasn't difficult to understand at all. Phoebe is just an eccentric character who often makes ridiculous and cutting remarks like that. The putdown was either Phoebe's way of excluding Emily from their clique or the writers' exaggerated way of pointing out the differences between Americans and Britons in an attempt at humor. Although it is true we Americans do have difficulty understanding some non- RP British accents.

The character of Joey is an Italian-American from Brooklyn and has a trace of a Brooklynese / Bensonhurst accent, which becomes more pronounced when he says his catch-phrase, "HowYOUdoin'?" The guy who plays him is an Italian-American from Massachussetts.

Phoebe's brother, Frank, is played by Giovanni Ribisi, who is a Los Angeles native...and, might I add, is an acquaintance of mine.

No, not every American speaks like the personalities on television. Those people are trained to be actors or newscasters and usually spend many years taking voice or elocution lessons to sound more appealing to the American audience.

There are many American accents. Some, like the Midwestern accents, do tend to be flat and nasally. But you also have the accents of the deep South, which lilt like notes on a music scale; and the ethnically-influenced East Coast accents of NYC, New Jersey, and Philadelphia, which tend to sound loud, harsh, and forceful.
wingyellow   Thursday, August 21, 2003, 06:57 GMT
No wonder I could understand Emily. There are some British only words, like bugger (kind of the counter part of American Fxxk), bloody, lad.

Do you recommend me to imitate the English in Friends? I want to speak like Joey and Frank. They are cool.