The language of The West Wing

Hythloday   Sunday, November 30, 2003, 23:50 GMT
I can't understand anything anyone says in The West Wing and find it hard to believe that anyone really talks like that in real life. All the characters talk at about 100mph and seem to be just regurgitating endless masses of boring statistics. Do people really talk like that in the States? George (Dubya) Bush certainly doesn't, but is that because he is a moron and has difficulties talking at all?
Ash   Monday, December 01, 2003, 00:05 GMT
It's not because he is a moron it's cause he's from the south with the stigmatization of being stupid that comes with the accent.He just sounds moronic.I've never seen the west wing but people speak differently all across the U.S. Up north,especially in NYC, people speak much faster were the pace of life tends to be faster but the further south the slower it gets with the carictaristic drawl. Life also tends to much slower paced down that way.
Hythloday   Monday, December 01, 2003, 00:40 GMT
Re: "It's not because he is a moron it's cause he's from the south with the stigmatization of being stupid that comes with the accent."

That's interesting. I'm British and can't really tell the difference between most U.S. English accents, so I have no idea of the stigma which Dubya's accent has on the other side of the Atlantic. I think he's stupid (as do an awful lot of people outside of the U.S.), not because of how he says things (i.e. his accent), but because of what he says.
Julian   Monday, December 01, 2003, 00:51 GMT
The people on "West Wing" sound fairly normal to my Californian ears. Of course since it's a show centering around politics and the federal government, they do tend to go on at times with all that boring statistical information.

Ash, not all people from the South speak the way Bush speaks. Bush's speech pattern is punctuated with long pauses, hesitation, and stammering. Bill Clinton's from the South and he was/is rather eloquent in speech. With Bush everytime he pauses, you can tell his brain is working overtime trying to think up words and then trying to string them into cohesive sentences. Our president is none too bright -- he has a limited vocabulary and the lowest I.Q. on record of the last 12 US Presidents.
Ash   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 03:42 GMT
This forom is not to express political views. I never said people from the south were stammerers but that the accent has a stigmatization with it and thats not the only reason why he sounds stupid to people.
Julian   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 05:40 GMT
I never claimed that you said people from the south were stammerers. However, you did say that Bush sounds moronic because of the stigma attached to Southern accents. I was merely refuting your statement by commenting that Bush's halting speech pattern is the reason why he comes across as moronic, and not because of any stigma attached to Southern accents.

If you believe that making a comment on the state of Bush's intelligence is expressing a political view, then I apologize for breaking forum rules.
Ash   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 07:15 GMT
Alot of people I know seem to think that way though. That southern accents sound stupid and that it was part of the reason he sounds stupid.
I respect your opinions on Bush based on other reasons such as what he says or proof of IQ, but I don't think it fair to judge a person stupid based soley on how they sound. Wich is what came across to me when the comments were made.
Ryan   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 08:11 GMT
Most Americans talk faster than the British do. British accents hold many of their vowels for more beats than general American ones. It's why Americans think Brits sound more eloquent and stylish when they speak. Southern accents are not spoken quickly, though, and this is because they glide their vowels, basically diphthongizing them more than northerners do. The "long I" vowel is an exception, of course, which becomes "ah" in southern accents.
Hythloday   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 12:52 GMT
Re: "This forom [sic] is not to express political views. I never said people from the south were stammerers but that the accent has a stigmatization with it and thats [sic] not the only reason why he sounds stupid to people."

Do you not think that accent stigmatization is in any way political?
Ash   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 21:01 GMT
I met your views on Bush
Ash   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 21:03 GMT
Meant* sorry. [sic] ?? whats that?
mjd   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 21:37 GMT
sic.....It means that something is rewritten as it was originally other words, you spelled the word "forum" wrong (you wrote "forom) and in copying your text, Hythloday included your spelling mistake, but wrote [sic] so as to let others know.
Ash   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 21:47 GMT
oh,ok. I didn't think you'd have do that (let peole know) because it was a quote.
Marie   Tuesday, December 02, 2003, 23:55 GMT
The people on the West Wing sound okay to me a lot like the reporters on CNN or Fox.Bush is from Texas he is NOT a moron.I like him a lot.
Alice   Wednesday, December 03, 2003, 04:15 GMT
Most of the West Wing characters do speak unusually quickly, but not to the extent that it sounds strange to most Americans. While there is a stereotype that exists in the US about slow southerners, (meaning that they are both slow in speech and in thought), this is often baseless. My mother is an example, she was raised mostly overseas, but was generally based in the South during her time in America, however, she speaks just as quickly, (if not more so) than the West Wing throng. People speaking to her for the first time are often taken aback by the rapidity of her speech, I, for obvious reasons, have gotten used to it. Bush, however, is another subject alltogether. His accent isn't really what I would think of as Southern, (I think of southern accents as existing in places like Virgina, Georgia, Alabama, the Carolinas, etc), but western or southwestern. Personally, I think this accent is harsh, and not particularly plesant to listen to, but I don't this it's what makes him sound stupid. I think that texans who speak properly are perfectly capable of sounding intelligent, the perception of Bush as stupid comes more from what he says than how he says it.

I think confusion arises for non-americans when americans discuss regional accents, because their labels are not always logical. For example, Florida, though it is the southern-most state, is not generally considered to be a part of "the south". I've teased my roomate from Ohio about being from the Midwest, when actually, Ohio is adheres to Eastern-Standard time, (a fact of which, until recently, I was unaware).

Anyway, the upshot of this post it, while West Wing-ers do speak quickly, it doesn't sound at all abnormal to me.