Where can I hear the Boston Brahmin accent?

Anglius   Tue Aug 08, 2006 1:31 am GMT
If there is a perceivable difference, which version is more like Received Pronounciation?
Uriel   Tue Aug 08, 2006 2:11 pm GMT
Locust Valley Lockjaw -- are you talking about the "Thurston Howell" accent on Gilligan's Island?
Guest   Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:38 pm GMT
I believe that that was his accent, and I know that Eleanor Roosevelt was born in the area where it was spoken.
Anglius   Tue Aug 08, 2006 7:56 pm GMT
She did lived in London for several years as an adolescent, but that probably did not significantly influence her accent.
Uriel   Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:35 am GMT
I didn't think anybody really talked like that anymore. They'd get some funny looks from the rest of us if they did -- not exactly a "prestigious" reaction!
mjd   Wed Aug 09, 2006 11:40 am GMT
Thurston Howell's is obviously exaggerated and put on, "Gilligan's Island" being a comedy and all.

John Kerry often lapses into Boston Brahmin (particularly noticeable in his famous Vietnam speech before Congress). William F. Buckley, while from New York, has that kind of "aristocratic" accent as well.
Anglius   Wed Aug 09, 2006 10:27 pm GMT
I appreciate your responses, gentlemen.
C.C. Lodge   Thu Jan 18, 2007 9:57 am GMT
This may be of service to you:

The so-called Boston Brahmin accent and the similar accent of the New York area, within this message board also called the "Locust Valley Lockjaw," are distinct from each other although they share a common origin. There were, at some time, kindred accents spoken in the vicinities of Baltimore and Philadelphia as well. Today, these latter two are probably entirely extinct, while the former two are nearly so.

In television, the best instance of the Boston Brahmin accent is, as previously indicated, that of M*A*S*H*'s Charles Winchester.

Of note, neither any member of the Kennedy family nor John Kerry routinely spoke or speak in this accent. At times, some of these men may affect certain elements of the accent, but the Kennedy speech is actually much more akin to the middle-class accents of Eastern Massachusetts (North and South Shore of Boston accents, the Back Bay of Boston accent, and Cape Cod accents), which, in turn, should not be confused with the working-class accents typical of the era in Dorchester, Roxbury, and South Boston. John Kerry's speech does, in fact, recall the Boston Brahmin accent at points in recordings of the 1970s. The bulk of his speech, even within the same words that are affected in the Boston Brahmin way, is still more alike to standard American pronunciation than any characteristic regional accent.

Regarding the accents used by others, I have labored my best to respond to each previous reference.
- Thurston Howell of Gilligan's Island speaks with an affected accent that is similar to, but not the same as, the Boston Brahmin accent. His accent is an invented one.
- Frasier Crane and Niles Crane speak with invented accents that are significantly unlike the Boston Brahmin accent. This can be established through their lack of key broad vowels and overt rhoticity.
- Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt spoke with the aforementioned "Locust Valley Lockjaw." It should be noted that Franklin Roosevelt, without any doubt, was strongly affected by the Boston Brahmin accent from the time of his studies at Harvard University.

Another good example of the Boston Brahmin accent was the late Senator Leverett Saltonstall.

It is unfortunate, I believe, that so many accents are being confused or mistaken, mainly through the national television media and entertainment industry. With attention to recordings of older speech patterns, however, one may discern authenticity in later speakers.
zzz   Thu Jan 18, 2007 3:48 pm GMT
>> Frasier Crane and Niles Crane speak with invented accents that are significantly unlike the Boston Brahmin accent. This can be established through their lack of key broad vowels and overt rhoticity. <<

Hmm. Frasier and Niles have 2 different accents. I'd say that Niles speaks General American, whereas Fraisier has the accent.
Rick Johnson   Thu Jan 18, 2007 11:25 pm GMT
Rick Johnson   Sat Jan 20, 2007 5:25 pm GMT
Just noticed I wrote something months ago about Trading Places. Watched it again a few weeks ago, the accents are just GA so forget what I originally said.
Brian from Boston   Wed Apr 25, 2007 11:29 pm GMT
Even though actors William Daniels (John Adams in "1776", Dr. Mark Craig on "St. Elsewhere", voice of KITT on "Knight Rider") and Hayden Rorke (Dr. Bellows on "I Dream of Jeannie") were both born in Brooklyn, NY, they had Brahminesque accents. Many of my older relatives (and I, to some extent) sound(ed) just like them.
Heather from the North Sh   Thu Aug 09, 2007 9:12 pm GMT
The best example is Julia Child. Watch her old shows and she has the perfect Boston upper crust accent. She sounds just like my relatives. Only the past generation used this accent, my generation barely sounds similar. Most of this generation has passed away, and listening to Julia brings back waves of nostalgia.

I also agree with William Daniels. I saw him recently when my daughter was watching a rerun of "Boy Meets World" and I had to sit and watch, too, just to listen to his accent.

The perfect place to hear this accent is in Boston, at the Genealogical Society on 99 Newbury Street. Pretend you are researching, but sit with a book near the librarians desk on the 5th floor and listen to the patrons. Most are "of a certain age," the ladies with blue hair and the gentlemen with bow ties. Ask them about their ancestors and they will go on for hours! Your research is complete!
Jasper   Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:53 pm GMT
<<What kind of accent is Frasier supposed to have?>>

Rick, I can answer.

Frasier has the mid-Atlantic accent, which is one of my two favorite American dialect. It was used all the time in Hollywood in the 1930s.

For more information:

Jasper   Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:57 pm GMT
Rick, please read the whole article; all the people above are mentioned in the text.