been made of the role played by the dialect coaches in the perpetuation
of the Mummerzet School of Drama, including the implication
that many of these individuals have "caught the wrong bus".
there is a group of people who have, so far, escaped censure
in this debate, although I believe they are at last as culpable
as our current bete noire. I refer, of course, to the scriptwriters.
GENUINE VOICE OF NORFOLK
heard on BBC Radio 4)
Patience Tomlinson is a Friend Of Norfolk Dialect living
and working in London - with proud Norfolk roots.
autumn she put authentic Norfolk on the national stage
when she read some of Mary Mann's harrowing Victorian
stories on BBC Radio 4.
- and the irony in the name won't
be lost on those who have long campaigned for an end to
gross misrepresentation - was born in Brancaster where
her father was rector.
mother still lives in the county at Stanhoe, and Patience
and her family are regular visitors.
us hope this radio series heralds the start of a more
enlightened era when it comes to the Norfolk tongue,"
said Patience, pledging her support for FOND and our growing
band of members.
Let me give
a "for instance". The dialect coach spends an inordinate
amount of the limited time available with a particular teaching
him to say the word "anything" in a Norfolk accent,
because the scriptwriter has decreed that this word will be
the line to be delivered is "I didn't see anything,"
which is taught to the actor as "I din't see anything".
has an automatic propensity to lapse into Mummerzet (you try
anyone in the know would immediately recognise that, in the
context, a true local would invoke the double negative and roundly
inform all who were prepared to listen "I din't see noffin'!".
Thus the line is wrong in both accent and aesthetic sound.
the scriptwriter has forgotten that local speech depends upon
both accent and dialect. The best accent in the world sounds
wrong if the words are not as a local would deliver them.
that there are very few scriptwriters, producing either original
scripts or adpating books etc, for the screen, who actually
take the time to listen to local speech before attempting to
write it for characters to speak.
If a play
is to be set in Norfolk, and the script makes it plain that
is is set in Norfolk, then the words the characters utter should
at the very least be written in the correct dialect.
upon accent alone will not produce an acceptable product.
who was very conscious of this was Arnold Wesker when he wrote
the play Roots. He lived and worked in the county, listened
to the people and wrote as he heard. (Any players who get this
play wrong perhaps should sack the dialect coach!)
But I am
sure he is in a minority among his colleagues, and it is perhaps
time for the likes of the Friends of Norfolk Dialect to redirect
its righteous anger towards scriptwriters as well as dialect
coaches who have misread the destination board.
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