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"foreign" accent in radio ads in Canada
Thread poster: Vladimir Dubisskiy

Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:19
English to Russian
+ ...
Feb 23, 2005

I believe that it is happening more and more often here in Canada (or it was here before but it was me who has just noticed it):

For instance IKEA (Swedish furniture chain) ahs started doing it's radio ads with "Swedish" accent.

Or (and sometimes it is done really, for no reasons) some other ad-makers put Slavic names in the ads, like "Dimitry" (and that Dimitry sounds with some "foreign" accent as well.

And i wonder (that's why I am posting it here) - does it happen in other countries, or it's, say, a pure Canadian trend reflecting (in some i'd say wicked way) the Canadian principle of multiculturalism?

[Edited at 2005-02-23 19:58]

[Edited at 2005-02-23 19:59]


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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:19
Long live the accents! Feb 24, 2005

Hi Vladimir,
You might want to take a look at (or remember) the thread http://www.proz.com/post/202343, where an opposite effort actually taking place in the US was discussed: TV producers are trying to come up with a "neutral" Spanish in an attempt (futile in the view of many of us) to devoid the language from any recognizable accent.

Funny that the trends in the neighbouring contries are opposite; but then again, as you mention, Canada is known for being a "multicultural mosaic", while the US is supposed to be a "melting pot". In my opinion, accents enrich and colour a language, wether they are local or foreign, and -as much as I like the Canadian accent (if there is one)- I prefer to have a variety (as long as the message is understandable), rather than attempts at uniformity that will most probably fail.

Also, there is a certain charm -depicted in an endless list of movies- to listen to someone speak a language with a foreign accent, and ad producers probably want to tap on this.

[Edited at 2005-02-24 00:55]


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:19
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
i probably was not clear enough Feb 24, 2005

Yes, I love the 'colours' and ethnicity, but those ads have nothing to do with 'real' accents. They simply deliberately speak in some deformed voices, make wrong stresses and use 'foreign' names.

As I said, it has nothing to do with languages and multiculturalism and they accents are 100% 'pseudoforeign' - even a bit annoying (cause, it looks like they think people are stupid or what..).


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Lindsay Sabadosa  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:19
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
There's an ad in the US... Feb 24, 2005

There is an ad for what I think is a local funiture store where they wanted to show the worldwide excitement for their up-coming sale so they have people from around the world saying "the red tag sale." They actually speak in the language of whatever country they represent but your post reminded me of this commercial because the actors are NOT from the country they represent. In the languages that I can judge, they have actually mistranslated their four words, nevermind the HORRIBLE accents and mispronunciation.

Point being, yes, using accents and celebrating diversity is great but make sure that the accent is actually correct!


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luka
Spain
Local time: 01:19
English to Spanish
+ ...
In Spain too Feb 24, 2005

Now in Spanish TV most of the adverts for perfumes don't use a foreign accent, ¡they simply speak in English! They must think it is more glamorous... But for me , personally, it doesn't make sense to hear: Calvin Klein's Eternity for Women, CH12, the new fragance from Carolina Herrera...

It must be the 'globalization'


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Danielle Bercoff, PhD
France
Local time: 01:19
English to French
+ ...
I think it happens in most western countries Feb 24, 2005

I live in france and have seen and heard many adds that "take advantage" of a pseudo foreign accent in order to sell you a product that will seem or taste more like what it should taste or look like (i'm thinking mainly of food and dairy products as i've noticed this trend quite often for coffee brands where they show you some typically italian semi dressed stud speaking with what in the conceivers's mind is an italian accent, or cereal crackers supposedly from sweeden that are advertised by a couple speaking some uptight harsh and angular french - agian, i guess sweedish must sound like that to them, and the list could be long but i shall spare you the details.

i guess anything is licenced in order to sell more and to convince your regular joe and you regular anny that this or that product is exactly the one they need because it is the one that is consumed in some far away exotic country, and it gives them the feeling they are there in some way. advertisers think the masses are stupid, but i think that a lot of people - even very smart people - actually do buy one brand instead of another just because they have seen it on tv and the add makes them dream of some far away country and adventures or romantic places and people they will probably never experience themselves in they existance.

all this to say that it is extremely annoying to hear bad accents to a trained and sensitive ear. but let me turn the question around: would you buy a product that is advertised with a real accent, which you do not understand the full meaning of - don't forget that real accents, "not-adapted" accents can be hard to decifer. it's the same thing that happens with restaurants. if you go to a thai restaurant in the states, you will eat "adapted" thai food, i.e. food that is adapted to the american taste, and if you go to a thai restaurant in paris, the food will be adapted to a french palate, and in either case, it has nothing to do with thai food you eat in thailand. these restaurants wouldn't survive if they didn't adapt their food to local habits, spices, or lack of spices. i think that people who advertise apply the same golden rule: sell american dressed up as what an american regular joe expects an exotic product to look like, to taste like, to sound like.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:19
German to English
+ ...
Germany, too Feb 25, 2005

The commercials for "Uncle Ben's" rice in Germany had the actor speaking German with a heavy fakey American accent.

I also recall an ad for "Pizza Big American" like this. Hello, we don't put corn *or* tuna on our pizza!


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Elizabeth Sumner
Local time: 00:19
Russian to English
+ ...
Do the advertisers ever think this through? Feb 28, 2005

I read this topic with interest - on a slightly different note the following is just as daft.

My sister, an English teacher in Poland, was recently asked to do some advertising for the language school she works at. They thought an English accent would be just the ticket in their radio adverts.

She went on the radio and said and broadcast 'Learn English at XXXX, all teachers are native speakers, great rates, all ages, improve your business English, etc., etc.' Unfortunately, they asked her to do all of this in English ; >

I had to ask the obvious question and, as you might have guessed, few of their intended clients had a clue what she was talking about.

On the plus side, they've asked her to do another advert this month so she can confuse even more people!

Regards,

Elizabeth Sumner


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Vladimir Dubisskiy  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:19
English to Russian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
the very recent ad Feb 28, 2005

Personally, i found feedback very interesting - thak you, guys!

The one of the nost recent examples (here on Canadian TV):

"The Tim Horton's new invention: sandwich and soup together" commercial

Two dudes ("native English speakers") are trying to decide where to go for a snack. Suddenly a (little (very little) old woman has emerged near them, saying with heavy "foreign" accent: "You boys have to have a proper lunch, sandwich and soup together!". The "foreigness" of her speech is in her pronouncing "l-OO-nch" instead of lunch, then some very pronounced 'r-r-r' sound..

Then next moment is shoiwng those dudes enjoying "delicious" combo, and the old little lady approvingly nodding while seating next to them. And it goes under the 'energetic' background tunes of some East European/Jewish/Jipsy's polka/kazachok/'7:40' blend.

The whole commercial looks very stupid (and prob. thus annoying)


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"foreign" accent in radio ads in Canada

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