Posted by Robert Dilley on September 14, 1999 at 19:08:29 from geog-rc2006f.lakeheadu.ca:
Having just listened to a copy of the recent BBC version of "Swallows and Amazons", I was struck by the fact that the Amazons were made to speak with distinct (though not strong) Northern accents. I also detected a (less marked) tendency for the Swallows to lapse into bits of Estuary English. Surely not? These were middle-class children, moving in circles of cooks, nannies and public (i.e. private, fee-paying) schools. Today, regional accents may have a degree of chic, but in the 1930s any tendency to adopt the local accent (other than for fun) would have been stamped on firmly (note the recent exchange in these pages about George Owdon's accent). To be fair, I imagine the voices as broadcast would be more acceptable to and accessible by the majority of today's children and may thus attract more to read AR than would a true rendition of a 1930s Public School accent!
On a different but related topic, I have also just been watching "A Voyage with Nancy Blackett" and am intrigued that every time WDMTGTS is mentioned the title is spoken with no stress, in a completely flat voice. I have always read it (and heard it in my mind) as "We didn't MEAN to go to sea": i.e. "Yes, we did go to sea, but we didn't MEAN to". The title, after all, comes from Susan's outburst to her father in the cabin of the Goblin when they meet in Flushing, and when she is defending herself against her own feelings of having broken her promise. How do other people read the title?
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