Speak this line out as you read it. Now stop. Do you know why you were saying the words the way you did? Why you paused when you paused and stressed when you did? Accents are such big part of who we are and yet we rarely think about them. I saw an interview on TV this morning with an expert on accents. He is in the process of recording and documenting different accents heard across the UK. These documents will then help actors getting their speech right especially when playing a regional character. The expert mentioned that in his studies, he found that people in the UK trust the Edinburgh accent. Which is why we hear it more in advertisements selling mortgages. How interesting! Apparently, the 'Liverpudlian' and the 'Geordie' (sic) accents, the latter as spoken by Ant and Dec and as heard on Big Brother voice over, were much loved.
Wouldn't it be interesting to carry out such an exercise in India? In Tamilnadu alone we could get a bouquet of accents. Apart from the geographical classification, there might be accents classified along communal lines. Like say, Madras-Brahmin and then Tirunelveli- Brahmin. I wonder if someone has already done such an exercise. I know that in films like 'Virumaandi' and 'Dumm Dumm Dumm', the movie-makers have tried to introduce a way of speaking specific to the area where the story is set. But often the accent ends up a caricature and rarely does justice. It would be great to save the real accents for posterity. In an age when everything is increasingly homogenised, it is well worth preserving a small part of our lives - the way we speak.