Author Topic: Canadian actors playing US parts I  (Read 3603 times)

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Barney girl

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Canadian actors playing US parts I
« on: November 08, 2013, 03:10:00 PM »
I've been reading something about the sic fi series Stargate SG1 and was surprised to realise how many of the actors are Canadian. It's notoriously difficult for the British to tell by someone's accent whether they are Canadian or American, so I was wondering if they are putting on American accents or using their own and also what happens normally in Canadian/US series. Or is that as so much is shot in Vancouver, which is near the border that there is no difference?

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2013, 03:14:14 PM »
There are so many regional accents in Canada and the US.  Generally speaking, a typical Canadian accent sounds like a typical Mid West American accent.  Most of the actors probably try to even out their regional accents - like if they are from the East Coast.

There are a huge number of shows that are filmed in the Vancouver area that end up having a lot of Canadian cast and crew.  Off the top of my head:  all the Stargate ones, Supernatural, Smallville, Beauty and the Beast, Continuum, Sanctuary, Arrow (I think).  And that is just a few.
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cwm

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2013, 03:15:45 PM »
Mostly, it's shot in Vancouver so it doesn't make a difference. Between Canadian English and American English, there's really very little difference. The stereotypical "Canadian" accent is really only on the East coast, Labrador and Newfoundland, if I'm remembering correctly. I mean, they do have a few words they pronounce slightly differently (sorry being one I can think of that's standard across the country), but for the most part it's the same.

Plus with the number of accents that exist across the United States itself, it's really easy to pass off as American on TV. Most people go for the accent of the midwest, it seems to be the most universally understood and the least accented, if that makes sense.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2013, 03:23:03 PM »
Mostly, it's shot in Vancouver so it doesn't make a difference. Between Canadian English and American English, there's really very little difference. The stereotypical "Canadian" accent is really only on the East coast, Labrador and Newfoundland, if I'm remembering correctly. I mean, they do have a few words they pronounce slightly differently (sorry being one I can think of that's standard across the country), but for the most part it's the same.

Plus with the number of accents that exist across the United States itself, it's really easy to pass off as American on TV. Most people go for the accent of the midwest, it seems to be the most universally understood and the least accented, if that makes sense.

I talk with people in Calgary and Vancouver regularly and travel there every few years. I do think they have a distinct accent, or maybe I'm picking up on a lack of US accent, but I can tell pretty quickly when speaking with a Canadian versus an expat American. But I've never been to eastern Canada nor do I know of anyone from that area. So if that is the typical accent, I'm curious about what it is.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2013, 03:28:17 PM »
Small town vs big city raised makes a difference, too.  I'm a small town girl and a bit of a hick.  Plus, my parents were raised in the Ottawa Valley, which also tends to have its own unique accent.  My Dad was raised in the city so it was quite mild.  My mother, raised in a small town about an hour outside Ottawa?  Not so mild.  Her sister's accent was even more pronounced.  When I visited a friend in California, the mother of one of their friends was just tickled with my 'accent'.  I thought she had an accent!

East coasters tend to have quite a lilt to their speaking, especially Cape Bretoners.  And Newfoundlanders are something else again.  Sometimes, when they get going, I start wondering if we are speaking the same language.   :)
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Thipu1

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2013, 06:42:22 PM »
Unless someone says things like 'oot and aboot',  or sticks 'eh?' at the end of every sentence, I doubt I'd immediately catch that they were Canadian.  Even then, people in the upper Midwest or northern New England speak in a similar way.  The McKenzie Brothers type of speech often crosses the border.

Mannerisms like these would be fairly easy for an actor to drop. 

To be honest, Canadian actors have been so common in the USA that nobody pays much attention.  Lorne Greene, Alex Trebek, and Dan Ackroyd all come readily to mind. I'm sure there are many others I don't even know are Canadian.




Outdoor Girl

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2013, 06:45:26 PM »
Michael J Fox, Sandra Oh are another couple I can think of off the top of my head.
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sparksals

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2013, 12:27:48 AM »
Mostly, it's shot in Vancouver so it doesn't make a difference. Between Canadian English and American English, there's really very little difference. The stereotypical "Canadian" accent is really only on the East coast, Labrador and Newfoundland, if I'm remembering correctly. I mean, they do have a few words they pronounce slightly differently (sorry being one I can think of that's standard across the country), but for the most part it's the same.

Plus with the number of accents that exist across the United States itself, it's really easy to pass off as American on TV. Most people go for the accent of the midwest, it seems to be the most universally understood and the least accented, if that makes sense.

That is not true about the Canadian accent.  Go to almost every province and you will hear different forms of the accent.  Go to almost any State in the USA and you will get a different accent.  Both countries are very regional with accents. 

The reason why There are so many Canadians in US shows filmed in Canada is Canada laws are very strict   .  If filming in Canada, Canadians must be employed in all facets of the production.  I can't remember the percentage but I believe the vast majority must be Canadian.   

Millionaire Maria

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2013, 12:36:50 AM »
Canadian accents I can recognize, not including French, Mennonite, and aboriginal, are: Cape Breton, Nova Scotia mainland and PEI (I personally can't tell the difference between the two), Newfoundland, and southern Alberta. There probably are more, but those are the ones that I know exist for sure.
« Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 02:53:45 AM by Millionaire Maria »
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Danika

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2013, 02:36:27 AM »
I'm a pretty big fan of Stargate SG-1 and when it was on the air, I was actually living in the city where the show was supposed to take place. Once in a while, I'd catch Amanda Tapping or Michael Shanks saying something and I'd immediately think to myself "Oh yeah, they're Canadian! The director should have caught that pronunciation. We wouldn't say it that way in Colorado." But it was rare, actually. So I'd say that they're using their real accents, with the possible exception of making sure to pronounce "out", "couch" and "mom" the (U.S.) American way.

Some of the tipoffs that those two actors are Canadian that come to mind are:
- sorry - the two actors I mentioned above, and some of my cousins who live in Toronto pronounce it "Soe ree" with a long O. Here, it's pronounced "Saw ree."
- project, the noun not the verb. Canadians (again, maybe not all of Canada, but those two actors, and the family I have in Toronto) say "Proe ject" with a long O. Here it is pronounced "praw ject."

But the biggest giveaway is when they use terms that we don't use here in the Western US. I remember Michael Shanks in an interview saying "my bum" when referring to his posterior. We would say "my butt" or "my behind." And in an episode I happened to watch just recently, when Daniel Jackson visited Atlantis, he said "I think I had her in Grade 5." That made me think the script writer was Canadian. Canadians will say "Grade 1, Grade 3, Grade 10" but folks in the U.S. say "First Grade, Third Grade, Sophomore year of high school."
« Last Edit: November 09, 2013, 02:42:06 AM by Danika »

kherbert05

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2013, 04:52:15 AM »
Personally I feel like the Canadian and American regional accents are all part of the same continuum but I grew up around a mix of PEI, East Coast Canadian, Quebec, British (By way of Singapore and India), Texas German/Czech, and Houstonian (San Jac HS and Lamar HS feeder area from 1950's, Sharpstown 1970's).
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katycoo

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2013, 05:24:22 AM »
Mostly, it's shot in Vancouver so it doesn't make a difference. Between Canadian English and American English, there's really very little difference. The stereotypical "Canadian" accent is really only on the East coast, Labrador and Newfoundland, if I'm remembering correctly. I mean, they do have a few words they pronounce slightly differently (sorry being one I can think of that's standard across the country), but for the most part it's the same.

Plus with the number of accents that exist across the United States itself, it's really easy to pass off as American on TV. Most people go for the accent of the midwest, it seems to be the most universally understood and the least accented, if that makes sense.

I talk with people in Calgary and Vancouver regularly and travel there every few years. I do think they have a distinct accent, or maybe I'm picking up on a lack of US accent, but I can tell pretty quickly when speaking with a Canadian versus an expat American. But I've never been to eastern Canada nor do I know of anyone from that area. So if that is the typical accent, I'm curious about what it is.

I'd suggest it is a 'lack of USA accent' that you're hearing.  Its like Australian v NZ accent.  I, being Australian, can pick it in seconds but Amercians and others tell me they can't tell the difference.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2013, 08:24:37 AM »
Mostly, it's shot in Vancouver so it doesn't make a difference. Between Canadian English and American English, there's really very little difference. The stereotypical "Canadian" accent is really only on the East coast, Labrador and Newfoundland, if I'm remembering correctly. I mean, they do have a few words they pronounce slightly differently (sorry being one I can think of that's standard across the country), but for the most part it's the same.

Plus with the number of accents that exist across the United States itself, it's really easy to pass off as American on TV. Most people go for the accent of the midwest, it seems to be the most universally understood and the least accented, if that makes sense.

I talk with people in Calgary and Vancouver regularly and travel there every few years. I do think they have a distinct accent, or maybe I'm picking up on a lack of US accent, but I can tell pretty quickly when speaking with a Canadian versus an expat American. But I've never been to eastern Canada nor do I know of anyone from that area. So if that is the typical accent, I'm curious about what it is.

I'd suggest it is a 'lack of USA accent' that you're hearing.  Its like Australian v NZ accent.  I, being Australian, can pick it in seconds but Amercians and others tell me they can't tell the difference.

So I watched a Canadian reality tv show this morning. The sounds I clearly picked up on as highlighting the Canadian accent was words with of or ou and the lilt in their phrasing.

BigBadBetty

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2013, 09:34:57 AM »
I watch a lot of HGTV (Home & Garden TV cable channel in the US). HGTV has some Canadian shows on it. They don't always make it obvious that it is a Canadian show. Houses are fairly similar; everything in priced in dollars, etc. The way I first noticed was one of the hosts said about almost like aboot. However, most of the Canadian hosts don't have that heavy of an accent. I live closer to Ontario than to California, Texas or Florida so maybe that is why I don't hear much of an accent.

Thipu1

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Re: Canadian actors playing US parts I
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2013, 10:46:54 AM »
I think that television and, before it, radio have done a lot to standardize North American English.  News personalities almost all speak in a manner that minimizes regional accents.