1. Ellipse
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    Ellipse Contributing Member Contributor

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    What kind of accent would a dwarf have?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ellipse, Mar 6, 2011.

    This is a curious thought I had after reading in a completely different thread that someone didn't like how the dwarves in Lord of the Rings movies spoke with a Scottish accent.

    Every fantasy novel I have read where dwarves appear has them speaking with a Scottish accent and saying, "Aye," or "Top o' the morning to ye."

    So if dwarves didn't have Scottish accents, how do you think they would sound?
     
  2. KP Williams
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    KP Williams Contributing Member

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    My internal voice actor tends to judge voices based on the character's background and culture, not his race. Dwarves tend to be rugged people, miners and smiths and such, so I generally imagine them having gruff voices. Accents, though... I'm terrible at placing accents, so I'm not even going to try to describe it.

    I can tell you that I've never once connected the word "dwarf" with the phrase "Top o' the mornin'," though. That's something a gnome or leprechaun would say in my mind. I always imagine them being carefree like that. :D
     
  3. Natbutterflyblue
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    Natbutterflyblue Member

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    I have to second that KP Williams I imagine them not as having a discernible accent but just generally gruff and gravely (pardon the pun).
     
  4. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Definitely a somerset accent (look up Phil Harding or the Wurzels and I've Got a Brand New Combine Harvester). No idea why lol I just imagine dwarves speaking like that.
     
  5. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    'Top o' the morning to ye.' is an Irish colloquialism - maybe when they are depicted this way could have something to do with Scottish and/or Irish folklore 'leprechauns - the little people' come to mind . And both these small countries and their people are often portrayed quaint and the landscapes can be remote and wild.
    Without using a recognizable dialect, try and come up with a convincing unique one of your own - it's not easy, I can't.
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    Apparently Tolkien meant for his dwarves to be based on the Jewish people. *shrugs*

    For the most part, though, Dwarves in folklore and in a lot of typical presentations of them are like small Vikings, so imagining them as Scandinavian is always a safe way to go.
     
  7. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ha ha! As previously mentioned, you're definitely confusing your Scottish and Irish there - and as a Scotsman I would certainly know the difference.

    If anybody in Scotland (other than an Irishman, obviously) walked up to you and said "Top of the morning to ye", he'd be looked at very strangely! ;)
     
  8. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^Lol Halcyon.

    We Scots are not Pirates, Bravehearts, Dwarves, football hooligans (well, not all of us), leprechauns, vikings, drug addled drones (again, not all of us).

    We are unrelentingly stereotyped. Humph. ;)
     
  9. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well some Scots have been pirates, smugglers, bravehearts and vikings :) - there is a heavy Scandinavian influence on parts of Scotland - the Scots language has a lot of words influenced by Norwegian and the vikings (wifie, lassie etc). There are small villages with remnants of language left over from when they didn't want the law and customs to know what they were talking about. Smuggling still happens of a different kind in the fishing villages which is why many of them have a major drug problem.

    Misuse of Scotsmen has probably got more to do with their ability to spread their seed around the world :)
     
  10. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would know! Lol. I'm from Shetland where Norn still influences the dialect - my dialect. Still doesn't make me a viking!

    @Trilby - Leprechauns have zero cultural mythological/relevance in Scotland.
     
  11. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    Depends when the story you are a character in is set. Wouldn't be a Scot in early medieval times either :) May even have used a long boat to attack the shores.

    However I still see Dwarves singing I am a Cider Drinker :)
     
  12. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    It depends on what country the dwarf is from.
     
  13. Ice Queen
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    Ice Queen Senior Member

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    LOL! I think dwarves are imagined as Scottish because they're earthy and hardy and often fiery- which is also how sometimes we are portrayed. I guess it's true of our landscape at least- especially in places like Shetland, as mentioned. At least, from what I remember it.

    My grandparents used to live there, and I remember visiting them a few times when I was young; Shetland was so wild, so free and beautifully harsh. I really love it, actually. I intend on going back there, probably roundabout the time of Up Hellya( which I can't spell haha!) because I'm terribly interested in Viking heritage etc.
     
  14. Halcyon
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    Halcyon Contributing Member Contributor

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    My partner comes from Shetland. Nice place, just not a lot to do! As for Up Helly Aa, Emma would be more of an expert, but isn't it in January? Bad time to visit the old place, I would've thought. Last time I was there was in late May, and it was still unpleasantly chilly!
     
  15. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    Up-Hell-Aa is definitely an enigma of sorts. Invitation only (to the after party halls) and really a tradition put on for the local people.

    I think tourists don't know what to make of it if I'm honest. If they come with expectations they're usually disappointed. It's certainly a drunken festival of shenanigans and tomfoolery. I had a biology exchange teacher from Colorado who came back to school after Up-Helly-Aa (we get a day off school and work in Shetland to nurse hangovers) and sat us down to complain for 15 minutes about the Fesitval. in particular, he moaned about how the 'squads' (there's the Jarl Squad dressed as vikings and lots and lots of squads who dress usually for comical effect) were amateur. Well that's what it IS - it's just amateur men dressing up as vikings, women, telletubbies, Michael Jackson (anything that takes their fancy) and carrying a torch to burn the galley with. He said "Man, I was just thinking, "I could do that" to which I told him he'd dramatically missed the point.

    It is just normal people dressing up for a spectacularly grand scale fire festival - the biggest of its kind in the world. It's not a performance of Shakespearean actors putting on a play. It's for everyone.

    Anyway, enough said.

    @Ice queen - the landscape of Shetland is very barren and wild. With hurricane force winds and 40 ft waves, the coast is a sight to behold. Also at 'simmer dim' - in the summer when it never really gets dark through the night, it's almost spiritually peaceful. Then there's the Northern Lights.... Sigh. I'm homesick.
     
  16. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    The Tolkien Dwarves are from "under the mountain", which subconsciously makes them mountain folk. Another name for the mountain people is "Highlanders", which the Scots are frequently referred to as. If you stop and think about for a bit, its easy to see where many people could make the connection to highland dwarves and mountain folk all sounding stereotypically Scottish.

    However, I failed to notice any of the fantasy Dwarves wearing kilts or belting out a soulful tune on the bagpipes, so I'm not so sure about the Scottish stereotype. At least the fantasy mountain Dwarves weren't patterned after the American mountain men, with raccoon skin caps and Davey Crockett Muskets.

    Also, the "Top o' the morning" line is traditionally Irish, which others have already mentioned.

    I think the Dwarves would have developed their own languages (I say plural because I don't think they would have a universal language, but rather various tribal or clan languages that evolved along with the course of Dwarven history into the kingdoms and nation-states that they may have in the fantasy world (Similar to the evolution of human languages in actual history).

    If you really want to blow some minds...give your Dwarves an African Hutu or Vietnamese accent.
     
  17. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never said they did.

    The op confused Scots and Irish cultures, I was talking about both cultures. Maybe I did not make myself clear enough. I know that 'the little people' are Irish. Tattybogles are Scottish.
     
  18. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^Wow, that's pretty hilarious. I wonder who set the tone for that idea?

    They'd talk in a brutish sort of way, grunting at times to show their agreement or disagreement. It would sound like a deep, low throaty groan. Haha, I'm just guessing though. In my mind's eye, however, that's how I picture them sounding :)
     
  19. Peerie Pict
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    Peerie Pict Contributing Member Contributor

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    ^Sorry Trilby you're right. I don't know how I did that - maybe didn't wake up properly this morning! x
     
  20. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    It takes a big person to say sorry - your the tops.
     
  21. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Dwarfish.

    I'm serious. I wouldn't go much more deep then that. The way we think about dialects and accent is simply "Jamaican", "German" or "Cockney".

    I would try to stay away from sticking to closely to any real world source when choosing expressions and sayings.
     
  22. KillianRussell
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    KillianRussell Contributing Member

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    It's your dwarf give it an accent you can run with , be it Winston Churchill on crack or Rocky Balboa Philadelphian or a displaced Greek with a speech impediment the key is finding a dwarf's voice you hear
     
  23. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    First sentence: Really!?

    Are you joking or did you read that somewhere?
     
  24. guamyankee
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    guamyankee Contributing Member

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    I say buck the trend. Come up with hispanic dwarves, or something else unexpected.
     
  25. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm doing a project on the Hobbit like, right now. Have it open in the other window. :p But I'm studying some other aspects of the novel - my friend I'm doing the project with is researching, among other things, race in Tolkien, and came up with that gem from somewhere in all her research. She just told it to me as a funny anecdote, but I really like the idea and she presumably got it from a legit source considering she's a top grade student and we're in our final year of University. :p

    Think about it - the dwarves in The Hobbit (the first time he writes dwarves) have been exiled from their original home of unimaginable riches, a sort of promised land or something, and go off on their quest to get home. I hear the Jews have this big thing about being moved from place to place by big angry metaphorical dragons... (says the girl with Scots-Jewish ancestry on one side of the family :p)

    (Also have Norwegian on my mother's side, so I'm pretty much covered for folklore and stuff :p)
     

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