The fake foreign accent

I was watching a movie last night and wondered, for the umpteenth time, why foreign baddies speak English to each other in movies. Why not speak their own language with subtitles?

And in movies like the Book Thief, which is set in Germany with German characters, the English-speaking actors speak with a fake German accent. Why? You know they would really be speaking German to each other, not English with a fake German accent. Why not just speak with their own accents?



Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

4 thoughts

  1. It all comes down to Hollywood standards in my opinion. They often think the audience is too dumb to be able to read subtitles, they think the audience is too dumb, period. There are clever tricks for making the actors speak in English while implying they still speak in their mother tongue. “The Hunt for Red October” comes in mind: the hero starts reading aloud in Russian, the camera zooms in his face, stops briefly, then zooms out and the hero continues reading aloud, this time in English. It would had been more interesting to keep them speaking in Russian, just imagine a whole picture with Sam Neil and Sean Connery and Peter Firth speaking in Russian, just precious!


    1. That is actually a really good idea. To set the scene so you know what nationality the people are and what language they would be speaking. And then let them speak in English with their own accents.

  2. I remember seeing a comic film (sadly I don’t remember the title) set in the Pacific during the Second World War. All the dialogue was in English but when Japanese soldiers spoke to each other there were Japanese sub-titles 😃

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