Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about the Imperial Family and European Royalty => Alexandra Feodorovna => Topic started by: Talya on July 18, 2011, 04:03:41 AM

Title: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 18, 2011, 04:03:41 AM
I know Alexandra had a heavy accent when speaking Russian, but what was it? Lili Dehn states (in massie's N&A) "... I noticed that she spoke Russian with a strong English accent." (on meeting the empress in 1907 @ tsarskoe selo) where other accounts say she had a thick German accent. (I can't remember the name of the book, but I know it was reputable)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on July 18, 2011, 09:16:26 AM
Alexandra's accent was English. English was always her first language.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 18, 2011, 09:33:57 AM
Ah thank you.  In Sophie Buxhoeveden's book Alexandra Feodorovna: Her Life and Tragedy, she states in Chapter Five "The Empress later gained great proficiency in Russian, which she spoke with no foreign accent, but for many years she was timid at starting a conversation in it, fearing to make mistakes." Now, Lili Dehn states this in The Real Tsaritsa, Chapter Two; "... she then chatted to my fiancé, and I noticed that she spoke Russian with a strong English accent." if indeed this is the same Alexandra, how do we explain? If English is indeed her first language, would she not have retained an accent throughout her life? She spoke English quite a bit with her children if I recall correctly.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on July 18, 2011, 09:45:57 AM
Alexandra's Russian became better and better over the years, which is why later in her life she no longer had an English accent when speaking Russian.  She spoke ONLY English with Nicholas and her children at home. Nicholas spoke Russian to his children, but English only with Alexandra.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 18, 2011, 09:55:53 AM
Well, she was a grown woman by the time she married Nicholas, and since she had the English accent for at least a good 15 years,  wouldn't it have stuck? Also, what is the emphasis on the only for? I'm sure she had spoken in English on few other occasions with some people, like the 1890s trip to Great Britain and etc. (I mean she would have done it rarely, not often) and would her English have a Russian accent like Nicholas's? Just wondering.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on July 18, 2011, 10:16:34 AM
You misunderstood.  The emphasis was not the Alexandra spoke English only to her children, rather she only spoke English and no other language when with her children.  Her English was flawless of course, with the same accent as her Grandmother Queen Victoria and her Mother Princess Alice...she spoke English with many people on a daily basis.

Adults can easily learn to speak a foreign language without accent...I speak French nearly fluent, and after just one week in Bordeaux last year, my accent had improved to nearly perfect!
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 18, 2011, 10:27:59 AM
True, my French teacher spoke to us in nothing but French and by the end of the year my language arts teacher was complaining I was pronouncing and stressing stuff wrong... Never liked English that much anyways.
Okay, I understand she had an English accent when she first started out in Russia, but then she lost it as she got better....
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Naslednik on July 19, 2011, 08:16:57 AM
This accent issue may be a matter of perspective.  People with really developed hearing (musicians, interpreters, or lovers of music and language) may be more critical in assessing whether someone has an accent.  I think that Kerensky, too, said Alexandra had an accent in 1917.

I don't think adults can totally erase an accent in languages with sounds that can't be explained by our native alphabet.  For instance, "SH" or "SHCH" can explain these Russian letters.  But there is no English set of letters to explain the sound of "i" in a word like Mishkin or Myshkin (from Dostoevsky).  No matter how this is taught to me, I don't seem to get it -- and I am a professional musician.

Then I heard that when we are infants, about 9 mos. old, our brain begins to pare out the parts that aren't being used, maybe a bit like opening up space on your hard drive.  So if you haven't heard that particular sound or anything like it, it gets harder and harder to imprint it on your brain later to allow you to reproduce the sound.  My guess is that Alexandra did speak Russian with an accent, but Nicholas did not speak English with an accent because he started learning so young.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 19, 2011, 08:21:09 AM
But wasn't it quoted that Nicholas spoke English and (French or German) with a Russian accent? I know it was someone close too him and/or Alexandra...
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on July 19, 2011, 09:13:22 AM
This accent issue may be a matter of perspective.  People with really developed hearing (musicians, interpreters, or lovers of music and language) may be more critical in assessing whether someone has an accent.  I think that Kerensky, too, said Alexandra had an accent in 1917.

I don't think adults can totally erase an accent in languages with sounds that can't be explained by our native alphabet.  For instance, "SH" or "SHCH" can explain these Russian letters.  But there is no English set of letters to explain the sound of "i" in a word like Mishkin or Myshkin (from Dostoevsky).  No matter how this is taught to me, I don't seem to get it -- and I am a professional musician.

Then I heard that when we are infants, about 9 mos. old, our brain begins to pare out the parts that aren't being used, maybe a bit like opening up space on your hard drive.  So if you haven't heard that particular sound or anything like it, it gets harder and harder to imprint it on your brain later to allow you to reproduce the sound.  My guess is that Alexandra did speak Russian with an accent, but Nicholas did not speak English with an accent because he started learning so young.

This isn't actually accurate.  For example, I can speak French with virtually no accent, and I can also speak England accented English (Home Counties actually) well enough to fool native Brits, yet I am an American, born and raised in California.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sunny on July 19, 2011, 11:29:33 AM
I wasn't a baby or a little child anymore when i seriously started learning french: i was already 15. They say i've no accent, even if in France they understand i'm not french mothertongue - but they can't understand from where i come. And notice that - maybe you already know it - french and italian people generally don't like each other much, that means an italian can understand that one is french (even if he speaks good italian) and the contrary. This happens expecially in border towns, such as In the Cote d'Azur, the fisrt part of France just passed italian borders in Ventimiglia. I live 3 hours by car from Nice, and i assure you that people in Cote d'Azur recognise an italian from kms! They simply "smell" us! And when i went to Nice they understood i was not french, but they couldn't say from where i came. They said i simply didn't have an accent, any accent - even not french accent.
So, i'm sure it's possible from grown - up people learn a foreign language without accent. Maybe not with the specific accent of that country (i speak french without french accent, which you know, is wuite distinctive!) but at least with neutral accent.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on July 19, 2011, 02:56:47 PM
I know Alexandra had a heavy accent when speaking Russian, but what was it? Lili Dehn states (in massie's N&A) "... I noticed that she spoke Russian with a strong English accent." (on meeting the empress in 1907 @ tsarskoe selo) where other accounts say she had a thick German accent. (I can't remember the name of the book, but I know it was reputable)

She was a German with half English roots - what did you expect her to sound like? :)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 19, 2011, 09:46:12 PM
... Did grand duke Louis speak English to his daughter? (I really don't know what she would sound like. Maybe back and forth depending on her mood? My mother goes country when she gets mad. (I should note she lived in the south until 20 years ago when she moved.) anyways, I always though that if you were an actor, you would be able to do accents better to fool even natives. Or an impressionist.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Thomas_Hesse on July 20, 2011, 06:53:36 AM
The children would talk and write to their father Louis IV in German. There is - however - here and there an English letter or passage and once Elisabeth Feodorovna is actually appologizing "for writing in English" but obviously she had too many English letters to answer and was too lazy to switch (she seems to have been an dyslexic)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 20, 2011, 07:14:31 AM
Ella dyslexic? You learn something new every day! Also, on the note of losing the accent, I watched Hell's Kitchen and Master Chef tonight, and noticed Gordon Ramsey's accent. It's obviously British, and he is surrounded by Americans, with American accents might I add, and he seems to have his accent still. This show has been going on quite a while, enough to lose even a little bit of his accent, but sometimes I can't even understand him! Now Alexandra, I admit, probably did not have a full blown English accent, but somehow she still had an accent. I quote Naslednik, "Kerensky too, said Alexandra had an accent in 1917." Now, could it have been, that she did not want to lose her accent? Who knows?
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sarushka on July 20, 2011, 08:59:07 AM
Then I heard that when we are infants, about 9 mos. old, our brain begins to pare out the parts that aren't being used, maybe a bit like opening up space on your hard drive.  So if you haven't heard that particular sound or anything like it, it gets harder and harder to imprint it on your brain later to allow you to reproduce the sound.  

This is most certainly true. There are linguistic studies to back it up.

Of course some people who are talented at mimicry can speak flawlessly in another language -- however, that doesn't mean their brain has stopped recognizing certain sounds as distinct from one another.

For example, in English we don't recognize any difference in meaning between an aspirated P (as in pit) and a non-aspirated P (as in spit). If you can't hear the difference, put your hand in front of your lips so you can feel the puff of air that accompanies the P in pit. In English, aspirated P and non-aspirated P are allophones, which means that if you mix them up your pronunciation might sound slightly off to someone with a keen ear, but everybody will still understand what you mean. You may also be able to speak beautiful French or Russian without mastering the pronunciation of aspirated/non-aspirated consonants. In languages like Thai, Icelandic, and ancient Greek, however, getting aspiration correct is crucial -- that little puff of air can mean the only difference between one word and another.

That's the kind of fine-tuning that the brain begins filtering out in infancy. Some people can indeed retrain themselves to recognize the subtle features of other languages in order to speak without an accent, but for the majority of learners it does take more time and effort with age, and success is limited.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Naslednik on July 21, 2011, 05:14:10 PM
Sarushka,
Very interesting about the fine tuning and your pit/spit example.  Do you know Russian?  Can you explain why I can't "hear" the y sound in a word like Myshkin?  Is the the infancy pruning thing, or is there hope that I might get it some day if I persevered...
I do like the character of Prince Myshkin so much I hate to call him Prince Bear or Prince Mouse, which is what I sound like in Russian!
Naslednik
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Naslednik on July 21, 2011, 05:25:33 PM
Quote
This isn't actually accurate.  For example, I can speak French with virtually no accent, and I can also speak England accented English (Home Counties actually) well enough to fool native Brits, yet I am an American, born and raised in California.

Actually, Forum Admin, I think that your example lines up exactly with what I am saying.  French and English county accents are so similar in sonority to American sounds that we can learn, even as adults to find some connection (perhaps subconsciously) between our 'new' language to sounds we know from childhood.  I, too, have a great French accent and can do various Brit accents.  But really unusual sounds (like that Russian "y" in Myshkin) are hard to hear cognitively, at least to English speakers  I sure would like to fix that! Thankfully, most Russians are quite forgiving.

Naslednik
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: bestfriendsgirl on July 21, 2011, 06:15:13 PM
Accents are strange, humbling things, especially when you come from one of the less progressive areas of the United States, as I do. All you have to do is let loose with a "y'all" or drop a "g" off the end of a word, and you're automatically marked down as ignorant, backward and married to one of your cousins (with apologies to all the European royalty we discuss here who actually are, or were ;)) But when I leave the urban areas of West Virgina, I open my mouth and people are like "You're not from West Virginia, are you?" and are immediately suspicious. It's frustrating!
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Robert_Hall on July 21, 2011, 07:32:29 PM
This talk about accents is interesting. I speak French a la Quebecois, Russian with an English accent, English with an Irish slant,  and in England, I just seem to pick up whomever I am with.  Yorkshire to Essex. With a definite Home Counties  influence.. I gave up on Devon & Cornwall.....
 Arabic is Iraqi, considered classical, and Japanese, well, just wherever my teacher was from.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: bestfriendsgirl on July 21, 2011, 08:00:43 PM
I agree - I should have majored in linguistics instead of journalism, with a master's degree in sociology.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sarushka on July 21, 2011, 08:40:39 PM
Can you explain why I can't "hear" the y sound in a word like Myshkin?  Is the the infancy pruning thing, or is there hope that I might get it some day if I persevered...

That's my best guess.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sunny on July 22, 2011, 12:44:22 AM
Can you explain why I can't "hear" the y sound in a word like Myshkin?  Is the the infancy pruning thing, or is there hope that I might get it some day if I persevered...

I use a different spelling for cyrillic, but i guess "y" for you is the guttural "i" also used for plurals?
If i'm right, you can try to pronounce a i while saying a u. It's not easy, i know, but this is the way my teacher used. It is a i not pronounced in your mouth but in your throat.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Kalafrana on July 22, 2011, 05:14:02 AM
'Accents are strange, humbling things, especially when you come from one of the less progressive areas of the United States, as I do. All you have to do is let loose with a "y'all" or drop a "g" off the end of a word, and you're automatically marked down as ignorant, backward and married to one of your cousins (with apologies to all the European royalty we discuss here who actually are, or were ) But when I leave the urban areas of West Virgina, I open my mouth and people are like "You're not from West Virginia, are you?" and are immediately suspicious. It's frustrating!'

In England, strong regional accents are associated with lack of education and lack of class. Some accents are considered more undesirable than others - upper crust Scots can speak with a West Highland or Edinburgh accent, but Glaswegian is beyond the pale. For English English as she should be spoke, listen to the announcers on the BBC World Service.

Personally, I am not entirely convinced that Alexandra spoke English as an English person. If we take her cousin the Kaiser as a parallel, he grew up with an English mother and lots English servants, made regular visits to England. However, he could never get English slang quite right, and a recording made in the 1930s shows a slight but definite German accent - in particular, he couldn't manage the 'th' sound. Are there any extant recordings of Alexandra speaking in any language?

Interestingly, the Kaiser's great-grandson, Prince Friedrich Wilhelm (son of Louis Ferdinand) when interviewed on TV a few years ago spoke English like an Englishman (could have been a BBC announcer!)

Ann
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on July 22, 2011, 08:58:39 AM
All accounts from English people who met Alexandra, from Ambassador Buchannon, his daughter Muriel, and others were all clear that her English accent was "perfect" and Alexandra was very particular about it for her children as well. Her mother Alice raised her to speak flawless English and she spent much time with her Grandmother in England.  She was truly more "English" than "German" in upbringing.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 22, 2011, 09:00:04 AM
Could you post the quotes said by the ambassador and his daughter?
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Kalafrana on July 22, 2011, 12:02:48 PM
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

'All accounts from English people who met Alexandra, from Ambassador Buchannon, his daughter Muriel, and others were all clear that her English accent was "perfect" and Alexandra was very particular about it for her children as well. Her mother Alice raised her to speak flawless English and she spent much time with her Grandmother in England.  She was truly more "English" than "German" in upbringing.'

WE have to remember that Princess Alice died when Alexandra was only six years old - that doesn't give her al lot of time to influence her daughter's speech. Further, there is a propagandist element to a lot of descriptions of her - commentators such as Buchanan would tend to emphasise her 'Englishness'.

Ann
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: matushka on July 22, 2011, 12:41:52 PM
That's true, Ann. And descriptions made in wartime are espacially suspiscious: people tried to emphasize the "English" part of Alexandra's personnality for politicals reasons. Did not Alexandra consider Hesse as her first motherland, not England? And was she so often in England? A chronology would be required, but I had not this impression. Which language did she mostly use with her differents seablings? Does anyone know for sure? In Helen'a excellent book, we read her letters to "Ernie" in english, but with a plethore of german words.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on July 22, 2011, 01:30:29 PM
Alexandra and her siblings all spoke English amongst themselves.  By all accounts her English was perfect. I don't understand why so many people don't want to accept the fact that she was as much English as German, moreso because her relationship with Victoria.

Here is what Lili Dehn said of the Court : English was the medium of conversation in Society at Petrograd; it was invariably spoken at Court,   during the war "Everyone was suspicious of her, and, when she spoke English at the hospitals to her daughters and her ladies-in-waiting, the soldiers declared she was speaking German, and this report once started was magnified exceedingly. "

Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: carkuczyn on July 22, 2011, 07:22:22 PM
I recently spent some time in Europe and the middle East.  I was amazed at how a lot of the people that I met very easily went from one language to another.  For instance, our tour guides would speak to us in very easily understood English and then speak to the bus driver or fellow tour guides in another language without even thinking twice about it.  I have always had an interest in being multilingual.  I can understand some French and a smattering of Russian.  I took 3 years of French in highschool and I have been trying to teach myself Russian for about 5 years.  I am nowhere near fluent in either of those foreign languages yet.  What is the most helpful method at becoming even partially fluent in a foreign language, short of going there to live for a while?
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Robert_Hall on July 22, 2011, 07:32:55 PM
Have friends who  speak the language with you.  Failing that,  hang out with others that do.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 22, 2011, 08:41:55 PM
Yeah, our French teacher spoke to us in nothing but French the entire year. Except for a couple of fire drills, she kept speaking in French! It helped a lot to understand the sentence arrangement.

Back to topic;
Now, isn't a German accent hard on your throat?(my English friend who's learning German told me this) Wouldn't Alexandra have had sore throats if she had an extremely noticeable German accent?
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: carkuczyn on July 22, 2011, 09:13:56 PM
I have often thought the same thing about German.  It is such a harsh, gutteral language.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: RealAnastasia on July 22, 2011, 10:41:29 PM
German is not a harsh language. It's very sweet and it prnunciation could change froma region to another. Bavarian and Tyrolean-Austrian German sounds not harsh at all and its "r" are very similar to French.

RealAnastasia.

P.S: We have some Germans at the Forums,and I think they wouldn't be pleased if they reads they speaks a "harsh language".
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sunny on July 23, 2011, 12:52:31 AM
German is NOT a harsh language, but it could sound so to people who speak romance languages (french, italian, spanish, portuguese) or english, because antic germanic was a lpanguage so different in sounds from latin. You'll wonder why i put english into the list if it's a german language. Well, of course you know english was a different evolution from germanic and was largely influenced by french in the middle ages, so now is more similar in sounds to romance languages.
I like german so much and i have studied it because i loved it, but i can't deny german sounds are different from those of romance languages. Not "harsher" simply different.  :)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: LadyAstraea on July 23, 2011, 01:53:21 AM
Well, German is a West Germanic language, and I suppose in comparison to the Romance languages it may sound harsh at first. But then again, English is also a West Germanic language (although one influenced by French) and I've heard some people who don't speak English describe it as a hard and not very elegant language. I must say though that if one always has a sore throat from speaking German, then that person has gone wrong somewhere! Of course if the person is just learning to produce the sounds (particularly the different "ch" and "r" sounds) then naturally one would get a sore throat from too much practice, but no, generally speaking, German isn't really any harder on the throat.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sunny on July 23, 2011, 07:08:20 AM
I must say though that if one always has a sore throat from speaking German, then that person has gone wrong somewhere! Of course if the person is just learning to produce the sounds (particularly the different "ch" and "r" sounds) then naturally one would get a sore throat from too much practice, but no, generally speaking, German isn't really any harder on the throat.

So well said, Lady Astraea! My german techer said the same. I have never found anything difficult in german pronunciation (at the contrary) but most of my classmates did, and i really couldn't understand it.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: carkuczyn on July 24, 2011, 01:26:58 AM
I apologize for any hurt feelings over my description of the way German sounds.  I meant no disrespect to the German people.  And I have often wondered what English may sound like to the foreign ear.  Don't worry......no matter what you say, it will not hurt my feelings.  I want to hear honest answers.  lBy the way.....my ancestors came from Germany and I am very proud of that.  : )
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sunny on July 24, 2011, 03:17:35 AM
I apologize for any hurt feelings over my description of the way German sounds.  I meant no disrespect to the German people.  And I have often wondered what English may sound like to the foreign ear.  Don't worry......no matter what you say, it will not hurt my feelings.  I want to hear honest answers.  lBy the way.....my ancestors came from Germany and I am very proud of that.  : )

For me, you stats weren't a problem at all. You know, i majored in linguistic, so i'm proud when i can explain linguistica matters!  ;)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sarushka on July 24, 2011, 10:49:27 AM
You know, i majored in linguistic, so i'm proud when i can explain linguistica matters!  ;)

Me too. :^)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sunny on July 24, 2011, 11:02:50 AM
You know, i majored in linguistic, so i'm proud when i can explain linguistica matters!  ;)

Me too. :^)

Yep i read in your interviews! Unfortunately, my "linguistic" course didn't have lessons about things like ASl or fingerspelling as yours, Sarah. I would really have liked it. I don't know if they exist in italy, but in my college they didn't - classes like yours, i mean. My linguistic classes dealt with phonetic and the evolution of european languages from Indoeuropean. Very interesting, but i would have liked something a little more specific on human comunication.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: aleksandr pavlovich on July 24, 2011, 01:07:28 PM
I apologize for any hurt feelings over my description of the way German sounds.  I meant no disrespect to the German people.  And I have often wondered what English may sound like to the foreign ear.  Don't worry......no matter what you say, it will not hurt my feelings.  I want to hear honest answers.  lBy the way.....my ancestors came from Germany and I am very proud of that.  : )
  Thank you for your kind clarification. No offense taken. Your attitude is commendable. 
  Still on the topic, I speak the German language (an undergraduate minor in my case) and have taught German language familiarization to students in an "enrichment program".  Not a SINGLE complaint of a "sore throat." What a hilarious comment!  IMO, it's amazing how gullible some people are in things that they hear (from a single "friend") AND REPEAT.  But at least by doing so, they will stand properly corrected.  
  By the way, I don't know if you've ever visited Russia?  You would be AMAZED how many Russians speak/understand German. I have used it frequently on my trips there.                                                                                  Regards,  AP.                                                                            
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 24, 2011, 01:39:18 PM
From the sore throat question, I meant that it was harder on my friends throat which does not mean it will happen to every single person, and I wrote that because I wanted to know. Also, please stop trying to ridicule me, it's getting old. ("Not a SINGLE complaint of a "sore throat'.")  For your information, this is a TRUSTED friend, who has better things to do than make up lies about his throat. He told me that he got a bit of a sore throat after trying to make some of the (is the word gutteral?) sounds of the German language, and I believe him. And besides, if we do not repeat what we hear, how do we learn?

(One last thing, who is it that speaks German? The young, the old, the middle aged? My father's Russian friend Sergei grew up in Communist Russia, and went to school there, and her took Spanish which shares surprisingly a good amount of words with Russian. He made no mention of German ever being offered anywhere.)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: aleksandr pavlovich on July 24, 2011, 01:53:15 PM
I am delighted to reply to your question about the German language in Russia!  I have found it unerringly among the university-educated Russian populace. (Perhaps your family friend, "Sergei," did not have the opportunity to attend "school" at the university level of language availability?)  One professional Human Resources-type individual studied it in university, and told me that he had not really spoken it in "twenty years," yet he retained a very "workable" knowledge. We even video-taped a conversation in German in his office near Moscow. I personally know of Russian families who have sent their daughters to friends in Germany for summer German language experiences. (As you may/may not know, many Russian university students go abroad in a work/language study summer experience.  There are a number just here in my area of the USA, improving their English. There are also Student Exchanges with various countries.) Although I have found French spoken in Russia as well, I don't think that I have ever once encountered the Spanish language.      Regards,  AP.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Sunny on July 24, 2011, 01:59:45 PM
My father's Russian friend Sergei grew up in Communist Russia, and went to school there, and her took Spanish which shares surprisingly a good amount of words with Russian.

Yes, that's right! Not only with Spanish, but with all romance languages in general. We did a work with my russian teacher once, trying to find out all Italian/romance words used in Russian, and we were truly surprised to HOW MANY they are!

From the sore throat question, I meant that it was harder on my friends throat which does not mean it will happen to every single person, and I wrote that because I wanted to know.

I had never had this problems with german, but i don't think "having a sorethorat" is impossible. At the contrary. I don't know why but german sounds came easily in my mouth, but i saw my classmates having problems... i think it's perfectly normal having a sorethorat when starting learning German - then, when one understands how exactly pronounce the sounds, it becomes much easier!


He made no mention of German ever being offered anywhere.)

That's interesting, Talya! Thanks! It's so interesting to me!
You know, here's quite different. Here in Europe German is one of the most spoken and requested languages, one of the officials in the European Union, so a lot of student take it (i'm the first!)
But, thinking about it, i understand you are right: i can understand that out of Europe it's not a useful language!
But how strange... here you HAVE TO know german if you want a good job (even to work in a bank), and outside europe it's not so useful! How things change, changin country!
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 24, 2011, 02:30:59 PM
@ AP, please note that this was in Communist times, and the government felt more comfortable with Communist Cuba than other languages. Also, this was over thirty years ago,  so the quality of education in Russia was a lot worse then it is now. he never made any mention of German; he said that he had to take Spanish as a requirement, not because he wanted to. Please, stop your snide comments. What is "Sergei" and "school" supposed to mean? He is a real man, who recently got his citizenship in the USA because he wanted a better life for his family than he had in Russia, and he is doing a damn good job of it too!

@ Sunny:
I found this to be true too! It's amazing how many things that seem so different and yet be related!

Pronunciation always seems to be difficult for some, but others don't even know it, and breeze right through it! How I envy those people. Could it be because of the Russian you learned? Sadly, I have no degree, and can't hear phonetics very well, but that's just my hunch.

it seems crazy that it is so requested in the EU, but almost non existant outside of it. Besides Pennsylvania Dutch, I don't think it's widely spoken in the States. Could this be because while England and France were colonizing places Germany was doing something else? Maybe... Ah well, it's still a pretty cool language all the same!
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: aleksandr pavlovich on July 24, 2011, 02:50:42 PM
  The use of quote marks with the words "Sergei" and "school" (as you should well know, as an aspiring writer) are meant to show quoted items taken directly from your previous text.  It does not question his existence!  He obviously took his grade school level education, without any freedom of choice at languages, as you describe it.  
  Semantically (from your second preceeding post) , even if "he made no mention of German ever being offered anywhere," doesn't mean that it WASN'T,  "ANYWHERE"........... , it was just not available to him, thus he "made no mention," if indeed the German language was ever SPECIFICALLY a point of inquiry for/to him. I am delighted to hear that he and his family are now here and doing well.  I wish them all the best and a welcome to them all.
   Obviously, we have concluded this topic and I will have no more to say, as IMO, it serves no purpose for you to become so utterly defensive in your responses.                                                          Regards,  AP.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 24, 2011, 03:01:42 PM
Yes, but quotation marks can also be used in a sarcastic voice.  He and his family are doing great; his children were actually born in the US, but nevertheless, they are all very glad to be here. Also, I'm being defensive, because these are the people that I think of as family; I get defensive because no one likes slandered family. And because my stupid English teacher was always making snide comments so I have to get defensive, like a reflex.

Okay back to topic;
Who said she had an English accent and who said she didn't?
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: carkuczyn on July 24, 2011, 05:59:44 PM
A. P------------I am very interested in learning the Russian language and my next trip abroad I hope will be Russia.  I have been trying to teach myself Russian for about 5 years now but still cannot understand it well when being spoken.  The grammar and word order are a good bit different from English.  I get frustrated.  I need to take a formal course in it.  I became interested in all things Russian after reading "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Robert Massie.  A very interesting period of history and a very interesting family.                                                                           
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: aleksandr pavlovich on July 24, 2011, 06:43:42 PM
A. P------------I am very interested in learning the Russian language and my next trip abroad I hope will be Russia.  I have been trying to teach myself Russian for about 5 years now but still cannot understand it well when being spoken.  The grammar and word order are a good bit different from English.  I get frustrated.  I need to take a formal course in it.  I became interested in all things Russian after reading "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Robert Massie.  A very interesting period of history and a very interesting family.                                                                           
  I can appreciate your interest.  I certainly DO hope that you get an opportunity to visit, and not just a border region---go deeper into Russia (Humorously, I don't mean Siberia!), stay with a Russian family, watch the tourist-trap places, etc. Take money! There are definitely such things as "tourist prices"!
  Yes, you need a formal program of study/practice in the language, IMO, NOT a "Teach Yourself Russian" stint. 
  I wish you the achievement of your fondest hopes!                      Regards,  AP.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Naslednik on July 26, 2011, 05:27:26 PM
What about Alexandra's writing (sorry if slightly off topic)?  Has anyone else noticed that her English writing is, well, disappointing? I find that Nicholas' English writing is far more sophisticated, with balanced sentences (mixture of long and short ones), and sometimes expressive or poetic descriptions of nature. Perhaps this is simply evidence of the extra effort put into a boy's education? 
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Robert_Hall on July 26, 2011, 05:51:48 PM
I agree, their styles are quite different. IMO, it  is  because of the tutors they had. Considering Nicholas' position, more effort was  most likely spent on his education than Alexandra's  which was fairly basic in those days for females.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Naslednik on July 29, 2011, 05:17:31 PM
Yes, and perhaps shows their personality differences, too.  He had such a strong pull to Nature, perhaps writing about it was pleasurable to him.  I remember his commentary in (1915? letter to AF) about the behavior of 2 dogs out his window, one courting the other in a display of Springtime friskiness.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Teddy on July 29, 2011, 05:38:39 PM
I know Alexandra had a heavy accent when speaking Russian, but what was it? Lili Dehn states (in massie's N&A) "... I noticed that she spoke Russian with a strong English accent." (on meeting the empress in 1907 @ tsarskoe selo) where other accounts say she had a thick German accent. (I can't remember the name of the book, but I know it was reputable)

GD Maria G. said in he autobiography, that she spoke it fluently.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on July 29, 2011, 11:16:09 PM
With or without an accent. I know people who can speak English like a fluently, but still have a pretty noticeable accent.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Silja on September 23, 2011, 06:58:15 AM

it seems crazy that it is so requested in the EU, but almost non existant outside of it. Besides Pennsylvania Dutch, I don't think it's widely spoken in the States. Could this be because while England and France were colonizing places Germany was doing something else?

The Germans were late to colonize, and after WW I lost most of the few colonies they had.
In Namibia, a former German colony in Africa, you can find traces of German, mainly in street names.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: RealAnastasia on September 23, 2011, 11:03:34 PM

it seems crazy that it is so requested in the EU, but almost non existant outside of it. Besides Pennsylvania Dutch, I don't think it's widely spoken in the States. Could this be because while England and France were colonizing places Germany was doing something else?

The Germans were late to colonize, and after WW I lost most of the few colonies they had.
In Namibia, a former German colony in Africa, you can find traces of German, mainly in street names.

Yes. In fact, I'm a fan of folk cuisine of different parts of the world and Naimibia's cuisine had a lot of "German" characteristics. Namibians likes bread in german-style they elaborates different kind of German sausages and have an excellent beer. Whindoek, Namibia's capital, shows a lot of German architecture.

RealAnastasia.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: nena on September 25, 2011, 06:05:55 AM
"Alexandra Fyodorovna pronounced Russian words with a strong accent, and it was noticeable that she had a hard time with the spoken Russian language. But all her children spoke excellent Russian". - Commissar Vasily Semyonovich Pankratov, 2nd September 1917, Tobolsk.  (From 'The Fall of the Romanovs', by M.D.Steinberg and V.M.Khrustalëv, pg.261).
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: bestfriendsgirl on September 25, 2011, 09:21:52 AM
They probably got that from Nicholas - he had an ear for languages. They also learned it from birth, which helps.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: carkuczyn on October 13, 2011, 12:47:09 AM
I am wondering what language they spoke when they were all together at home.  For instance, when they sat around in the evening playing bezique, pasting pictures in their albums, reading, and writing letters, what language did they chit chat in?  In consideration of the Empress's difficulty with spoken Russian, I am thinking maybe it was mostly English.  Does anyone know?
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Talya on October 13, 2011, 12:52:36 AM
All together, they probably would have spoken English, but maybe some Russian. The empress spoke English to her daughters and (I think) Nicky, and Russian to Alexei. Nicky spoke in Russian to his daughters and Alexei. It would really depend on the head parent there, and variables like if it was during Ipatiev arrest it would have been Russian. (they weren't allowed to speak anything else, but a few whispers of English might have been exchanged.)

I hope you can understand me! :)
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Katya_C on October 13, 2011, 10:12:08 AM
All together, they probably would have spoken English, but maybe some Russian. The empress spoke English to her daughters and (I think) Nicky, and Russian to Alexei. Nicky spoke in Russian to his daughters and Alexei. It would really depend on the head parent there, and variables like if it was during Ipatiev arrest it would have been Russian. (they weren't allowed to speak anything else, but a few whispers of English might have been exchanged.)

From Anna Vyrubova's Memoirs:

In his book M. Gilliard (Thirteen Years At The Russian Court) has recorded that he was never able to teach the Grand Duchesses to speak a fluent French. This is true because the languages used in the family were English and Russian, and the children never became interested in any other languages. "Trina" was supposed to teach them German but she had less success with that language than M. Gilliard with French. The Emperor and Empress spoke English almost exclusively, and so did the Empress's brother, the Grand Duke of Hesse and his family. Among themselves the children usually spoke Russian. The Tsarevich alone, thanks to his constant association with M. Gilliard, mastered the French language.

Also from Anna's Memoirs:

The Emperor and Empress spoke English almost exclusively, and so did the Empress's brother, the Grand Duke of Hesse and his family.

Regards,
Katya C.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Eddie_uk on October 13, 2011, 01:19:26 PM
FA answered that on Page 1.  :)

Alexandra's Russian became better and better over the years, which is why later in her life she no longer had an English accent when speaking Russian.  She spoke ONLY English with Nicholas and her children at home. Nicholas spoke Russian to his children, but English only with Alexandra.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on January 18, 2012, 06:35:58 PM
from what i have read over the years it seems there were a awful lot of foriegn born queens and empresses that never learned to speak the languages of their adopted coutries fleuntly over the centuries. i think we should give Alexandra a break on this . It been awhile but I do believe Kerensky noted Alexandras strongly accented Russian.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Natacia on January 18, 2012, 07:24:11 PM
Well Alexandra no doubt had a very beautiful voice regardless , but she must have some sort of accent not being born speaking Russian.. However I believe her voice may have picked up a very slight tone of the Russian accent due to her years in Russia....
 
I'm only lead to assume this because of a modern day royal, Crown Princess Mary of Denmark. Her father, John Donalson had mentioned that when she returns to Australia he can hear a slighty growing difference in her voice and compared it to the Danish accent saying that in her short time there she picked up the Danish Tone. .. which lead me to believe that Alexandra most likely had a slight Russian tone to her German or English accent or atleast a slight difference in the way she'd pronounce her words.

Also Comparing Mary and Alexandra's age differences when they both entered their new countries for the first time, Mary was older yet still able to add on to her accent. And usually the more you grow past developement the less likely it is to add adjustments to your accent. So having Mary as an example, perhaps it concludes that whatever the accent Alexandra had, she could've adapted to a sight Russian tone.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Inok Nikolai on January 21, 2012, 02:55:41 PM

Concerning Empress Alexandra Feodorovna's accent and knowledge of Russian, see:

http://forum.alexanderpalace.org/index.php?topic=1314.msg501358#msg501358
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Captain Koala on January 23, 2012, 01:38:30 AM
I think an interesting thing to note is that even when someone has become fluent in another language and dropped their accent, they can still revert back to their original accent at certain times. I saw a speech therapist for a stutter some time ago and he explained it to me. You lose your accent most quickly in the tone of voice you use most often. I am very quietly spoken and when I speak in this tone it's impossible to tell I'm not Australian (I now live in Sydney but was born in England). However, if I raise my voice or become anxious I sound very English, because I rarely speak in this tone. It's possible, I believe, that Alexandra dropped her English / German accent in her usual speech but in times of stress or discomfort reverted back to it. Food for thought.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Kalafrana on January 23, 2012, 03:32:31 AM
Interesting. My father was brought up in Liverpool and left there to join the Royal Air Force at the age of 24. He speaks BBC English, but becomes a bit Liverpudlian when he gets excited. His three sisters were all a bit Liverpudlian (not full-blown Scouse, but you could tell where they were from), and I think my father also had a Liverpool accent at one time but lost it.

Ann
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Превед on July 20, 2015, 05:33:14 PM
I wonder if Alexandra Fyodorovna's Russian sounded somewhat like Stalin's, who spoke Russian well, but with a Georgian accent.
Stalin speaking, with less palatalisation (i.e. Aliksandra and Stalin instead of Alʲiksandra and Stalʲ in) and vowel reduction (i.e. Aleksandra Fyodorovna instead of Ehliksandreh Fyodaravneh)  than a native Russian: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gp7IQRZ6MTI
Background-wise, as you can hear here, Stalin's native Georgian is not that different, phonetically, from AF's native German and RP English: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpU3ktOXQ_k

I think both may have struggled equally with the palatalisation, but perhaps AF had less problems with spelling pronunciation (including lack of vowel reduction), as she got more oral tutoring when learning the language than Stalin did in the seminary, whose focus on Church Slavic without vowel reduction perhaps added to him exhibiting that feature.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Превед on January 05, 2016, 04:28:27 PM
In "War and Peace" there is an interesting attempt at reproducing a German accent in Russian:

Полковник был плотный, высокий и сангвинический немец, очевидно служака и патриот. Он обиделся словами Шиншина.
— А затэ́м, мы́лосты́вый государ, — сказал он, выговаривая э вместо е и ъ вместо ь. — Затэ́м, что импэ́ратор это знаэ́т. Он в манифэ́стэ́ сказал, что нэ́ можэ́т смотрэ́т равнодушно на опасности, угрожающие России, и что бэ́зопасност импэ́рии, достоинство ее и святост союзов, — сказал он, почему-то особенно налегая на слово «союзов», как будто в этом была вся сущность дела.
[...]
— Вот зачэ́м, мы́лосты́вый государ, — заключил он назидательно, выпивая стакан вина и оглядываясь на графа за поощрением.

In one English translation it's reproduced like this, showing how a German accent sounds in English:

"The colonel was a stout, tall, plethoric German, evidently devoted to the service and patriotically Russian. He resented Shinshin's remark.
"It is for the reasson, my goot sir," said he, speaking with a German accent, "for the reasson zat ze Emperor knows zat. He declares in ze manifessto zat he cannot fiew wiz indifference ze danger vreatening Russia and zat ze safety and dignity of ze Empire as vell as ze sanctity of its alliances..." he spoke this last word with particular emphasis as if in it lay the gist of the matter.
[...]
"Zat, my dear sir, is vy..." he concluded, drinking a tumbler of wine with dignity and looking to the count for approval."

The direct translation of the Russian is:

"The colonel was a stout, tall, plethoric German, evidently devoted to the service and patriotically Russian. He resented Shinshin's remark.
- And therefor, dear sir, - he said, pronouncing a hard eh instead of an ee and hard sounds instead of soft, palatalized ones. - Because the emperor knows it. He declares in his manifesto that he cannot view with indifference the danger threatening Russia and that the safety and dignity of the Empire as well as the sanctity of its alliances..." he spoke this last word with particular emphasis as if in it lay the gist of the matter.
[...]
- That is why, dear sir, - he concluded didactically, drinking a glass of wine and looking at the count for approval."

In addition to the stated lacking palatalisation and ikanye, the foreign German accent is also indicated with stress emphasis (marked with accent) on the wrong places.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on January 05, 2016, 07:30:34 PM
Alexandra was one of Queen Victoria's favorite grandchildren. Her accent was perfect upper class English, no traces of German. It is pointless to debate any possibility she spoke unaccented UK English.  Her Russian accent was said to have later become very good.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Kalafrana on January 05, 2016, 10:00:03 PM
What evidence are you drawing on for this?

To take another example of royalty, the Duke of Windsor did not speak 'perfect upper class English', despite growing up in an upper class English milieu. Mixed in with the upper class were some very strange vowel sounds. George VI, by contrast, sounded conventionally upper crust.

Ann
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Превед on January 06, 2016, 07:03:04 PM
Alexandra was one of Queen Victoria's favorite grandchildren. Her accent was perfect upper class English, no traces of German. It is pointless to debate any possibility she spoke unaccented UK English.

It is indeed absolutely possible, considering that her mother lived till she was six, she had a British nanny and spent lots of time in Britain. I have a friend who grew up here in Norway with a British father and half-British mother. They spoke both English and Norwegian at home and visited family in Britain during summers. He speaks both English and Norwegian without accent (he has a typical South English middle-class accent in English), mastering both the English alveolar r and the southwestern Norwegian (and German) uvular r, sounds that often cause trouble to bilingual children, with the uvular r becoming predominant in both languages (e.g. Edward VII).

And then I know other Norwegians who grew up in similar circumstances and speak English with a marked Norwegian accent.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on January 07, 2016, 09:36:11 AM
What evidence are you drawing on for this?

To take another example of royalty, the Duke of Windsor did not speak 'perfect upper class English', despite growing up in an upper class English milieu. Mixed in with the upper class were some very strange vowel sounds. George VI, by contrast, sounded conventionally upper crust.

Ann


Gilliard's words on Alexandra from "13 Years at the Imperial Court":
"She lost her mother early in life, andand was largely brought up at the English Court, where she soon became the favorite granddaughter of Queen Victoria, who bestowed on the blonde "Alix" all the tender affection she had had for her mother. 
GILLIARD NOTE: Queen Victoria did not like the Germans and had a particular aversion to the Emperor William II, which she handed on to her granddaughter, who always preferred England, her country on her mother's side, to Germany.

Buxhoeveden "The Life and Tragedy of Alexandra Feodorovna": From this time, too, Queen Victoria took a special interest in her orphaned grandchildren. Both Miss Jackson (Alix's English Governess) and Prince Ernest Louis's tutor had to write monthly reports to the Queen, whose autograph answers to Miss Jackson show that she went into every small detail and often gave definite directions.
Miss Margaret Hardcastle Jackson (her English Tutor), "Madgie" as the Princess Alix affectionately called her later, was a broadminded, cultivated woman, who soon gained a strong influence over her pupils, particularly the eldest. 
English was, of course, her natural language. She spoke and wrote it to her brother and sisters, and later to her husband and children and to all those she knew well. (my emphasis)
 Nearly every autumn the Grand Duke of Hesse took his children to Windsor or Osborne, or more often, to Balmoral, for he was a keen sportsman and good shot. These visits were the best part of the year to his youngest daughter. They developed her mentally, too, as they brought her into contact not only with her cousins, but with all the Queen's entourage, politicians and notabilities of all sorts. Listening to their conversation at luncheon, her interest in matters beyond her years was unconsciously awakened, and at thirteen Princess Alix looked and spoke like a much older girl. Her English point of view on many questions in later life was certainly due to her many visits to England at this most impressionable age.

The Grand Ducal family looked upon themselves almost as a branch of the English royal house.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Kalafrana on January 07, 2016, 01:38:27 PM
Hilliard was mistaken in claiming that Queen Victoria disliked the Kaiser. Though she told him off from time to time she was very fond of him.

How good was Buxhoeveden's English, and what language did she write her book in?

Ann
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Превед on January 07, 2016, 03:05:14 PM
GILLIARD NOTE: Queen Victoria did not like the Germans

Did Gilliard write this lie? Just proganda for the Entente cordiale, when in fact Queen Victoria disliked Russia (both for geopolitical and moral purposes) much more than Germany or France.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Maria Sisi on January 07, 2016, 03:25:18 PM
Queen Victoria was definitely not anti-German. She was as pro-German as one in her position could be.

She originally wanted a German wife for Bertie and only settled on Alexandra when they realized the German princesses weren't going to cut it. She was one of the few who were okay with how Prussia acted towards Denmark. While she disliked Prussia's treatment of the other German states and Austria she still supported them more so then everybody else.

And most of all she would have been horrified with the Russian British alliance Bertie set up. She NEVER would have considered it. While she may have been frustrated with Germany at times for not doing as she saw they should do she most definitely would have taken their side over Russia and France.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Forum Admin on January 07, 2016, 05:10:12 PM
Hilliard was mistaken in claiming that Queen Victoria disliked the Kaiser. Though she told him off from time to time she was very fond of him.

How good was Buxhoeveden's English, and what language did she write her book in?

Ann

Perfect and un accented.  She wrote the book in English.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on January 19, 2016, 06:32:34 PM
I believe Buxhoeveden was a Instutka Institute girl which means she went to the Smolny Institute where the ladies had to speak some days in English, Some days in French, Some days in German and some days Russian.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: AGRBear on October 06, 2016, 07:37:03 PM
Albert, Prince Consort was a German.  He spoke German as his first language.  After his marriage to Queen Victoria he requested that behind closed doors the family should speak German in his presents.  Therefore, all of his children spoke German and I believe Alexandra, also, spoke German with her own father before she lived with Queen Victoria.

Because of Hitler and the Nazi take over of Germany,  the British wanted to cover over their own German blood and changed themselves into the House of Winsor.  Remember,  they had been des. of the old German farmer Georgie I of Hanover who never spoke English.  History books have downplayed how German Queen Victoria was. 

This old bear is old enough to remember that universities and high school taught German for those who were going into the field of medicine.   French and ballet were taught to the girls who had social status.  In Austria the upper class spoke Italian....  The British laughed at our American English while Americans vowed never to bow to anyone. 

AGRBear
 
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Maria Sisi on October 06, 2016, 08:40:17 PM
Albert, Prince Consort was a German.  He spoke German as his first language.  After his marriage to Queen Victoria he requested that behind closed doors the family should speak German in his presents.  Therefore, all of his children spoke German and I believe Alexandra, also, spoke German with her own father before she lived with Queen Victoria.

Because of Hitler and the Nazi take over of Germany,  the British wanted to cover over their own German blood and changed themselves into the House of Winsor.  Remember,  they had been des. of the old German farmer Georgie I of Hanover who never spoke English.  History books have downplayed how German Queen Victoria was. 

This old bear is old enough to remember that universities and high school taught German for those who were going into the field of medicine.   French and ballet were taught to the girls who had social status.  In Austria the upper class spoke Italian....  The British laughed at our American English while Americans vowed never to bow to anyone. 

AGRBear
 

Actually Victoria spoke German with her mother and governess long before Albert entered the scene. So it was the language she grew up with behind closed doors as a child and naturally continued to be after her marriage to Albert. It was the common language they shared together. They had German pet names and Victoria liked to say if it were not for her position she would be no happier then to be his little German Fräulein. She needed no requests from Albert when it came to things German, she was enthusiastic about it all on her own.

Also the family changed their name to Windsor during WW1 LONG before Hitler entered the scene. Anti-German feeling was running high and many with German sounding last names had their lives ruined even if they had considered themselves British and not German for generations. It was a sore point for the King who was sensitive about the issue. The Battenbergs (I believe Louis(?) lost his position in the navy because of the German surname despite years of honorable service) changed their name to Mountbatten the same time the royal family changed theirs on orders by the King.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Превед on October 07, 2016, 08:12:45 AM
Remember,  they had been des. of the old German farmer Georgie I of Hanover who never spoke English.

I think you are confusing the German George I, who often stayed in his ancestral Hanover, with George III, who was nicknamed "Farmer George" and never left the island of Great Britain.

Quote
History books have downplayed how German Queen Victoria was.
What does it really mean to "be German"? Before 1871 there was no German nation state. Queen Victoria, although largely of German heritage and speaking German at home (like the American daughter of German immigrants in the Midwest!) never visited or stayed in Germany untill she was an adult and a reigning monarch. (Her first visit abroad was to France in 1843, then to Germany in 1845.)

Quote
In Austria the upper class spoke Italian....
I doubt that Italian was the dominant idiom in Vienna's erste or zweite Gesellschaft. I'm sure many members of the aristocracy learned Italian (rather easy when you already know French and Latin) because of the prestige of Italian culture at the Habsburg court, but few of the aristocratic families had their roots and estates in the Italian provinces. Far more common was probably some knowledge of one of the Slavic languages (Czech, Slovakian, Polish, Slovenian etc.) spoken by their maids, nurses, servants etc. But those languages were of course not fashionable in society, like Italian was, even though they probably had more (secret) sentimental significance for the aristocrats than Italian had.

Quote
This old bear is old enough to remember that universities and high school taught German for those who were going into the field of medicine.

Strange, wouldn't Latin be more useful in medicine?
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: AGRBear on October 07, 2016, 07:05:01 PM
So glad to see people are still paying attention.   It's been sometime since I jumped into AP and I  failed to be as accurate as I should be among the cream-of-the-crop of European historians. 

George III was "the farmer" and lucky for the US was ruling when we had our "Rebellion of the Colonies".

True,  the House of Hanover was changed to Winsor in 1917 which I should have said first then added:  ...due to the Hitler and Nazi Germany,  the British wanted to farther distance themselves from being German.   

I was glad to see that some posters  realize how German the British royal family was. 

As far as accents,  I have cousins who have grown up in the Midwest who's first language was German and didn't learn English until they entered school.  Some still carry the telltale accent of German which tells people their first language was German.  Others have lost their accent.  My folks spoke different dialects of German  (High and Low) and it was hard for them to communicate so they spoke English in our home and I never learn to speak German.  I was probably the only German-Russian-American kid in our town that didn't speak German first.  My mother's mother spoke seven languages and always with a German accent.  My mother spoke German first then English but hasn't an accent.  She can switch back and forth from one language to the other with ease.  My younger son had an ear for language just like my mother's mother.... No accent when speaking any language he voiced.   So,  it just depends on the person.  In Alexandra case she spoke German first.  Did she have an accent?  I think it would depend on the person who was listening and being able to detect an accent.  Also,  our speech changes as we grow older.  It depends upon who we are around...  I often fall into being a mimic and have to catch myself so I do not offend anyone.

AGRBear




Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: AGRBear on October 07, 2016, 07:17:48 PM
German and Latin were important in the field of medicine before the mid 1950s.

A person does not have to live in Germany to claim their German heritage.  The Winsors and Romanovs have their share of German ancestors. 

AGRBear
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Превед on October 08, 2016, 03:55:57 AM
Glad to see you back, Bär :-)

German and Latin were important in the field of medicine before the mid 1950s.

My impression is that French medicine was ranked very highly untill WW1 / WW2, while Germany was ranked very high in general science.

Quote
A person does not have to live in Germany to claim their German heritage.
True. I was thinking of loyalty to that heritage. People tend to be loyal to the places they live and, if they come from another place, possibly also to that place of origin. Very interesting to take into account with regard to political figures influencing alliances etc.
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: Diotima on December 05, 2018, 11:08:40 AM
While reading here on the boards (and learning a lot!), I noticed some expressions used by the Empress and her children that are used in German. A strep throat is often called angina in German (because you feel a tightness in the throat), and in German, toilets used to be called 00, zero zero, because that's how they were numbered in hotels before every room had its own. And in German, when someone has a fever, we say "she has 37", meaning 37 degrees Celsius of course. There were more idioms that seemed to me to come from the German (when I see them, I'll add them).

From what I understand, in Queen Victoria's family most people were fluent in English, German and also knew French. I don't know when the Empress started feeling alienated from Germany - she communicated with her husband in English because it was the best language they had in common, if I remember well. Her French was not good, and her Russian came later.

In the series Edward VII (great series btw) she is portrayed with a strong Russian accent. Very funny because her English must have been flawless!
Title: Re: Her Accent
Post by: TimM on December 05, 2018, 05:21:17 PM
Alix spent her youth in Britain, she went there after her mother died and was raised by her grandmother, Queen Victoria.