Author Topic: Her Accent  (Read 48973 times)

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Offline Talya

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #60 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.)

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Offline Katya_C

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #61 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.

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Katya C.

Offline Eddie_uk

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #62 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.
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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #63 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.

Offline Natacia

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #64 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.
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Offline Inok Nikolai

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #65 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
инок Николай

Offline Captain Koala

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #66 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.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #67 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.

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Offline Превед

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #68 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.
« Last Edit: July 20, 2015, 05:46:13 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

Offline Превед

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #69 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.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2016, 04:31:59 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #70 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.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #71 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

Offline Превед

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #72 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.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2016, 07:06:57 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: Ивы и берёзы, 1843 / 1856)

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #73 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.

Offline Kalafrana

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Re: Her Accent
« Reply #74 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