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Tuesday, July 17. 2012
Bonus point question:
What nation was she born in?
If you didn't get it and don't mind lowering yourself to the level of dog drool by cheating and thus shredding any last vestige of self-respect, highlight the following line with the mouse for a clue:
Clue: turn your speakers up
The tip-off is the 'k' sound she adds to the end of "smashing", pronouncing it "smashingk". This linguistic oddity tends to be a Jewish trait, as evidenced in the videos below.
The first time I watched the above movie Thor and heard her pronounce it that way, I hit the Pause button, dashed over to Wikipedia and, sure enough, she was born to a Jewish family in Israel. Out of curiosity, I then watched the two other Portman movies in my collection, 'The Professional' and 'V For Vendetta', and not once did she add the 'k' sound. My guess is that in studying to be an actress she's taken vocal lessons and pretty much gotten rid of it for her 'acting voice', but probably still does it on her own time — and that one little line just snuck on by.
I'd note that Russians also tend to do this when speaking English, but, as far as the bonus point question goes, if the choice is between Russia and Israel, from her looks there's no question it's the latter. She doesn't look Russian in the slightest; wrong cheekbones and nose. And it would be a good guess she's foreign-born, as linguistic oddities like this usually get drilled out of American-born kids at a fairly early age.
As for other famous 'k' users, I can think of two. The queen would have to be Zsa Zsa Gabor, she of the famous Dahlink!, born to a Jewish family in Hungary. Here's Dame Edna (Australia's answer to Barbara Walters) commenting on it:
And that brings us to the hottest Jewess to ever grace the TV screen, Fran Drescher in The Nanny. Under the heading "Don't get me started", don't get me started. I could write for hours about this wonderful show.
To highlight just two things:
— Running for six years through the mid-90's, this show represents the end of a television era, when anyone was fair game. They mocked Jews, Gentiles, Muslims, Zoroastrians, blacks, gays, Democratic presidents (Clinton), their fellow Hollywood actors, and any other subject you'd care to name that would be untouchable by today's politically-correct standards.
— It wouldn't surprise me to find out the mid-90's were the height of Anglo-Judaic relations in America, and — like around the world — has been steadily declining ever since. Certainly anyone watching this particular show came away with the impression that Jewish families, while quirky, were wonderfully warm and sensitive and caring, and that Jewish people have a brilliance and pragmatism that often gets right to the heart of the matter. While they constantly made Fran out to be naive...
Mr. Sheffield: "Miss Fine, I've just had an epiphany."
Fran: "Oh, those can be painful! Do you want some ice for it?"
...it was done because she came from the sheltered world-within-a-world of Queens, NY. But, as the show loved to prove, it was her Jewish 'street smarts' that usually extricated them from the latest dilemma with three minutes to spare.
Here's our saucy Jewess pronouncingk the words "charmingk", "thinkingk", "goingk", "wrongk" and "meetingk". The "meetingk" is particularly revealing because it shows this isn't just some verbal tic that happens at the end of a sentence, but something truly ingrained into the lexicon.
Yes, that was Eric Estrada, he of the 1000-watt smile. No, that's not her real voice.
Did you catch the quick little glance she gave us at the very end? They didn't do it often, maybe once a show, and only Fran did it. Just a quick shout-out to the audience to let us know we weren't forgotten. The show was marvelously done on a number of levels.
The first three seasons are available on Netflix. Why they haven't released the last three seasons for a show that aired almost twenty years ago is anybody's guess, but this weirdness happens all the time. I bought the whole set years ago from some fearless pirate up in Canada, so it's around.
Well, be seeingk you!
Posted by Dr. Mercury in The Culture, "Culture," Pop Culture and Recreation at 10:00 | Comments (16) | Trackbacks (0)
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Really? Damn, that'll teach me not to pay more attention to Australian TV talk shows. Text has been changed, and thanks.
I think Charlize Theron is even more impressive. She came to the US in 1994 and did not speak English. She is from South Africa and her fist language is Afrikaans. Her soft Southern lilt in The Legend of Bagger Vance is enough to make a young boy dream of Savannah...
Wow, that is impressive. I had no idea she was foreign-born. As far as I recall, she doesn't have a hint of an accent. Thanks for the interesting tidbit. I re-watched 'Aeon Flux' just the other night, always a winner.
My recollection of Russian accents is from Rocky and Bullwinkle, where Natasha referred to Boris as "Dahlink."
Hey, good call, I remember that. Also, I was watching "2010: The Year We Make Contact" the other night, and the older Russian female added the background 'k' sound to some of her words.
ok you gotta answer these instantly, first thoughts only:
What does S-P-O-T spell?
What do you do when you come to a green light?
What does S-I-L-K spell?
What does a cow drink?
You probably said 'stop' and 'milk'. American do almost invariably --but not my Russian-born and Japanese-born son and daughter in laws (yes, paterfamilias of mini UN here). Tho their English is perfect, tho they're both so smart they Gomer Pyle-ize yours truly, they have no auto-idiom shortcuts wired in. Language is so mysterious --invisible builder of civilization --the brain's self-made environment, and it fits into that tiny space between the two reaching fingertips in the center of that painting on the ceiling ('sealing') of the Sistine chapel.
Hah! Thought you could fool the ol' Doc, didn't you? Well, Mr. Smarty Pants, I answered "stop" and "milk", proving that I'm just like everybody else! Hah, I say again!
Very clever, and I liked your follow-up comments. Speaking of
English, did you ever see this? The "historical/history" thing really boggles the mind.
Great essay, Doc --off it wings to the in-laws. I may get back a couple emails in Cyrillic and Kanji, at which point I'll send back in English "Great ! Thank you! Enjoyed that very much!" --then learn weeks later from my kids that what they'd sent was news that someone I'd met at the wedding had died and a close cousin had contacted lung cancer.
Flammable and inflammable, the essay could add, and orta, as a public safety service.
And why isn't 'phonetic' spelled phonetically?
yesterday's the past
tomorrow's the future
today is a gift
that's why it's the present!
Fran Drescher's a knock out in my book. She always reminds me of Lucille Ball, they were both pretty girls willing to act like 'clowns' with wild facial expressions, whining noises and pratfalls. Good on 'em both.
I'd never thought of it before -- that's a marvelous comparison. And you're right -- because 'I Love Lucy' is what we picture when we think of Lucille Ball, we have that frumpy image in our mind. But a Google Images search pulls up some pretty nice shots, like this beguiling little number.
Glad you enjoyed the post. It was fun to put together.
She was definitely born anywhere other than in Del Rio, Texas.
If you ever catch one of Lucille Ball's early movies --TCM runs 'em once in awhile --she was an absolute knockout --even in black & white playing a bit part behind whatser name.
I mean no offense here Doc, but anybody who follows the Star Wars universe knew (1) Portman is Jewish (2) she was born in Israel. This isn't exactly a secret.
Here's one for you - how was Natalie Portman originally "discovered"? It's a classic.
That's why I said "judging only from this clip".
I saw a video of Portman speaking Hebrew. It was quite interesting. But how was Portman originally discovered? Gonna wik it out.