Air hair lair, it’s old Plummy Voice here.
Something bizarre and almost unbelievable has happened. Something odder than Rupert Murdoch giving us “the facts Ma’am, just the facts.” Something hitherto thought less likely than Ireland winning the World Cup – the football World Cup that is – not something easy like rugby or cricket. Something even more unusual than an honest politician.
My voice has been described as “plummy”. That’s plummy as in posh, proper, dignified and authoritative – I presume. As opposed to strange, fast, incomprehensible, weird or simply Irish.
My mother will be pleased.
The outstanding judge of accent and diction who correctly identified the special qualities of my speech is Padmini. And she should know, because she was a film and stage actor. So I think we can fairly say that there can be no further debate. My plumminess is established once and for all.
We met when Padmini and her daughter Nitila took up my offer to take readers of this blog round the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy.
It was great to see them. I wrote about it here. Now Padmini has given her side of the story here. It’s odd reading about yourself – or perhaps that’s because it seems as though she’s describing someone else, who just shares my name.
But back to the plummy voices for a moment. I have experienced different reactions to my accent. When I taught English in Poland, the students found me easier to understand than any teachers from England. When I teach Bangladeshis they always know what I’m saying. It was the same in South Africa and Zimbabwe – no problem with communication. Padmini – that exalted arbiter of vocal talent – is from India.
The only time over the years that my accent has ever struck someone as a bit difficult is when that someone is English. Oi mate – as far as everyone else is concerned, it’s fine. Could it possibly be, me old China, that it’s you, not me. Time, me old son, to wash out the brigadiers.
13 responses to “Plummy voice is here”
I don’t really have an accent. I’ve been told that people from Toronto have the most neutral accents in the world. Kind of lame, really (still say “eh” a lot, though).
Now all you need to do is record your voice and reproduce it as a Podcast here on your blog…. A video might be easier then we could see you and hear your words of wisdom.
Hmm – could do – or just link to a podcast already published. But what if it included giggling? It would be awful to undermine the the wonderful picture painted by Padmini.
(And btw, I see you have a nice new picture.)
Giggling on a podcast, all the better that way we get to hear the real you.
I got tired looking at the old avatar so changed the picture.
I am oh-so-with Grannymar…a podcast and/or video is definitely in order 🙂
But if you did a podcast about your own voice, you’d be completely self-conscious, so your voice would probably become plummier as a result. The only option would be to have other people record you when you weren’t aware of it. But if you asked them to do that, you’d know…
You are so right…my husband had a colleague from England. Raju could understand what the colleague spoke only when it was on the phone!! He had a lot of problems with Aussies and their version of today (sounded like ‘to die’).
I tend to be loud! (an understatement) but I have a distinct voice. One of my stage Managers has commented that I was born after having swallowed a mike. Once at harrods, overhearing unseen my comments on Dior perfume, a friend came forward from the back of the display and said “That voice could only be Padmini!!” We were literally running into each other miles away from habitat.
Our knowledge of voices comes from films and BBC–you surely have a BBC voice and plummy to add…my compliments to your Mum and please tell her that she has well brought up her son…you are a credit to her!!
I have a pretty plummy English voice too. So which of us is plummier, I wonder? I think my posh voice arouses a bit of resentment among those who assume I’m rich and privileged, which of course I’m not.
BWT and Nick, I am told that I sound like a frog. Will that make me Plumpy?
Yep put yer mouth where yer money is. Actually I was 11 when I came to Australia and one of the blokes I work with asked me how long I’ve been in the country. He was shocked when I told him over 40 years! I think I might be a little ‘plummy’ myself. Oh Nick, you’re not plummy, you’re well spoken
And Baino’s met me so maybe I’m not so plummy then….
@ Grannymar, Baino & Holessence – Hmm – pressure building up. I’m still thinking about it. I’m still in my state of shock that my vocab which tends to include quite a bit of “aye” and “wee” has passed muster so well. Wouldn’t it be disillusioning for you if I lost my marbles just before the recording – the ones in my mouth that is.
@ Taylor – I’m afraid I have some news to break to you. You do have an accent. A Canadian one. Anyone who speaks differently from me by definition has an accent.
@ Tim – Or worse – it might become excessively whimsical. Actually that’s the norm.
@ Padmini – I’ll tell my Mum. But what were you saying in Harrods? How standards had slipped, I hope. It’s too confusing a shop for me. And I fear asphyxiation from all the ground floor perfume stands. Oh – it’s also even dearer than Oxfam.
@ Nick – I look forward to coming over to hear for myself.
Hello ye of the plummy voice!! Must admit I never thought of you as a plummy…but you can never tell can you!! I think you should be very proud of your plumminess and cultivate it profusely!! 🙂 Congratulations Plummy One!