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Regional accents of Golarion


Pathfinder Campaign Setting General Discussion


I was wondering if anyone had any ideas for what regional accents certain characters in the campaign world would have. Obviously certain cultures are rooted in real world elements such as the Linnorm Kings being close to Nordic culture or Imperial Cheliax resembling a decadent roman empire. You could therefor inmate italian for cheliax or Norwegian/Scandinavian for people of the North.

For some reason I imagine the people of Ustalav to have a thick cockney English accent, I think this would work well for the Carrion Crown horror themes. Taldor would be another old English accent for me.

This topic does not necessarily imply what voice you use for NPC's at your table as I know that doing accents is not everyone's thing, just in theory what sort of accents you think characters from particular parts of the continent would have.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber

I don't know; I assumed the Ustalavians (Ustalavics?) would have an Eastern European accent; something Hungarian, or Romanian, like that.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game Subscriber

I can tell you what I do for NPCs in my game (which is set in Varisia)...

I'll preface this by saying that I personally have a partially-suppressed northern New England accent [I tend to clip my final-Rs, etc], but I'm halfway-decent with mimicing other regional accents.

Non-ethnic Varisians who live in Varisia don't have an accent (i.e. they have my accent.) Unless they live way out in the sticks, in which they'll have either a Canadian or Downeast accent (depending on my whim at the time.)

Taldans have a slight US southern accent.

Andorren have a "network standard" American accent.

Aristocrats from Magnimar speak with a Boston Brahmin accent.

I give Chelaxians a prim-and-proper British accent.

And some accents I don't bother with any more...

I had Shoanti speak with a Native American accent, but one of my players told me that my version of the accent sounded like the borderline-racist fake "Indian" accent from 1950s Westerns. I don't have them speak in an accent any more.

I had also given ethnic Varisians have a vaguely eastern European accent. I tend not to use this one any more, though, because I've been told that I don't do a very good job with this accent. My players said that the accent tends to vary between Russian, Yiddish, and Jamaican, sometimes within the same sentence, and it gets distracting.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
Haladir wrote:


I give Chelaxians a prim-and-proper British accent.

This always bothers me. I know what you mean but it isn't a British accent. A 'prim and proper' Scot, Welshman or N.Irishman won't have the accent of an American film villain. It's an small subset of 'prim and proper' English, namely Received Pronunciation. England likely has more regional variation in accents that the US despite the disparity in sizes of the countries. [/me being a grumblestiltskin]

Sorry.


minoritarian wrote:
Haladir wrote:


I give Chelaxians a prim-and-proper British accent.

This always bothers me. I know what you mean but it isn't a British accent. A 'prim and proper' Scot, Welshman or N.Irishman won't have the accent of an American film villain. It's an small subset of 'prim and proper' English, namely Received Pronunciation. England likely has more regional variation in accents that the US despite the disparity in sizes of the countries. [/me being a grumblestiltskin]

Sorry.

That is true.

Also, Ireland is even worse.


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Here's my choices for voices, if I have to give certain NPCs thick accents.

Absalom = Any American accent

Azlanti / Thassilonian = Greek (or slightly Far-East sounding tone, more of that on Thassilonians)

Andoren = Mixed British or American (depends on region)

Chelaxian = Italian / Latin (because Ancient Rome analogy)

Taldan = Posh British or Spanish (depends on region) / Russian (Brevoy only)

Garundi = Middle-Eastern (rarely a strong accent)

Keleshite = Middle-Eastern (usually a strong accent)

Kellid = East European? (they remind me of the ancient slavic people)

Mwangi = African (rather obvious, some variance in ethnic groups)

Nidal = Finnish

Shoanti = Greek? (their native language is a mix of Thassilonian, Hallit and Varisian, so rather highlight the Thassilonian part)

Tian = Asian (depends on region, no silly racist stereotype voice acting)

Ulfen = Scandinavian (or just the voice actors from Skyrim)

Varisian = East European (highlighting the Romanian accent, especially in Ustalav)

Vudrani = Indian

I'll add others later if any come to mind. Azlant (and Thassilon to a rather limited extent) is an analogy to Atlantis, so it makes sense for them to have the Greek accent. Iblydos is not on the list, but they have a similar accent (it's the Ancient Greece of Golarion, after all), but probably should differ in some way to avoid confusion.


About the prim and proper English thing, the way English people are portrayed talking in american media is a carefully chosen accent that actors are taught in acting school, that accent does not exist in reality.

Being a "prim and proper" Scotsman myself I can say I have never heard a genuine Scottish accent in any American media, even Ewan McGreggor and Keven Mckidd change the way they talk when doing international films. I suppose it's probably he same with any accent.

Icyshadow wrote:

Here's my choices for voices, if I have to give certain NPCs thick accents.

Azlanti / Thassilonian = Greek (or slightly Far-East sounding tone, more of that on Thassilonians)

Andoren = Mixed British or American (depends on region)

Chelaxian = Italian (because Ancient Rome analogy)

Taldan = Posh British or Spanish (depends on region) / Russian (Brevoy only)

Garundi = Middle-Eastern (though never a strong accent)

Keleshite = Middle-Eastern (usually a strong accent)

Kellid = East European? (they remind me of the ancient slavic people)

Mwangi = African (rather obvious, some variance in ethnic groups)

Shoanti = Greek? (their native language is a mix of Thassilonian, Hallit and Varisian, so rather highlight the Thassilonian part)

Tian = Asian (depends on region, no silly racist stereotype voice acting)

Ulfen = Scandinavian (or just the voice actors from Skyrim)

Varisian = East European (highlighting the Romanian accent)

Vudrani = Indian (kind of obvious)

I'll add others later if any come to mind. Azlant (and Thassilon to a rather limited extent) is an analogy to Atlantis, so it makes sense for them to have the Greek accent. Iblydos is not on the list, but they have a similar accent (it's the Ancient Greece of Golarion, after all), but probably should differ in some way to avoid confusion.

I like all of your choices very much, especially Russian for Brevoy.


Thank you. I should touch up on the accents next time I happen to be DM.

I even had some ideas for other language-related things, but those are in need of a separate thread.


Citizens of Alkenstar should have a thick Texan accent. Especially the Shield Marshals.

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber Subscriber
Jacen wrote:


About the prim and proper English thing, the way English people are portrayed talking in american media is a carefully chosen accent that actors are taught in acting school, that accent does not exist in reality.

Being a "prim and proper" Scotsman myself I can say I have never heard a genuine Scottish accent in any American media, even Ewan McGreggor and Keven Mckidd change the way they talk when doing international films. I suppose it's probably he same with any accent.

Oh no it actually does sadly. In about 0.001% of the population.

- I have a good friend who's dad is an Earl (so he's currently a Viscount of the court I think...). I was invited to a house party of theirs for new years. Most of the guests there were nobility and they had 'that' accent (and their accent and word choice meant I understood 1/3 of what they said). It does exist, but it's hidden away from us plebs except for Lizzy's christmas speech.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
minoritarian wrote:
Haladir wrote:


I give Chelaxians a prim-and-proper British accent.

This always bothers me. I know what you mean but it isn't a British accent. A 'prim and proper' Scot, Welshman or N.Irishman won't have the accent of an American film villain. It's an small subset of 'prim and proper' English, namely Received Pronunciation. England likely has more regional variation in accents that the US despite the disparity in sizes of the countries. [/me being a grumblestiltskin]

Sorry.

Fine. You're probably right about the Pseudo-British accent that American film villains use as being quite artificial. But you're probably wrong about the diversity of American accents. Most of them don't make it onto TV either, and the "network standard" American accent you hear in film is, likewise, an artificial generic Northern US accent that is taught in theatre arts and broadcasting

In the US, there are scores of distinct regional accents, falling into at least six major categories. But a linguistics lesson is beyond the scope of this discussion. All I have to say is that I often cringe when I hear an American character speak in a British TV show: they never get the accent quite right. Of course, British and Australian actors on US TV usually pass-- I imagine they just have better Anerican language coaches.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
minoritarian wrote:
Haladir wrote:


I give Chelaxians a prim-and-proper British accent.

This always bothers me. I know what you mean but it isn't a British accent. A 'prim and proper' Scot, Welshman or N.Irishman won't have the accent of an American film villain. It's an small subset of 'prim and proper' English, namely Received Pronunciation. England likely has more regional variation in accents that the US despite the disparity in sizes of the countries. [/me being a grumblestiltskin]

Sorry.

Fine. I do confess to committing the American sin of using the words "English" and "British" interchangibly, and I think that was what you were getting at. (It's like when Anericans from the South cringe when they're called "Yankees.")

You're probably right about the pseudo-English aristocratic accent that American film villains use as being quite artificial. I'll take your word at that, never having spent more than 5 days in the UK-- and all of that at a conference in London, more than a decade ago.

But for that urbane and erudite film villain, a Cockney, Welsh, Cornwall, or Liverpool accent wouldn't carry the right gravitas.

I think that you're wrong about the lack of diversity of American regional accents. Most of them don't make it onto TV either, and the "network standard" American accent you hear in film is, likewise, an artificial generic Northern US accent that is taught in theatre arts and broadcasting schools.

In the US, there are scores of distinct regional accents, falling into at least six major categories. But a linguistics lesson is beyond the scope of this discussion. All I have to say is that I often cringe when I hear an American character speak in a British TV show: they never get the accent quite right. Specifically, they often mix-and-match components of different regional accents into one that nobody speaks-- and it just sounds wrong. (I'm thinking of every single CIA agent in Spooks for example.) Of course, British and Australian actors on US TV usually pass-- I imagine they just have better Anerican language coaches.


As a Canadian looking objectively at both countries I can definitely concur that Great Britain and America each have over a dozen different accents easy. I used to work in tourism years ago and we'd get hundreds of people from both countries. The amount of variation I would hear was astounding.

@ Haladir: Though I must ask, why do you specifically focus on American accents for most of your Inner Sea Region ethnic groups? Not judging, just curious.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Roleplaying Game Subscriber
The Block Knight wrote:

As a Canadian looking objectively at both countries I can definitely concur that Great Britain and America each have over a dozen different accents easy. I used to work in tourism years ago and we'd get hundreds of people from both countries. The amount of variation I would hear was astounding.

@ Haladir: Though I must ask, why do you specifically focus on American accents for most of your Inner Sea Region ethnic groups? Not judging, just curious.

Sorry for the (mostly) double-post. Editing on an iPhone gets a bit dicey sometimes.

Why mostly American accents? Because I'm better at doing other American regional accents than foreign accents.

Also, several of the countries in question speak Taldan as their native language (Varisia, Taldor, Cheliax, Andorran), so different accents of the same language seem appropriate.


I figured as much (about the accents, not the iPhone). Makes sense to me.

The Exchange

All my Orcs sound like Antonio Banderas...

I don't know why, they just do.

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Haladir wrote:
minoritarian wrote:
Haladir wrote:


I give Chelaxians a prim-and-proper British accent.

This always bothers me. I know what you mean but it isn't a British accent. A 'prim and proper' Scot, Welshman or N.Irishman won't have the accent of an American film villain. It's an small subset of 'prim and proper' English, namely Received Pronunciation. England likely has more regional variation in accents that the US despite the disparity in sizes of the countries. [/me being a grumblestiltskin]

Sorry.

Fine. You're probably right about the Pseudo-British accent that American film villains use as being quite artificial. But you're probably wrong about the diversity of American accents. Most of them don't make it onto TV either, and the "network standard" American accent you hear in film is, likewise, an artificial generic Northern US accent that is taught in theatre arts and broadcasting

In the US, there are scores of distinct regional accents, falling into at least six major categories. But a linguistics lesson is beyond the scope of this discussion. All I have to say is that I often cringe when I hear an American character speak in a British TV show: they never get the accent quite right. Of course, British and Australian actors on US TV usually pass-- I imagine they just have better Anerican language coaches.

Given that, accent-wise, people on TV generally talk like I do, and like most people where I am from, namely the MidWest, I hardly consider it artificial.

EDIT I am refering to your description of 'the "network standard" American accent you hear in film' as artificial.


Tahirah wrote:

All my Orcs sound like Antonio Banderas...

I don't know why, they just do.

This made me chuckle.

All my Goblins sound like Stitch (from Lilo and Stitch).

The Exchange

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Just found this thread. Given Britain's imperial history and the way that Taldan is the lingua franca of Golarion, I can see why people see Taldan as upper class English.

For me though I tend to see them as Austrian, the historical analogy being the pan European Holy Roman Empire. The place that still had an absolute monarchy based on the divine right of kings upto 1918! Vienna as Oppera always seemed a good fit. So I tend to give them a softish German accent.

W


I think the best language / dialect for Galt would be French, because of the reference to the revolution, including the guillotine.

I'd see Taldor as a reference to Greece, especially due to the titles, such as "High Strategos Maxillar Pythareus", with perhaps also allusions to Rome.

Grand Lodge

Haladir wrote:


I had Shoanti speak with a Native American accent, but one of my players told me that my version of the accent sounded like the borderline-racist fake "Indian" accent from 1950s Westerns. I don't have them speak in an accent any more.

I have had this experience too. Adding an accent to the Shoanti has resulted in a lot of unintentional racism. My solution to this. I am word by word creating a small list of words in the shoanti language and an alphabet with phonetics for each letter. I then apply the phonetics to my own standard American and it creates an accent, I then smooth it out to sound less forced. It requires a little practice. The language thing sounds like work but it isn't really, I don't do it all in one shot, I invent words and sounds as I go and let the accents form organically. For now my Shoanti characters end up with stoic and paced phrasings and lower register voices, and I had word sounds as I go creating unique accents.

How this is working in Runelords:
So far the party has only met regionalized Shoanti so the evolution of the voices isn't evident but as they meet wilderness Shoanti the voices will change and become more accented created an accent without real-world racial bias.

This in-game side project makes me want to take a linguistics or an acting class and read up a bit more on accents, maybe pick up an accent phrase book.


I won't have to worry about that, being Finnish and all.

Also, if I DM Curse of the Crimson Throne, I'll just speak Hebrew to make the language barrier if nobody can speak Shoanti.

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

Icyshadow wrote:

Here's my choices for voices, if I have to give certain NPCs thick accents.

Nidal = Finnish

What. Now for this, I wanna hear some explanation :D


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This place is dark, cold and generally secretive about who's in charge of what. Plus I imagined a character of mine who happens to be a Cleric of Zon-Kuthon relaxing in a sauna once. I think the main difference between Nidal and Finland is that the former doesn't have Leipäjuusto or alcohol, so they're even gloomier than a Finnish guy with nothing to drink :P


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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber, Campaign Setting, Modules, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Deluxe Comics Subscriber

The Finnish-teacher at the school I worked at a few years ago after she'd been visiting her relatives in the old country during the summer:

"You Swedes think we Finns just sit around in lonely cottages in the forest all week and then when we go dancing on Saturdays it's all getting drunk and having knife-fights. And let me tell you, that's exactly what it's like!"

(To be fair, though, that's a fair description of rural Sweden too.)

Dark Archive Vendor - Fantasiapelit Tampere

^^Okay, fits. Why not? To me, Nirmathas is pretty close to Finland (climate, rebellious spirit of winter war and in that one module there were a whole bunch of villagers with Finnish names.) and let's not forget,in the crown of the world there's a place called Helsingbyen :P


I don't think Humppa would be popular in Nidal, though.


DM Barcas wrote:
Citizens of Alkenstar should have a thick Texan accent. Especially the Shield Marshals.

Except Alkenstar's population is 90% Keleshite and the rest are Garundi. I have no idea where Alkenstar's "Wild West" theme comes from. I don't even think there's a picture of a Keleshite gunslinger anywhere yet. Lirianne's colouration suggests her human side is from north of the inner sea, same with the Shieldmarshal.


I'm running a Skull & Shackles game. In my game, people from the Shackles speak "pirate" to cockney British and Irish. Andorans more like "average guy" to cultured British. Taldans sound upper crust British. People from the Mwangi Expanse speak something like Jamaicans. Sargavans are more like Afrikaans. Rahadoumi I aim for north African but sound more Middle Eastern. Chelaxians sounds Spanish all the way. I'd play people from Galt as French... I'd probably play people from Druma with the same accent as well.


Jacen wrote:
the way English people are portrayed talking in american media is a carefully chosen accent that actors are taught in acting school, that accent does not exist in reality.

One begs to differ. It comes out of my mouth whenever I speak, and I never went to acting school don't you know.

Liberty's Edge

One consideration that I think makes a culture believable is use of idioms. Even a list of 5 or 6 per culture will make things go a long way.

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