Great Cicero’s bleeding adenoids, have we come to this?
Linguist Dr Rob Drummond, who works at Manchester Met University, argued using accents for comedic effect in sitcoms like Fawlty Towers, where Andrew Sachs famously portrayed a clumsy Spanish waiter called Manuel, promotes ‘lazy stereotypes’ and can be ‘pretty damaging’.
Damaging to whom, exactly?
While my native accent is pure Johannesburg WASP (often mistaken for British in America, but never in Britishland), I love doing accents. While some are not so good (my Texas twang fools absolutely nobody), my Indian-, French- and even German-accented English are all pretty good. (Afrikaans-flavored English, of course, is second nature.) My Scottish accent is passable outside the U.K., but nothing beats my Australian — I’ve fooled even native Aussies into thinking I was pure Ocker, and having armed myself with some Strine slang, it’s unbeatable.
And if I live somewhere for any lengthy period of time, the native accent is easy — when I lived in north Jersey, even some of my NJ buddies could be fooled when I called them up and asked in my best Hoboken Nasal, “Yo, howya dooin’?”
So now I can’t do accents anymore, in case someone is “damaged”?