Whachu talkin’ ’bout, Doctor?
“I have gone Scottish! I can complain about things!” said Peter Capaldi on his debut episode of Doctor Who. Complain all you want, just try enunciating!
Yes, I know you can totally understand the new Doc because you are so worldly and love a Scottish brogue, but you can stop lying now because it’s everyone and it’s not just the Scottish accent:
“I do not believe it is purely the accent that is throwing off the American audience,” said Patricia Fletcher, a Manhattan-based voice, speech and dialect coach who counts Harvey Keitel and Lynn Redgrave among her clients.
“The actor often speaks very quickly, with a staccato rhythm and without enough attention to articulating through to the end of his thought/line,” she added. “This does promote a character choice of Doctor Who being sharp and quick-thinking, but does not help us understand what the Doctor is actually saying/thinking.”
In fact, there are plenty of Brits on Twitter doing their best Scottish impression (i.e., complaining) that have to put on closed captioning or repeatedly rewind to understand what Capaldi is saying.
Linguistics expert Prof David Crystal concurs. “There was the odd moment when I struggled to hear exactly what he was saying, so I don’t think this is exclusively a US problem.”
So don’t be embarrassed. You can’t understand him. I can’t understand him.
As one brave recapper recently said, “You can either talk in a Scottish accent or you can whisper. You can’t do both.”