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Linguistics expert hits out at ‘offensive’ accents in The Rings Of Power

Claire Reid

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Linguistics expert hits out at ‘offensive’ accents in The Rings Of Power

Featured Image Credit: Amazon Prime Video

The eagerly anticipated The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power has proven to be a big hit with critics and fans alike since its release - but one linguistic expert is not impressed by the show’s accents. 

The eight-episode series, which is set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, centres on the inhabitants of Middle-earth facing numerous events including the rise of the Dark Lord Sauron and the fall of the island kingdom of Númenor. You can check out the show’s trailer here: 

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Since its release on 1 September, the show has had largely positive reviews with an impressive 84 percent on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes and 6.9 on IMDB. 

However, the accents used in the show have been branded ‘lazy’ and ‘offensive’ by one expert.

The show’s Harfoots speak with Irish accents, but rather than having one specific accent, The Rings Of Power’s dialect coach Leith McPherson told Inverse that the characters speak with a more broad, generic ‘Irish base’.

She explained the characters have ‘an Irish base to their accent’ but that it doesn’t sound as though they have walked out of a ‘particular cross street in Dublin’. 

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The Harfoots speak with an 'Irish base' according to the show's dialect coach. Credit: Amazon Prime Video
The Harfoots speak with an 'Irish base' according to the show's dialect coach. Credit: Amazon Prime Video

She added: “It’s familiar, but different...It’s not like an entirely new dialect never heard on Earth before, but it is intended to have an otherness.”

But Natalie Braber, professor of linguistics at Nottingham Trent University, thinks the use of the non-specific Irish accent was ‘lazy’ and a ‘real quick shortcut’. 

She told the Guardian: “Accent is such a huge portion of who we are. To mock that, or to use that accent as shorthand for someone who is stupid, or whatever trait it is, is offensive."

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"Irish people have faced discrimination for centuries based on their identity, so I’m not surprised this has caused upset.”

A linguistic expert has called the accents 'a real shortcut'. Credit: Amazon Prime Video
A linguistic expert has called the accents 'a real shortcut'. Credit: Amazon Prime Video

Braber went on to assert her belief that accents should become protected characteristics in the same way that a person's gender, religion or sexuality is - and she thinks a change to the law could be coming. 

The expert added: “There’s no equality for accents. There’s no act that makes it illegal to discriminate against an accent in the same way that it is with age, race, gender or sexuality."

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"That will change very soon, I’m sure of it. For now, it remains immoral, but not illegal.”

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Topics: Film & TV, Amazon Prime, Lord of the Rings, Film and TV

Claire Reid
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