To put on an accent is to invite criticism. We all remember those performances in which an actor has taken a flying leap at mimicking a linguistic form that is not their own and either nailed it, or sailed so far off the side of the balance beam they’ve landed on a broken ankle. In the former camp, in my books: Kate Winslet in The Dressmaker (it’s like she was born in Australia!) and Ben Schnetzer in Pride (he’s not from Northern Ireland?!). In the latter camp, well, you should hear my “Anthony Newley’s ‘Oirish’ accent in Doctor Dolittle” impression.
That’s why when Wired teamed up with the dialect coach Eric Singer for Technique Critique, a 2016 video essay in which Singer