Automatic accents

By Nic Price on 24 September 2007 — 1 min read

Do you have a lift at work? Does it have a male or female voice? Who decided that?

Does a lift in Belfast have a different accent to a lift in Manchester, Falmouth or Glasgow?

Should the automated announcements on trains change accent depending on which part of the country you’re in?

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  • I live in Belfast. The talking lifts here seem to have English accents from the south-east and a female voice. I think the spirit of liftness is a 26 year-old legal secretary from Reading who takes spinning classes and worries about how her boyfriend openly leers at other women when they are out together.

  • Dee, brilliant 😀

    Maybe we should ask our tv and radio presenters to record their voices saying “Going up”, “Doors closing”, “Fifth floor” etc.

    Like when BT got Tom Baker to do the voice for the speaking clock as The Doctor.

  • Cellobella – is that posh like Dame Edna? 😉

    Seriously though, I’m curious – what does posh Australian sound like?

  • At “Capital 95.8” Johnny Vaughan, their breakfast host, voices (one of) their lifts.

    If you ever get into their Leicester Square HQ, here’s the game to play.

    1. Go to the top floor.
    2. Have lunch in their canteen. (optional)
    3. Approach the lift, and call it
    4. When the lift appears, walk in, and say “Hello, Johnny, how are your listening figures today?”
    5. If you’ve timed it right, Johnny will answer your innocent question by saying… “Going down”.

    Laugh? I would have done, but the lasagne made me feel a bit ill. (And someone thought I was going there for a job interview.)

  • I’ll be doing some research on this one now! It’s a good question.
    In the meantime don’t you think it’s conincidental or just a tradition now that lift manufacturer’s have such a keen sense of humour? I’ve seen recently in addition to the classic lift maker Otis from Reading another branded as Schindler!

  • I don’t know if you remember but Grandpa had an atlas that mapped the erosion of local dialect and accents following the introduction of nationwide radio broadcasting by the BBC in the 20’s.

  • Simon, I didn’t see it – it sounds great, definitely one to seek out.

    The BBC has a lot to answer for 🙂

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