HAL 9000 had a Canadian voice, about which

University of Toronto linguistics professor Jack Chambers explained: “You have to have a computer that sounds like he’s from nowhere, or, rather, from no specific place. Standard Canadian English sounds ‘normal’ – that’s why Canadians are well received in the United States as anchormen and reporters, because the vowels don’t give away the region they come from.”

This isn’t just the accepted wisdom, it’s actual fact, as I wrote in Organizing Our Marvellous Neighbours:

As it stands, the Canadian accent isn’t dainty or broad or anything else. It’s pleasingly neutral, at least to Americans, which explains why so many Canadian broadcast journalists and actors have sought, and secured, gainful employment in the U.S. (That’s why we sound like U.S. newscasters – lots of them are Canadian.) We sound like Americans whose hometowns a listener cannot quite place. Actually, we sound like Americans whose hometowns are so noncontroversial they aren’t even worth thinking about.

I have never actually met or talked to Jack Chambers, which self-evidently makes no sense. Meanwhile, the writer of the Times piece quoted above, Gerry Flahive, turned down a documentary project of mine during his tenure at the NFB, which, in his last E‑mail, he insisted was not a funding body.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2018.04.01 17:01. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:

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None. I quit.

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