CLOSE
Original image
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (2012).
DreamWorks

Nailed It! A Dialect Coach Rates the Stars of Cinema's Most Iconic Biopics

Original image
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (2012).
DreamWorks

A great actor knows how to command a strong physical presence when they walk on set. And though it’s not necessary for every role, an actor’s ability to do a spot-on impression of someone else never hurts their credibility. As dialect coach Erik Singer illustrates in this video for WIRED, the adopted dialects we hear in some of cinema’s most iconic films are sometimes even more impressive than we realize.

After looking at clips of famous performances, like Daniel Day-Lewis’s Oscar-winning portrayal of the 16th president in Lincoln (2012) and fellow Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx’s interpretation of Ray Charles in Ray (2004), Singer broke down everything from their facial movements to their treatment of certain sounds and phrases. Among the actors he praises are Natalie Portman for her take on Jackie Kennedy’s unique way of speaking in Jackie (2016) and Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs (2015), a biopic of the Apple founder. But not all of his comments are glowing: Even for performances that he deems mostly accurate, like Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of Johnny Cash in Walk the Line (2005), he’s able to pick out the most minor discrepancies.

After watching his verdicts below, you can check out Singer’s earlier video of his thoughts on actors adopting foreign accents (not necessarily those of people in real life).

[h/t WIRED]

Original image
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (2012).
iStock
arrow
Words
'Froyo,' 'Troll,' and 'Sriracha' Added to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary
Original image
iStock

Looking for the right word to describe the time you spend drinking before heading out to a party, or a faster way to say “frozen yogurt?" Merriam-Webster is here to help. The 189-year-old English vocabulary giant has just added 250 new words and definitions to their online dictionary, including pregame and froyo.

New words come and go quickly, and it’s Merriam-Webster’s job to keep tabs on the terms that have staying power. “As always, the expansion of the dictionary mirrors the expansion of the language, and reaches into all the various cubbies and corners of the lexicon,” they wrote in their announcement.

Froyo is just one of the recent additions to come from the culinary world. Bibimbap, a Korean rice dish; choux pastry, a type of dough; and sriracha, a Thai chili sauce that’s been around for decades but has just recently exploded in the U.S., are now all listed on Merriam-Webster's website.

Of course, the internet was once again a major contributor to this most recent batch of words. Some new terms, like ransomware (“malware that requires the victim to pay a ransom to access encrypted files”) come from the tech world, while words like troll ("to harass, criticize, or antagonize [someone] especially by provocatively disparaging or mocking public statements, postings, or acts”) were born on social media. Then there’s the Internet of Things, a concept that shifts the web off our phones and computers and into our appliances.

Hive mind, dog whistle, and working memory are just a few of the new entries to receive the Merriam-Webster stamp of approval. To learn more about how some words make it into the dictionary while others get left out, check these behind-the-scenes secrets of dictionary editors.

Original image
Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln (2012).
iStock
arrow
Words
How New Words Become Mainstream
Original image
iStock

If you used the words jeggings, muggle, or binge-watch in a sentence 30 years ago, you would have likely been met with stares of confusion. But today these words are common enough to hold spots in the Oxford English Dictionary. Such lingo is a sign that English, as well as any other modern language, is constantly evolving. But the path a word takes to enter the general lexicon isn’t always a straightforward one.

In the video below, TED-Ed lays out how some new words become part of our everyday speech while others fade into obscurity. Some words used by English speakers are borrowed from other languages, like mosquito (Spanish), avatar (Sanskrit), and prairie (French). Other “new” words are actually old ones that have developed different meanings over time. Nice, for example, used to only mean silly, foolish, or ignorant, and meat was used as blanket term to describe any solid food given to livestock.

The internet alone is responsible for a whole new section of our vocabulary, but even the words most exclusive to the web aren’t always original. For instance, the word meme was first used by Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book The Selfish Gene.

To learn more about the true origins of the words we use on a regular basis, check out the full story from TED-Ed below.

[h/t TED-Ed]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER