Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday Discussion: Dwarves With Scottish Accents

As on nearly every Friday here at RPG Blog 2, we greet the weekend with a little Friday Discussion. Nothing too heavy, nothing too serious, just gamers talking about gamer stuff.

But today’s topic is a serious one, one that has driven countless gamers apart over the years. It leads gamers to distraction, and is the basis of a bitter debate that has lasted until this day. Our Friday Discussion Question Is:

Should Dwarves Have Scottish Accents?

This, of course, assumes they do not hail from Scotland. But it is a well-known fact that countless dwarven characters have been stricken with a Scottish brogue over the years. Where do you stand on this incredibly important issue? However you answer on this hard-hitting issue, I still wish you a great weekend, and a Happy Halloween!

28 comments:

Bob said...

I've always thought of them having a very germanic/nordic sound to their language. Something a bit more harsh than Scottish.

In saying that I think my main grumble with dwarves being played as Scottish is that as a Scot myself I've yet to hear a convincing faked Scottish accent that doesn't sound as though it's from Brigadoon or Ballamory.

And just where abouts in Scotland are they supposed to be from? The accent changes that much that someone on the West coast can have great difficulty understanding people from elsewhere.

Bah!

If a Dwarf is to have a Scot's accent I'd rather they sounded like Begby from Trainspotting than James Bond from the Connery years. Has to be harsh and guttural.

Norman Harman said...

Bah, accent doesn't matter. Real Dwarves don't waste mincing words they proceed directly to the smashing of heads with large implements.

Bob said...

thats if you can get them to stop counting their gold.

Gleichman said...

So Bob, you're complaining about a fictional race using a pop-culture (i.e. fictional) version of the Scottish accent.

Off hand, I'd call that overthinking the subject. Or perhaps carrying a chip on the shoulder a bit too far.

As to the original question, of course the fake Scottish accent is proper for any good dwarf. The Lord of the Rings movies locked that into a required tradition.

Anyone disagreeing with have to deal with my Axe!

Bob said...

Yeah the lord of the rings just didn't sound right to my ears though. The Scot's tongue is too soft for a Dwarf.

I'm just waiting for them to start spouting 'Och Aye' or 'See you Jimmy' when the The Hobbit finally makes it onto the silver screen.

Rob Conley said...

Th' ainlie characters that shuid be using Scots accents shuid be highlanders. Dwarves dae nae wear th' kilt or dirk. Thay ur nae highlanders.

Translation courtesy of
http://www.scotranslate.com/

jamused said...

eh, it's amusing and it passes the test for character accents: it's easy enough for amateurs to produce recognizably. It matters not at all whether it's authentic, only that the audience can recognize it. The fact that people know it's inauthentic may actually be a feature: people who are much too self-conscious to attempt an accent where they might be judged against the real world seem to be comfortable with doing the over-the-top parody accents: och aye Scottish, oh I say English, ve haff vays German, I shall taunt you a second time French, bork-bork-bork Swedish, keel moose and squirrel Russian, arrr me hearties Pirate, fur shur rilly Valley Girl...

and it's really useful for people to be able to recognize what fantasy race is being portrayed by accent alone.

rologutwein said...

And all of zis brings up zee question of whethair or not zee tree hugging Elves should 'ave ze outRAGEous Fronch Accents! Oui!?

Bob said...

@Rob - to be fair real highlanders never wore kilts ;) They wore the plaid. And I can't see Dwarves stripping off until they only wore a shirt before going into battle.

Kilts as we know them didn't really show up until the late 17th century.

Dwarves and the imagery associated with them have always looked nordic in origin to me. Horned helmets (no matter how historically inaccurate that is) and axes and hammers just shouts Vikings to me.

rainswept said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HinterWelt said...

A fine German accent is the ONLY way to go! ;)

noisms said...

All you people arguing that Scottish accents aren't harsh enough for dwarves have clearly never been to Glasgow!

Also, Gimli from the LOTR films didn't even speak Scottish - if anything he sounded more like he was from the Welsh valleys.

I prefer Nordic or Germanic dwarves myself. I suspect ones tolerance for the "Scottish dwarf" depends on whether or not you're Scottish. I'm only half Scottish (nobody's perfect) but it's enough for me to despise fake Scotch accents.

Bob said...

Noisms...I live 7 miles outside Glasgow :p

That's why I suggested Begbie as a possibly rolemodel as he sounds more glaswegian than east coast.

rologutwein said...

In all 'seriousness', I've always thought of Dwarves as Germanic/Nordic, too. In my gameworld that I've been tinkering with, however, Dwarves generally tend to conform to whatever societies are around them. There are Nordic Dwarves, Germanic types, Scott types...but also some Russian and even middle-eastern types. Why wouldn't they have the variety of human-type accents?

Zzarchov said...

In my game world there are several branches of dwarves:

The Deep Dwarves (Nordic, humourless and honourbound) expect norwegian accents.

The Mountain Dwarves (Germanic, dour, fond of gunpowder) , expect German accents.

The Hill Dwarves (Scottish, Rambunxious and fond of alcohol), expect bagpipes and scottish accents.

The Cave Dwarves (Himalyan, Stone Age and Hedonistic) expect a lot of bad tibetan accents.

stirgessuck said...

They should have Jewish accents, of course. Tolkien even says they're the Jews of Middle-Earth: "I do think of the 'Dwarves' like Jews: at once native and alien in their habitations, speaking the languages of the country, but with an accent due to their own private tongue..."

1d30 said...

I always felt either Scandinavian (Finland especially), Romanian Gypsy, or Slavic. Because I'm an English-speaker in America I tend to make my Human NPCs the "normal" and talk just like we do. Other races, in order to feel more foreign and mysterious, have different accents.

I didn't mean to do this. I guess it just kind of worked out that way.

Stuart said...

Not a fan of the Scottish Dwarf thing. It's right up there with bad Monty Python impressions.

Schuyler said...

Just to place my own two cents in I have to agree with what a few have said and say the Dwarves need Russian accents. A dwarf in a Ushanka doing the Kalinka with a bottle of harsh liquor (Vodka) in hand. I think that pretty much describes my view of dwarves when they are not warring or mineing.

rologutwein said...

Stuart! I fart your general direc- wait. No. It was a bad impression, I admit.

Ryan said...

I'm tired of Scottish dwarves.

I do like this idea of Russian sounding dwarves, though...

Gleichman said...

Time for a very non-PC view of the subject.

The scottish accent has become the default because the type-casting fits, i.e. good natured people who will react to an affront with force who are also gifted craftsmen. They also enjoy their money and spirits.

German and Norse almost work, but both imply that they will invade, kill you and carry off your women without any real cause. Not a good model for a dwarf.

When picking something from the real world to represent something fictional- it should represent what you're using it for.

Stuart said...

Funny how people rarely suggest making Dwarves sound: Chinese, African, Indian, etc. :)

David said...

In my campaign world, the Dwarves are French. They drink wine and clan names are taken from cheeses.

szilard said...

I think that having dwarves sound Scottish is fine... provided that they are culturally anything but...

If, however, dwarves in your game are heavily culturally influenced by Scottish stereotypes, you should change their accents to something incongruous. It is more fun that way.

My take on dwarves.

Gleichman said...

Huge fan of the bait and switch are you szilard?

Work in marketing perhaps? Or maybe politics?

Norman Harman said...

Perhaps this interactive map of UK accents will help befuddle the issue.

Hammer said...

I would just go further on the Scots accent thing and say that more TV/movie Dwarfs seem to use Lothian, Edinburgh or Boarders accent. None of those, expecting possibly Edinburgh which could probably have been a Dwarf city, have any real connection to Dwarfy things like mining.