Los Angeles and the Mid-Atlantic Accent

What was once a prominent accent within the upper class, theater, and the American film industry of the 1930s and 40s, the mid-Atlantic accent has since lost its prevalence. However, that’s not to say the accent isn’t still used today. Though it hardly outgrew Los Angeles’ film production, the mid-Atlantic accent has been used in media more recently to achieve a stylistic effect. With Los Angeles remaining a booming city for the film and media industry, voice talent for this accent is still sought after today.

At Creative Media Design in New York City, we work with mid-Atlantic accent voice over talent aplenty. This distinguished accent can provide the perfect touch to a variety of media productions and, even if you’re located in the Los Angeles area, CMD can still supply you with the perfect talent for your next production. Take a moment to familiarize yourself with this classic accent so you can determine whether or not it’d be a good fit for your brand’s image.

The Mid-Atlantic Accent: Los Angeles Origins

Though it may not have directly emerged from Los Angeles, the mid-Atlantic accent was certainly popularized in Hollywood’s film industry of the 1930s and 40s. In terms of its origins, the accent was consciously acquired in the early 1900s with intentions of blending the speech of American and British pronunciation. Simply put, the accent is all but natural. Also referred to as a transatlantic accent, it was developed to be understood by both Americans and the British.

Early uses of the mid-Atlantic accent existed within elite cultures, such as political figures and upper-class American citizen, and the aforementioned film industry. It was actually taught in acting schools in the early 1900s. By the 1930s, the accent became typical of Los Angeles and Hollywood actors. In short, a majority of the films in the 1930s and 40s utilized the accent, most likely due to its elegant sound and lack of geographical origin. But its elegant sound isn’t the only favorable characteristic.

Characteristics of the Mid-Atlantic Accent

In addition to the appealing sound of the mid-Atlantic accent, there are some other distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from other speeches and pronunciations. Carefully taught within American boarding schools and theater, this interesting accent has been described in a variety of ways. Today, many ask why early film actors talk so weird, but others don’t see it that way. Here are some defining characteristics of the mid-Atlantic accent:

  • Combination of UK and US accents

  • A non-rhotic accent (dropping the R sound when it doesn’t precede a vowel)

  • Features quasi-British elements

  • Long A words like “father” are rounded to sound more like “fawther”

By simply searching Katharine Hepburn, you can get a great example of the mid-Atlantic accent. You can also check out our voice talent page to hear some great examples.

Let us Cast the Perfect Accent for You Today!

While its popularity dropped following World War II, the mid-Atlantic accent remains an interesting and often-sought-after sound in a range of productions. Its unique origins make it like none other, not to mention its history. If you think you’ve got the accent dialed, let us hear it and fill out our new talent form.

If you’re interested in having CMD cast and record a mid-Atlantic VO talent for your next production, be sure to contact us here or give us a call at 212.213.9420. While located in NYC, we have the ability to work with businesses across the country, including Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago, and more!