No Doot Aboot It

I regularly do voice work that is played only on US radio stations.

Because I switch back and forth between US and Canadian scripts I sometimes have to record a do-over because of the “aboot”. I never used to be able to hear what Americans made fun of in the way we pronounce about, out…gout…which, by the way, doesn’t often appear in commercial copy. But I hear it now. And if I don’t catch it my producer will!

We recently discussed this over dinner with our friend Eddie who is an insanely talented Canadian residing in the US and making his living in the entertainment industry; radio, writing, movies – most notably and recently in a feature role in Drew Barrymore’s Whip It. “Dollar” is a word that easily reveals which side of the 49th parallel you hail from. Ed advises saying it as if it’s spelled dallar. We are also particular in the way we hit the hard r while they tend not to. They say foy-er while we pronounce it foy-yay. In order to nail the American way, “about” has to come out less deliberately than usual. Relax your jaw, be a little lazy about it and say: abawt. Barely hit the “t”. You can probably come up with scads of differences in pronunciations but these one come immediately to our minds.

The aim is to sound local and not let an unfamiliar pronunciation distract from the message and when it comes to talking American, there are many little pitfalls if you’re not careful. There’s no dawt abawt it, scawt.

1 thought on “No Doot Aboot It”

  1. I work with a guy from DC; now I really notice abawt vs. aboot. It really is all about the little details sometimes, eh?

    I remember a station I used to work for that ran spots from the local bridge commission about the MaaacDahhhnahld and MaaacKay bridges. I guess it goes both ways! 🙂

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