VOTD: The Mid-Atlantic Accent, Or Why People In Classic Movies Talk In That Weird Way

For anyone who has ever seen a classic movie from the 1950s and before, at least the ones that have sound, you've probably noticed that pretty much all the actors speak in a very unique accent that doesn't sound like it comes from any particular region. It's fast-talking, usually with prominent t-sounds and dropped r-sounds at the end of words.

If you've ever thought that it's a bit strange to hear people talk like that, you're not the only one, and there's actually an explanation as to why people on movies and the radio talked like this. It's called the Mid-Atlantic accent, and you can find out more about it below.

Here's a video explaining the Mid-Atlantic accent from BrainStuff:

Named for a non-existent origin somewhere between American and Britain, the faux accent is a hybrid of each countries dialect of English, and it was even taught in schools, with some influence from the theater of high society. And since it didn't have an exact region where it came from, it is believed that's why Hollywood liked it so much, perhaps adding an heir of mystery to characters and/or celebrities.

Among classic Hollywood stars, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are the best examples of this accent in action on the big screen, but you'd be hard-pressed to find any movie from the 1930s and 1940s that didn't have this accent. But it really started to die out after World War II, mostly because it wasn't being taught in schools anymore. Plus, once stars like Humphrey Bogart came around, studios realized Americans liked seeing versions of themselves played out on the screen instead.

If you want to know more about the Mid-Atlantic accent, check out a great article examining it over at The Atlantic.