According to the data of Nancy Elliot's dissertation on rhoticity in American film actors' speech, Katherine Hepburn was totally non-rhotic speaker, but I found only two r-coloured sounds in her speech in "Bringing up Baby" and "Little Women". May be, someone edited recordings of these films, because there're loads of very weird sounds in the word "because", so the reliability of torrents is rather dubious, in my estimation.

I've been discussing this topic for a very long time, and, accordingly, I talked to a Russian phonetician. In his opinion, Katherine Hepburn's accent was totally non-rhotic in the seventies. However, the dissertation is against the above opinion. The thing is that K. Hepburn's accent was a bit rhotic in the seventies, according to the above-mentioned dissertation.

P. S. Sorry for expressing my thoughts with very complicated words. Believe you me, my speech is much better. The problem is that it's very hard to speak about sociolects, using very simple words. I hope that there're loads of users, using PRAAT, writing English texts professionally, so my present expectations are certain to be incredibly great.

1 Answer 1


Her public performance accent was a stage affectation, which she adopted via training. There are no recordings of her pre-professional voice. Interviews in the 90's indicate that off-stage, she dropped many of those characteristics. A corpus-study of her pronunciation in films isn't really a linguistic area.

  • 2
    (a) being a 'professional linguist' doesn't mean that your research is automatically correct. (b) Sociolinguistics research does not necessarily imply that there has been an empirical study (though it is likely). But looking at artificial discourse (films) to draw conclusions about an actor's speech seems rather odd. You wouldn't be able to draw any meaningful conclusions about Daniel Craig's accent by looking at "Glass Onion". Aug 24, 2023 at 8:41
  • 2
    Note: it seems that the comment I replied to has since been deleted. Aug 25, 2023 at 14:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.