Please don't sanitize Meghan Markle

If the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, the rain on the grounds of Kensington Palace will fall in a markedly ...

Posted: Feb 16, 2018 6:14 PM
Updated: Feb 16, 2018 6:14 PM

If the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain, the rain on the grounds of Kensington Palace will fall in a markedly similar fashion.

And it will fall in an identical accent to this line -- fed to Eliza Doolittle by Henry Higgins during her elocution lessons in My Fair Lady -- if Buckingham Palace gets its hands on the larynx of Meghan Markle.

The royal bride-to-be is, according to reports in the British tabloids earlier this week, undergoing elocution and etiquette lessons. "She simply cannot be 'taking out the trash' and 'wearing pants,'" a royal source was quoted as saying.

If true, this is a great shame. The very essence of what makes us human is language -- the vocabulary we select and the accent in which we deliver it. It's what characterizes and differentiates us. It was surely a factor in Prince Harry's attraction to Meghan in the first place.

The modern image the Palace is trying to cultivate would also be blemished if this is true. It would be a regressive step to sanitize and anglicize Markle -- her American dulcet tones are a crucial part of what make her sparkle. It could be that the Palace balked at the first American accent to grace their grounds since the problematic Wallis Simpson. But by doing so, they ignore a gratifying linguistic trend.

The Queen's English is dying out -- if not grammatically, then melodically. It was once the case that the RP accent -- received pronunciation -- was the domain of every British newsreader (especially on the BBC). It was the holy grail of accents: neutral, trustworthy, authoritative, but utterly dull.

That was during a time when accents were thought to denote character traits, including intelligence and articulateness. It's a time the Palace refuses to accept has been and gone.

Education was restricted to the elite. Beautiful, mellifluous and sesquipedalian words were therefore the exclusive domain of the privileged, with their clipped, cut-glass accents.

But as access to education opened, a linguistic phenomenon flourished: eloquence without elocution. It's a delightful juxtaposition, and a hallmark of the current generation of writers, speakers and language lovers.

Something superbly democratic has happened: Access to the words previously roped off in the VIP enclave is now available to people who pronounce them altogether differently. It reinvigorates the previously pretentious with a rougher, cooler edge.

The redistribution of language isn't confined to accent. It also stretches to argot -- the terminology that differentiates a particular group. American argot is the diction that has Markle sit her fanny on a chair (her bottom, after finishing school anglicizes her). We hear eloquence in all accents, patois from every corner.

As Jamila Lysicott eloquently asks in her TED talk, Three Ways to Speak English, who controls articulation? Articulate, as a compliment, has been conventionally perceived as being owned by posh white men.

It overlooks the ever-transforming nature of language and the creativity of colloquial patois used by different groups to develop kinship with others of their race, religion, age, social class or sexual orientation -- from hip-hop to street slang; Yiddish to Polari.

A diversity of accents within the Monarchy, and wider society, reveals that education and eloquence aren't owned by the British aristocracy. These traits can exist in America and Australia.

I just hope someone tells the Palace.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 319115

Reported Deaths: 7353
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22246264
Hinds20612421
Harrison18342316
Rankin13855282
Jackson13666248
Madison10213224
Lee10050176
Jones8452167
Forrest7810153
Lauderdale7253242
Lowndes6488149
Lamar632288
Lafayette6295120
Washington5412136
Bolivar4833133
Panola4659110
Oktibbeha465898
Pearl River4591146
Marshall4571105
Warren4436121
Pontotoc424573
Union415576
Monroe4154135
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock385187
Leflore3514125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn323272
Scott319274
Yazoo313971
Adams304785
Itawamba304777
Copiah299666
Coahoma298283
Simpson297889
Tippah291168
Prentiss283361
Leake271674
Marion271280
Covington266683
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251851
Newton248563
Tishomingo230867
Winston229881
Jasper222048
Attala214973
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187454
Stone187233
Tallahatchie179941
Clarke178980
Calhoun173732
Yalobusha167740
Smith164034
Walthall135147
Greene131633
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite125942
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica107927
Jefferson Davis107633
Claiborne102930
Benton102225
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin84923
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50817
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547323

Reported Deaths: 11266
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson808021563
Mobile41925826
Madison35600522
Tuscaloosa26136458
Shelby25554254
Montgomery25067610
Baldwin21774313
Lee16234175
Calhoun14692325
Morgan14614285
Etowah14132361
Marshall12443230
Houston10748287
Elmore10295212
Limestone10180157
St. Clair10146250
Cullman9921200
Lauderdale9582248
DeKalb8955189
Talladega8441184
Walker7318279
Autauga7215113
Blount6925139
Jackson6900113
Colbert6394139
Coffee5616126
Dale4928114
Russell454441
Chilton4461116
Franklin430683
Covington4263122
Tallapoosa4117154
Escambia400280
Chambers3715123
Dallas3604156
Clarke352861
Marion3231106
Pike313978
Lawrence3121100
Winston283372
Bibb267364
Geneva256981
Marengo250565
Pickens236562
Barbour234559
Hale226578
Butler223371
Fayette217162
Henry193843
Cherokee187245
Randolph186844
Monroe179141
Washington170339
Macon163051
Clay159559
Crenshaw155057
Cleburne152543
Lamar145837
Lowndes141953
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh112930
Coosa111129
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Partly Cloudy
75° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 75°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 70°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 71°
Feels Like: 70°
Starkville
Mostly Cloudy
68° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 68°
Dry overnight with more sunshine in store for the workweek.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather