In compensation for yesterday's rant, have this example of why I really hope Sebastian Stan is in something (other than Captain America movies) that doesn't hoover like a nuclear-powered shop vac:


Aside from being a very pretty man, he is also very good at his job. And apparently an accent sponge.

Let's be real for a moment here. He was born in communist Romania; odds that English is his proper first language are, shall we say, low. It may not have been his second, either. "Moved to Austria when he was eight," given the time frame, sounds functionally equivalent to, "mother hauled them both out of the post-revolutionary chaos as fast as was practical," and would have dumped him into a teutophone country. At best, he might have grown up bilingual English-Romanian in an environment with, at the time, virtually no native speakers of English, and the ones he could find were overwhelmingly likely to be not American. I've no idea of the penetration of American entertainment into Romania at the time, but the whole "Communist regime" thing makes me think "not well".

(He claims to have forgotten all the German. I have no idea what his definitions of 'forgot' and 'all' are, but given the other stuff he's picked up for movie projects, I do not think they'd necessarily match anyone else's. Someone did get him to speak German on camera once; he's understandable -- his accent is not native, but not necessarily terribly American, and he gets the umlaut in "danke schön" -- and I can tell you from personal experience that when you tell someone you don't speak their language in their language, they generally don't believe you.)

I don't know when he got properly fluent in English, but he's mentioned in a few interviews that he was initially picked on in school when they got to the US for having a whacking great foreign accent. Linguistic investigations into accent formation vary in their conclusions, but the consensus is that the effort required increases asymptotically with age, and that after a certain point most people will find it effectively impossible. Twelve is pretty damn old to purge one entirely, especially if you continue to speak the original language with family or within a community -- which I would guess he does, as he still admits to knowing Romanian.

Had the internet not informed me otherwise, I'd have no idea he wasn't born and raised in the US. The Brooklynese is a put-on for Bucky, but when he speaks as himself all of his shibboleths are New York. Mainly the vowels, and consistent th-stopping. Not urban, or Long Island, but one of those bedroom suburbs in NY/NJ where a clear view of the horizon probably involves the Empire State Building. The ones that exist primarily so that you can put all of your really heavy possessions down somewhere before taking the train into the city. There are other actors I'm aware of who picked up a foreign-English accent around the same age, most notably John Barrowman, who went from Scotland to Chicago, but all of them have a couple of words that they trip on -- Stan doesn't.

Considering that one of my favorite party tricks is pinning down where people are originally from by paying attention to their English, I find this really fucking impressive. I would guess he has a particular talent for it, either innate or from banging the new accent into his own head as a kid. I've heard him do several others, including a not-New York East Coast one for Political Animals, and he flips in and out of SoCal in the clip above like he doesn't even notice.

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