smoky * accent

Thomas1

Senior Member
polszczyzna warszawska
Hello,

I’d like to know how you understand that someone has a smoky (e.g. New York) accent please. I think it means that someone speaks with tinge of X accent. It is not a strong, pronounced or heavy X accent, but transparent enough to be caught up every once in a while. It is a subtle X accent.
Another thing I’d like to know is whether this usage of smoky is common.
Here are a few examples found on Google:
“Honey,” she replied in a smoky New York accent, “as long as you vote for Bloomberg, it doesn’t matter.”
http://www.economist.com/world/unitedstates/displayStory.cfm?story_id=14803102&source=hptextfeature
I think Zeta-Jones is the epitome of Hollywood glamour...classic good looks and a smoky British accent.
http://www.whineandcheese.net/whine/2004/01/index.html
"The rabbinate has changed since the 18th and 19th centuries," she said in her cut-glass British English, tempered with a smoky Russian accent.
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/18/international/europe/18rabbi.html
Input appreciated.
 
  • timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    I think it means husky - it suggests someone who smokes a lot and so has a rough (although not necessarily unsexy) voice.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    I think the adjective "smoky" here means something like "husky" or "sultry". These words are used to to describe low voices as opposed to squeaky, high-pitched ones. "Smoky" definitely carries the idea of "sexy" and is almost always used for women's voices, as opposed to those of men. Timpeac's observation that these voices are usually ascribed to people who smoke also holds true.
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Thank you. :)
    Actually, this was my first hunch, but I thought it was less likely than the one with subtle accent.:rolleyes: Coincidentally, in all the quotes smoky reffers to a woman's accent. :thumbsup:
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I’d like to know how you understand that someone has a smoky (e.g. New York) accent please.
    First, of all, I don't think "smoky" goes with "accent." The nature of a person's voice, e.g. husky, seems, at least to me, to be associated with the vocal cords more than learned speech patterns - and thus could be associated with nearly any accent.

    Any speech experts out there?
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    First, of all, I don't think "smoky" goes with "accent." The nature of a person's voice, e.g. husky, seems, at least to me, to be associated with the vocal cords more than learned speech patterns - and thus could be associated with nearly any accent.

    Any speech experts out there?
    I'm not a speech expert, but I agree with you. Smokey describes the timbre of the voice and so would be the same whatever language the woman happened to be speaking.
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    First, of all, I don't think "smoky" goes with "accent." The nature of a person's voice, e.g. husky, seems, at least to me, to be associated with the vocal cords more than learned speech patterns - and thus could be associated with nearly any accent.

    Any speech experts out there?
    I'm not a speech expert, but I agree with you. Smokey describes the timbre of the voice and so would be the same whatever language the woman happened to be speaking.
    I'm with both of you on this one. I'd say it applies to voices and not accents.
     
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