The core subject of The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010) is the relation between voice and power. In the first place we have the Duke of York’s (the future George VI’s) speech impediment and subsequent impossibility to deliver effectual messages to the nation in a particularly dramatic phase of history, the spreading of Nazism in Europe. This failure highlights, by contrast, the identification of monarchy with voice. In fact the film shows how the performative power of speech had become crucial after the invention of the wireless. The BBC, as George V states to his son on his death bed, had transformed kings into actors: elocution could either make or unmake them. Yet, these are only some of the multifaceted dynamics by which language and power are interrelated. Another important issue is the form of verbal exchange between doctor and patient, which enacts a wavering between two kinds of authority, the one possessed by right (legitimate power) and the one acquired by study and experience (expert power). Emphasis is also placed on standard English as the language traditionally associated with education, political supremacy and prestige. As an expert, the speech therapist Lionel Logue may find himself in a superior position to the stammering duke, but as an Australian he is only a subject from one of the dominions of the British Crown. The importance given to Received Pronunciation and the contempt shown towards other language variants proves how deeply embedded in language power is. Though amiably, even the ironic remarks on conversational rules made by Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, finally confirm the status quo, putting things and people back into place on the social scale. This is, ultimately, also the policy of the BBC, the institution that has been invested with the task of preserving, at once and the same time, British values and the purity of the English language.

“What Is Royalty Without a Voice?” The Performance of Power in The King’s Speech, 2015-09.

“What Is Royalty Without a Voice?” The Performance of Power in The King’s Speech

LOGALDO, MARA
2015-09

Abstract

The core subject of The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010) is the relation between voice and power. In the first place we have the Duke of York’s (the future George VI’s) speech impediment and subsequent impossibility to deliver effectual messages to the nation in a particularly dramatic phase of history, the spreading of Nazism in Europe. This failure highlights, by contrast, the identification of monarchy with voice. In fact the film shows how the performative power of speech had become crucial after the invention of the wireless. The BBC, as George V states to his son on his death bed, had transformed kings into actors: elocution could either make or unmake them. Yet, these are only some of the multifaceted dynamics by which language and power are interrelated. Another important issue is the form of verbal exchange between doctor and patient, which enacts a wavering between two kinds of authority, the one possessed by right (legitimate power) and the one acquired by study and experience (expert power). Emphasis is also placed on standard English as the language traditionally associated with education, political supremacy and prestige. As an expert, the speech therapist Lionel Logue may find himself in a superior position to the stammering duke, but as an Australian he is only a subject from one of the dominions of the British Crown. The importance given to Received Pronunciation and the contempt shown towards other language variants proves how deeply embedded in language power is. Though amiably, even the ironic remarks on conversational rules made by Elizabeth, the future Queen Mother, finally confirm the status quo, putting things and people back into place on the social scale. This is, ultimately, also the policy of the BBC, the institution that has been invested with the task of preserving, at once and the same time, British values and the purity of the English language.
eng
PÓLEMOS
DeGruyter
9
2
311
330
19
DE
internazionale
comitato scientifico
STAMPA
Settore L-LIN/12 - Lingua e Traduzione - Lingua Inglese
1
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
Performance of Power.pdf

embargo fino al 20/10/2018

452.7 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10808/11904
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact