Project Title

Dialect of The Coen Brothers

Presenters

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - English

Faculty Sponsor Name

Jeanne Bohannon

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Recorded sound was first incorporated within film with The Jazz Singer in 1927. Thousands of movies have been made in the near 100 years since then, and they have utilized dialogue to advance narratives and further immerse audiences within the medium. The settings and characters that exist within these stories are from all over the world, and they incorporate a large variety of languages and dialects. Two filmmakers in particular, brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, make movies that take place in vastly different and unique sections of the United States. The characters that exist within these stories, while unique and memorable in their own ways, are meant to represent the actual people from these regions. What separates the Coen Brothers from other filmmakers, is the importance they place on the dialects spoken by the actors. After multiple viewings and readings of the screenplays, this presentation will linguistically analyze the dialogue of four films by The Coen Brothers and assess whether or not the focus on dialect, can be used to advance the narrative of the story, or only exists as a part of the story’s setting. The four films: Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and No Country For Old Men take place in four vastly different parts of the country. From Minnesota to Texas and Mississippi to California, these stories contain characters with unique backgrounds and dialects that demonstrate how much normal, everyday, language can shift and transform within the borders of our own country.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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Dialect of The Coen Brothers

Recorded sound was first incorporated within film with The Jazz Singer in 1927. Thousands of movies have been made in the near 100 years since then, and they have utilized dialogue to advance narratives and further immerse audiences within the medium. The settings and characters that exist within these stories are from all over the world, and they incorporate a large variety of languages and dialects. Two filmmakers in particular, brothers, Joel and Ethan Coen, make movies that take place in vastly different and unique sections of the United States. The characters that exist within these stories, while unique and memorable in their own ways, are meant to represent the actual people from these regions. What separates the Coen Brothers from other filmmakers, is the importance they place on the dialects spoken by the actors. After multiple viewings and readings of the screenplays, this presentation will linguistically analyze the dialogue of four films by The Coen Brothers and assess whether or not the focus on dialect, can be used to advance the narrative of the story, or only exists as a part of the story’s setting. The four films: Fargo, The Big Lebowski, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, and No Country For Old Men take place in four vastly different parts of the country. From Minnesota to Texas and Mississippi to California, these stories contain characters with unique backgrounds and dialects that demonstrate how much normal, everyday, language can shift and transform within the borders of our own country.