I’ve got an ear for accents and I delight in listening to them, placing them. Quite naturally, I’m somewhat of an expert in Canadian accents, and please notice the plural there. There is no more one single, defining Canadian accent than there is a single defining American or French accent. But, of course, there are some mannerisms and characteristics that one might call typically Canadian or American–vocal markers. There are a few of these markers that always leap out at me, and make me cry “Aha! A Canadian!” I’m sure I have a few false negatives here and there, that is, I miss out on the clues and don’t notice a Canadian. But my false positive rate is about zero. Once I call it, I’m almost never wrong.
So I was almost startled to hear my detector go off in the middle of watching Star Wars II, Send in the Clones. Startled because who would think of Darth Vader as being Canadian? Well, to be honest, he wasn’t Darth yet, he was still Anakin Skywalker at the time. Something about his accent was making me prick up my ears. But I knew the truth the moment he uttered the word that always is a dead give-away: “Mum.” In the scene when he buries his mother, he most clearly makes the utterance “Mum” not “Mom” as an American future dark lord of the sith would say. Lucas has such a tin ear, I’m not surprised he missed it.
And you thought all Canadians were so polite…
UPDATE: since this movie was all about ‘splaining things, why did Lucas omit the question: just what blunt force to the head caused Yoda to forever speak with messed-up syntax? You have to thank Lucas for at least one line, which I can’t wait to see used in a presidential press conference: “But Mr. President, ‘only a Sith deals in absolutes!'”