Twitter is claiming that Meghan Markle was trying to “sound British” with her pronunciation of the word “scone,” but it’s possible that the future royal was speaking like a Canadian.
On Tuesday, Markle, who was born and raised in Los Angeles and moved to Toronto in 2011 to appear in Suits, accompanied fiancé Prince Harry to an event in Edinburgh, Scotland, when a fan named Carolyn Chisholm handed Markle a batch of heart-shaped potato scones.
Chisholm’s 70-year-old mother, Lynda Clark, was also in attendance and told reporters that when Markle handed the package to her assistant, she pronounced “scone” with a short “o,” rhyming with “gone,” rather than the long “o” sound in “bone.”
Social media reacted.
Is anyone really that surprised to hear that Meghan Markle possibly pronounced scone like “gone?” I love me some Meghan and Harry, but…exactly.
— Hornblower (@HornIsBlown) February 14, 2018
— Royal Central (@RoyalCentral) February 14, 2018
Meghan Markle is overheard pronouncing scone like a British person after she was gifted the baked treats in Scotland https://t.co/aXF05c9WtA
— Daily Mail U.K. (@DailyMailUK) February 14, 2018
However, Stefan Dollinger, associate professor of English at the University of British Columbia, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the short “O” is the Canadian pronunciation. So it’s possible that Markle was vocalizing the word out of habit, as she would at her local coffeeshop in Toronto.
And either version of the word could fly from the mouth of a Brit — a 2016 YouGov poll found that 51 percent of Brits pronounce the word to sound like “gone” and 42 percent to sound like “bone.”
What’s more, according to the Daily Mail, scone is pronounced with both a short or long “o” in various parts of the United Kingdom, so Markle’s usage was a safe bet in both England, Canada, and Scotland.
It’s possible that Markle will pick up a British dialect now that she’s moved to England ahead of her May wedding. When Madonna moved to London with her British ex-husband Guy Ritchie, she picked up an English accent. And Lindsay Lohan, who has been spending lots of time abroad, made headlines with a curious new accent that one study dubbed the “echo effect.”
“She is making herself as the person with whom she is speaking with,” study author Wojciech Kulesza told Vanity Fair. “Why do we do it? Liking is not the only goal. Mimicry — imitating behavior — is described as unconscious tendency to create bonds with others, a social glue which bonds us to other people. It seems it is imprinted in our nature.”
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