Bioshock--what's up with Tenenbaum's accent?

The story presents her as German, but unless she’s an ethnic German who grew up speaking Russian or Polish, her accent on the audio recordings is completely inexplicable-- has anyone at Irrational/2k Boston-Australia actually spoken to a German who learned English as an adult? Hell, Colonel Klink’s accent on Hogan’s Heroes was closer.

I’m only in Neptune’s Bounty, so I may not have gotten to the explanation for the discrepancy.

Based on her audio diaries, she was a German Jew who spent time in a concentration camp as a young girl. So that means she might have actually spoken more Yiddish as a young girl than German. Where she ended up after the camp and before coming to Rapture, I don’t know. She may have ended up in the East Bloc, and spent most of her formative years speaking Russian (which could jibe with Andrei (aka Andrew) Ryan’s origin), or she may have emigrated to the US after being liberated by the Allies, and largely spent her teen years speaking English.

I had no problems with her accent.

Jeez, between this and the insults about the actually authentic Gobbi French accent, I think some people have strange opinions when it comes to foreign accents. I suppose it’s a lack of experience, where US films usually depict anyone “foreign” as having a British accent.

Was the Voice Acting decent apart from that point? It seems like kind of a silly thing to complain about.

I think the voice acting was universally superb. Andrew Ryan in particular.

I would appreciate a full list of voice credits at some point. I haven’t seen one yet.

Does anyone know if one exists?

No, so I would like to take the credit, please. Thank you.

List of voice actors, though not their roles:

Some people in the comments seem to know who played what. You might if you recognize any of the names

Raynor Scheine? That’s gotta be a pseudonym.

Didn’t seem that bad to me. I don’t know how much exposure you have to Germans but one thing to remember is that there is no single German accent. There are literally dozens. I’ve kwown Bavarians that are almost impossible to understand when speaking in dialect even for other native German speakers.

A lot of Germans end up with really funky English accents depending on how they learn German. I knew this one German girl who learned all her English from a hardcore, California surfer dude with a very stereotypical accent. She sounded hilarious.

I have no problem at all with the voice acting–I think it’s fantastic all around. I was just mystified as to the Russian-sounding accent coming from a German, is all. Obviously I need to listen to more of the audio diaries later in the game.

StGabe, I lived for about a year and a half altogether in Germany, and at one point tested “Proficient” in the German-language Oral Proficiency Interview. I know about all (well, many of) the crazy variations in German pronunciation (between Bavaria and the North, or even between Bavaria and the area around Stuttgart), but there are certain common features that most native German-speaking learners of English share. Now, when I lived in Germany in the eighties, I knew ethnic Germans who spoke perfectly fluid German (because they’d grown up in isolated linguistic communities well outside of Germany/Austria/Switzerland, with pronunciations heavily influenced by the dominant language) with a Romanian accent here or a Slavic accent there. If such a person were then to learn English, they would still have that accent, and not a typically German one. Tenenbaum’s accent is definitely most heavily influenced by a Slavic language like Polish or Russian-- the pronunciation of the “h” alone gives it away.

Raynor Scheine is actually in one of my favorite television episodes, ever.

It’s the first season of West Wing, and it’s the “In Exelcis Deo” episode–the Christmas one. The one where the Park Police find Toby’s card in a coat worn by a dead homeless person?

Raynor Scheine is the homeless guy who helps Toby find the brother of the dead guy and offers to get him to the state funeral the next day. Wonder who he voiced in Bioshock.

Tenenbaum’s accent sounds distinctly Russian to me but the audio log says she was a “prisoner in a German camp” which by no means implies she’s German. On the contrary, most of the people killed in death camps were Polish, Russian or Ukrainian. Germany proper didn’t have very many Jews to begin with, and most left early on after Hitler came to power. And POWs would obviously not be German anyway.

I’m not that far yet in the game – if they explicitly say she was German then they screwed up the accent. German Jews spoke (and speak) the same German as other Germans, not Yiddish. Since the 18th century or so Yiddish was only spoken in Eastern Europe where Jews continued to live in unassimilated communities, isolated from the majority ethnicity.

This is by far the weirdest gripe I’ve seen about Bioshock.

People need to bitch but Bioshock is hardly being cooperative in providing grist for the mill. Even the draconian copy protection didn’t fuck me over for once.

I don’t recall them saying anything about her being German, just that she was a young girl in a concentration camp. She even refers to the doctors as ‘the German doctors’, so that implies to me that she wasn’t German herself.

Yeah, she speaks about “the Germans” in a few of her diary logs, so I assumed that she wasn’t one. I don’t think she’s ever said where she was from (at least not so far–I’m at Fort Frolic), just that she spent time in the camps. I had pegged her as some brand of Eastern European.

The only reference I saw to her origin was someone else referring to her a “Kraut Scientist”.

You guys are absolutely right. There is nothing in the audio diaries that indicate she’s a German. Just that she spent time in a German camp as a young girl. Sorry. Even better at explaining her accent.

I was guessing she was a Slovakian or Polish Jew rounded up into the camps run by the Germans, and after the war ended up in Eastern Germany. Fontaine calls her a kraut, I believe, being that he’s such a classy guy.

In the German version of Bioshock she has an “eastern” accent that is usually related to Russia.

I am not totally sure, but I -think- she didn’t just “work” in a concentration camp, but was deported into one and, because of her qualifications, was then forced to “help” doing tests and experiments on humans. That sort of colored off on her and she notes somewhere in the audio-logs that she started to understand why the Germans were doing all those things, but didn’t agree with their goals (I don’t remember the exact wording or what either of the goals was).

So after the fall of Nazi-Germany she decided to continue with what she learned doing in those camps, but with her own agenda.

Did I realy type “shure” ? Oh god.