Conversation in Manchester about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Seymour, Mace, 1978 July 24- (speaker, male, comedian), Warburton, John, 1971 June 18- (speaker, male, Wilkinson, Michael, 1969 Feb. 24- (speaker, male
Kearsley, Gill, 1968 Jan. 09- (speaker, female)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention Victorian practice of paying to sleep on a rope. Remark that speakers accent is noticeably different, hes from Leigh, now part of Greater Manchester since boundaries were moved, he still considers it to be Lancashire. Dispute over politeness and use of shagged meaning tired. Explanation of brass meaning cold. Anecdote about being wound up by bricklayers scaffolding on house while extension is built. Remark that helmet is a funny word, tries to work it into comedy act if possible. Comment that its good to have an extensive vocabulary, using big words that other people might not understand makes you appear cleverer than you are.[00:07:50] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention Geordie phrase that means give us that hammer. Remark that he enjoys the rich diversity of language and dialect in United Kingdom, changes surprisingly rapidly across space for such a small island. Discussion of different meanings of chuck, anecdote about chuck wagon that sells food near local industrial park. Stories of playing truant from school, uses wag to mean play truant but only ten miles away the word used is whack. Comment that when talking to his baby he speaks more softly and simplistically. Anecdotes about receiving physical discipline from father.[00:16:17] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Remark that clobber can mean both clothes and hit hard. Mention frightening, post-apocalyptic television programme Threads. Discussion of words for trousers and underpants and where meanings converge. Dispute over meaning and use of galoshes, anecdote about searching for fathers galoshes on beach in Cornwall. Description of shoes worn at school for physical education. Mention alternative, northern meaning of pump.[00:20:08] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Mention part of comedy stand-up routine that involves ridiculing left-handed people. Comment that wadded meaning rich could be northern and southern; up can be used after any word to indicate that someone has lots of something, for example moneyed-up describes someone who is rich, clobbered-up describes someone with lots of clothes. Remark that munter, meaning unattractive person is visual onomatopoeia, suggest why butter face and a mallet can mean unattractive. Comical discussion of origin of pissed as a newt meaning drunk. Discussion of words used to tell someone they are attractive/describe someone as attractive, terrible chat-up lines. Comment that speakers use lots of Americanisms, thought to have picked them up from television.[00:29:50] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Remark that children always tell their mum about people being horrible to them, no other family member, might get dad to come and have a fight though. Words used to distinguish between maternal and paternal grandparents. Different words used to describe female partner in/out of her presence, story of wife disliking being called the wife, gay man using same words as woman would to describe his boyfriend. Discussion of origin and definition of chav, thought to have become blanket term that most people use, comment that if this was true it would be helpful when touring stand up because no need to find out local word.[00:39:54] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Remark that main room of house is called front room even though it runs from front to back of house. Mention beckett is another term for scally. Remark that toilet would be used in restaurant but with friends speaker would refer to the bodily function instead. Discussion about using offensive words in stand up routines, terms that are directly offensive to people are avoided but swearing is fine. Comment that there are two ways to swear, can be used in offensive way or just part of speech almost like punctuation, how northern/southern accent affects offensiveness of swear words. Mention that its also important in stand up either to avoid colloquialisms that vary regionally, use universally understood term or find out local version otherwise joke wont work, story of not using ginnel in London. Comment that dialect words are dying out even in the north, think this is because Americanisms are used more and people are becoming a bit too middle class. Remark that there are no expectations about swearing/not swearing in live stand up comedy, it doesnt involve censorship, might be different on television/radio though. Remark that if you F too much it loses its emphasis, story of man in local pub who does this. Mention man who does same with friggin. Discussion of use of C and T words onstage.
All three interviewees are comedians on the Manchester stand-up circuit. BBC warning: this interview contains strong or offensive language. Recording made for BBC Voices project of a conversation guided by a BBC interviewer. The conversation follows a loose structure based on eliciting opinions about accents, dialects, the words we use and people's attitude to language.