Conversation in Oldham about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Oldham, Greater Manchester
Goodson, Eliza, 1918 April 11- (speaker, female, retired knitting machinist), Hilton, Emily, 1922 April 14- (speaker, female, retired cotton mill worker), Hilton, Fred, 1921 July 04- (speaker, male, retired butcher and gas fitter), Whittaker, Jean, 1946 July 13- (speaker, female, domestic), Gausden, Carol, 1947 Jan. 18- (speaker, female)
Kearsley, Gill, 1968 Jan. 09- (speaker, female)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention that poorly meaning unwell is a dialect word. Remark that starved can mean both hungry and cold in Lancashire. Reasons to be chuffed, meaning pleased. Meaning and use of gradely meaning good. Reasons to be annoyed/vexed.[00:05:20] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Description of school board going round to house if played truant from school, this resulted in a leathering, discouraged children from playing truant, comment that there isnt discipline today like there was in the past, if child was actually ill in bed parents would get cross with school board. Remark that speakers are influenced by television and young people, in particular pick up words for new technology because they dont have them themselves. Story of woman from Wigan using brack bit to mean packed lunch, bait used in North East, snap in Yorkshire.[00:13:09] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Story of wearing Sunday best only to Sunday school each week, people with less money had to pawn the suit each Monday then collect it again on Friday. Story of being sent to pawn shop when younger on behalf of neighbours who were too ashamed to go themselves; collecting empty bottles to take back to shop for pocket money; father paying to go to cinema with collected empty jam jars, cinema got the money back, glass was all recycled then, cost two jam jars to see Saturday afternoon matinee for children sitting on wooden bench; family paying to see show at Oldham Empire with Park-Drive cigarette cartons. Remark that most children did physical education at school in stockinged feet when speakers were young, thinks they were bad days not good old days. Description of clogs worn during week, shoes worn at weekend, polished clogs to wear to school.[00:19:35] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Mention that left-handers used to be told to use right-hand instead, story of speakers knuckles being rapped with ruler and pencil being put in other hand because she was left-handed. Mention meaning of on your uppers used to mean lacking money. Story of being kettled meaning drunk at wedding anniversary celebrations. Use of pissed and kaylied meaning drunk.[00:28:00] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Remark that ma makes speaker feel old when used by son. Comment that speaker can remember numbers but not names, forgets them easily.[00:35:27] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Mention speaker wasnt posh enough to have a parlour just a kitchen and living room; in North-East kitchen refers to living room and back kitchen means kitchen; use of the house to mean living room in the past because main part of house only consisted of two rooms, the other one was the kitchen. Comment that word used for running water smaller than a river varies depending on where you live. Remark that main focal point of living room is the fire place or television, though theres not always a fireplaces these days so it would then have to be television. Mention grandmother describing house as a ginnel if speaker went in the front then straight out the back. Story of friend in Ponteland using netty to mean toilet. Discussion of poshness of words used to mean toilet, changes over time. Mention that lavatory meant non-flushing toilet in past, fathers story of cart in Manchester called the Dolly Varden (shaped like a hat) coming round during night to collect the night soil from outside toilets. Description of outside toilets (water closets/tipplers) used in Oldham when younger, soon got bathrooms so toilet was inside, still some tipplers in use locally till quite recently. Story of going around back wall of outside toilets as child, opening trap door that was used for emptying night soil and shouting various comments to the people using toilet, never got caught. Story of speakers children when young sticking lit matches in walls to guide them to outside toilet in the dark, making father stand outside and wait for them.
All five interviewees are members of a visually-impaired hobby group. 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.