Conversation in Barrow-in-Furness about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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Airaksinen, Ben, 1987 May 10- (speaker, male, sixth-form student), Andy, 1988 Jan. 29- (speaker, male, Clare, 1988 March 08- (speaker, female, France, Jane, 1954 April 14- (speaker, female, unemployed), Lucy, 1988 May 18- (speaker, female, Nathan, 1988 May 29- (speaker, male
Armstrong, Joan, 1956 June 14- (speaker, female)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention spelling of lake meaning to play. Meaning of twat used for hit hard. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Origin of caggy meaning left-handed. Use of munter meaning unattractive.[00:08:35] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Mention Finnish words that mean rain, comment that there are more Finnish words for snow than rain. Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention use of Finnish word for mother. Comment that she uses different words for different groups of friends. Discussion about chavs/townies, description of what they wear, their behaviour, where they can be found, their ethnicity; comment that its a new word; description of their accent/language. Mention language that she uses with her friends, words they make up. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Mention origin of clads used to mean clothes.[00:23:50] Speakers describe their family background, where their parents are from, where they grew up. Description of learning English as son of English mother and Finnish father, how other speakers perceive his accent, his view of their accents. Anecdote about speaking so quickly that her mother couldnt understand. Discussion about speaking to people with different accents; the Barrovian accent; picking up new accent/language.[00:32:30] Mention words used to describe Nathan. Discussion about changing accent for various reasons, consciously or unconsciously. Description of different languages/accents spoken by workers at Pleasureland in Liverpool, some people were mocked by customers for their accent. Anecdote about working for British Telecom, how she spoke when talking on telephone. Comment that your accent is part of your identity.[00:37:49] Mention assumptions made about northern/southern accents, how people react to his northern accent when visiting relatives in south. Discussion about speed of speech. Anecdote about her aunties telephone voice; his aunties speech after elocution lessons. Mention feature of Barrow speech is pronouncing TH as an F, thinks it makes people sound unintelligent; other features that cause people to correct them. Story about mother not understanding Barrow accent when first arrived from Liverpool.[00:43:12] Discussion about parents/grandparents correcting their speech, difficult to break the habit, comment that it will be difficult for grand-daughter to learn to spell because of her pronunciation; discussion about difference between speech and writing. Comment that most people do know Standard English but find it more comfortable and easier to speak in their accents. Discussion about changing speech in front of teachers/in situations where they want to fit in.[00:50:02] Discussion about swearing and use of swear words, situations where its more/less appropriate; swearing at football/rugby matches. Anecdote about mother washing her mouth out with soap the first time she swore at her. Mention that she can lip-read football payers swearing on television screen, description of learning sign language, demonstration of signing swear words.[00:59:20] Description of discrimination she has experienced as a wheelchair user, story of swearing at child who was being rude to her, comment that young people are shocked at hearing old people swear. Description of how people spoke to her when she first started using hearing aids; contrast of how people treated him with fractured eye socket/when it had healed; comment that different disabilities are treated differently. Description of her colourful hearing aids, how deterioration in her hearing affects her behaviour, her feelings when she first started wearing hearing aids, how her friends reacted. Description of how she felt when first started using wheelchair, how it has changed her life, story of singing voice of plant in Little Shop of Horrors (musical), her voice defined her because she was offstage at the time.[01:10:44] Description of helping out in drama classes, how using their voice improves childrens confidence. Discussion about using voice to play a role in drama, how it affects their confidence, what it feels like to play a character. Story of getting over lack of confidence with vocal exercises, how her voice relates to her confidence.[01:16:31] Discussion about whether accents should be discouraged, comment that it makes people who they are, relates to individuality and regional identity, provokes conversations. Anecdote about her Yorkshire accent being recognised in Australia. Discussion about accents they would like/dislike to have, connotations of various accents. Reception of English accent abroad, mention terrible portrayal of English accent in American television programme.[01:22:23] Discussion about influence of media on their speech, mention catch phrases from films/television shows/advertisements. Speakers re-introduce themselves.
All seven interviewees (except Jane France) are sixth-form students. BBC warning: this interview contains strong or offensive language throughout. 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.