BBC Voices

Conversation in Plymouth about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Plymouth, Devon

  • Interviewees

    Brown, Margaret, 1926 March 30- (speaker, female, retired police officer), Horkins, Christine, 1954 June 21- (speaker, female, publican), Rowe, Paul, 1949 March 15- (speaker, male, carer), Young, Lee, 1970 Dec. 23- (speaker, female, housewife), Cotter, Karen, 1967 March 31- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    England, Kirk, 1973 July 31- (speaker, male)

  • Producers

    Radio Devon

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion about their own/each others accents, Plymothian identity, Plymouth accent, other peoples attitudes towards/reactions to their accents, similarity to Cornish accent. Anecdote about doctor in Iran recognising her accent as being from Plymouth. Mention words/phrases she uses that people question/mock.[00:08:15] Description of Janner speech, how Cornish people speak, cracking your jaw meaning putting on airs and graces, how accent varies between different generations of speakers. Discussion about changing speech in different situations/when talking to different people. Reasons why Plymouth accent will change in future.[00:14:15] Description of Christines pub, how customers speak, comment that she talks more like herself when shes working there than anywhere else. Remark that their accent sounds strong when listening to recordings of their own speech, its not so obvious to them when theyre talking together. Mention terms of endearment she uses to address people, how they speak on telephone. Possible origins and meaning of Janner, mention she gets called a carrot-cruncher because of her accent, other peoples reaction to their accent, comment that people can be very insulting. Mention Welsh man who lost Welsh accent at grammar school.[00:20:03] Discussion about pride in their accent, annoyance at other peoples bad imitations of their accent, comment that other people associate their accent with low intelligence, other peoples reactions to their accent, difference in accent in different generations of people from same place. How Pauls accent differs from his siblings, how her partner has retained his Welsh accent after leaving Wales 35 years ago.[00:24:37] Description of strong, local, Devonport, working-class community in comparison to people in other parts of Plymouth, incomers who have moved to Plymouth from elsewhere.[00:28:03] Discussion about words and phrases they use frequently, the speed of their speech, sharing linguistic features with others in close-knit local community. Mention difficulty of holding telephone conversation with people who have strong accent in call centres, comment that call centre workers should have no accents at all to aid understanding.[00:34:31] Discussion about their own accents being strong. Use and meaning of well known Plymothian phrase dont buck my hair. Anecdote about 9 year old grandson picking up his accent, comment that hes proud of that. Discussion about using eh instead of pardon.[00:39:48] Discussion of words used to mean word for something whose name youve forgotten/tired/pleased/to rain heavily/lacking money/young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery/drunk. Changing words used depending on who youre talking to. Mention that people get annoyed at his accent when he shouts at Plymouth Argyle football matches. Discussion of words used to mean cold/unwell/pleased/main room of house/to throw/insane. Anecdote about being punished for saying chuck instead of throw to teacher at school. Mention mazed (insane) people who have lived in Plymouth. Discussion of words used to mean left-handed/long soft seat in main room/narrow walkway between or alongside buildings/lacking money/annoyed.[00:48:13] Discussion about use of swear words and attitudes towards swearing in Plymouth, people swearing in pub, men swearing in front of women, young people using too much foul language, offensiveness of swear words. Discussion about possible reasons for the difference between Paul and Christines accents, comment that he doesnt hear his own accent when hes talking.[00:52:53] Discussion about pride in their accent and being a Plymothian. Speakers re-introduce themselves.

  • Description

    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. The five interviewees all describe themselves as working class Plymothians.

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