Conversation in Cam about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Clutterbuck, Jeremy, 1975 Feb. 22- (speaker, male, funeral director and proprietor of hardware store), Hallam, Lynn, 1954 Jan. 26- (speaker, female, Hallam, Robert (Bob), 1947 Dec. 21- (speaker, male, consultant to funeral director and hardware store)
Durrant, Joanna, 1981 Oct. 12- (speaker, female)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves, mention where they have lived in England, how they are related. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention use of chuck/duck as term of endearment in South Derbyshire.[00:04:55] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Discussion about generational differences in speech, young peoples use of textese, worry at perceived decrease in richness of language, use of politically correct language. Comment that Robert and Lynn dont know meaning of minging because they dont own a television, reasons why they dont own television, missing out on popular culture, influence of television on popular culture and language. Comment that their parents generation would avoid using pregnant and would whisper euphemisms instead, their son would only ever use pregnant because thats the proper term, this is similar to taboos around discussing death and going to toilet now. Mention change in meaning of words over time.[00:19:57] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Description of entries between terraced houses in Burton-on-Trent, discussion about their existence in north/south England. Description of entry next to relatives house in Manchester, being excited as child when visiting it.[00:29:17] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Anecdote about being thumped by female friend for calling his wife the wife. Explanation of meaning of bling. Discussion about use and meaning of chav, description of chavs.[00:37:24] Discussion about effect of peer pressure on use of language, attitudes towards language of popular culture, speech of young people. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention ways to differentiate between maternal/paternal grandmothers.[00:46:17] Discussion about terms used to address family members, using Christian names for family members/older people in community/work colleagues, how this varies in different contexts/generations, connotations of different terms. Using Christian name when talking to old teachers, anecdote about being unable to call old head teacher John when arranging a funeral with him. Story about proprietor of old-fashioned funeral directors in London being called Mr France by everybody, including himself. What they call each other/are called by others when working in family-run funeral directors/at funerals. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS.[01:01:12] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Description of daps.[01:04:04] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that he only uses South Derbyshire dialect words when provoked or with brothers because hes been away from the area for so long.[01:07:25] Discussion about their own speech, how he consciously changed his speech after moving to West Wales from Midlands, comment that he loves accents/dialects. Anecdote about being able to detect Scottish accent in woman who only went to university in Scotland; having to stop working with Glaswegian man because they couldnt understand each others accent. Mention difficulty of understanding Bob when hes talking with his siblings, they revert to broad South Derbyshire accent/dialect. Discussion about Gloucestershire dialect, difficulty of understanding it when first moved there, how it varies geographically/by gender, Bristol accent.[01:14:25] Discussion about future of accents/dialects as result of increased mobility/influence of mass media. How English language is changing because of influence of text/email language, attitudes towards this, language of young people. Mention annoyance at thank you being written as one word, possible reasons for this. Attitudes towards language used by Shakespeare/Queens English. Comment that people can understand speech despite the evolution of rules that govern English language but computers cant. Discussion about annoyance at people pronouncing sentences like theyre a question when theyre not, possible reasons for this. Annoyance at emails being written entirely in upper case/lack of punctuation. Mention that correct writing is important to her because she is daughter of a printer and used to proofread for her father. Comment that standards of spelling and grammar are very poor these days, mention receiving letter from secondary school with appalling use of language. Problems with using spell checkers on computers.[01:30:40] Description of family business and its history which includes funeral directors, hardware shop and consultancy: started as wheelwrights/funeral director six generations ago, how business is run, where different parts are located now, their various roles in the businesses, how businesses of funeral directors and hardware shop go well together, diverse skills needed for them. Description of job satisfaction at being funeral director, offering comfort to people, putting up memorials, job diversity, positive aspects of being family business.[01:41:03] Discussion about how much they like working together as a family, enjoying their job, difficulty of switching off from work when at home because its so interesting. Comment that he misses working in the shop when hes doing contract work elsewhere. Mention launch of new computer service in shop: selling, repairing and building computers. Discussion about their relationship with customers, the shop and family being part of local community.[01:50:09] Discussion about their own accents, Jeremy doesnt think he has a very strong Gloucestershire accent, Bob has strong South Derbyshire accent. Comment that it will be a shame if accents disappear. Comment that there are more foreign languages spoken in London than English.[01:54:45] Discussion about use of swear words and attitudes towards swearing, comment that using a swear word indicates laziness/bad command of English language. Mention dreadful role models on television including sportsmen/comedians. Mention mother who swears a lot but wouldnt tolerate daughter swearing. Discussion about swearing becoming part of everyday language, acceptability of swearing, loss of emphasis in language as swearing becomes more acceptable. Meaning of swear words, difference between cursing and swearing. Mention change in meaning of words over time, different ways to pronounce the same word, American pronunciations. Mention liking Eats Shoots and Leaves: book about punctuation. Speakers re-introduce themselves.
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 three interviewees are all part of the same family - mother Lynn and her son Jeremy, and Lynn's husband Bob.