Conversation in Cirencester about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Catling, Mary Elizabeth, 1962 Feb. 27- (speaker, female, interviewee, Royal Agricultural College employee), Irving, William Henry (Bill), 1962 Feb. 27- (speaker, male, retired teacher), Lewis, Winston, 1941 May 06- (speaker, male, retired), Taylor-Kielty, Moira Kathryn, 1964 Sept. 06- (speaker, female, teacher)
Durrant, Joanna, 1981 Oct. 12- (speaker, female)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves, mention where they have lived/worked/gone to school. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. [00:05:06] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment that using the word ‘pregnant’ when reading the Christmas story in church will cause trouble. [00:08:42] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. [00:10:30] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that chavs wear Burberry-labelled clothes and consequently sales of Burberry have gone down considerably. Mention ways to differentiate between maternal/paternal grandparents, how names for grandparents are decided on. Discussion about attitudes towards using first names to refer to parents/aunts/uncles/other family members, how this relates to respect. [00:20:42] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Anecdote about not understanding meaning of ‘daps’ (‘plimsolls’) on first moving to local area. [00:22:03] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Anecdote about new deputy head teacher from Midlands who used ‘poorly’ to mean ‘unwell’ which Gloucestershire children didn’t understand. [00:23:36] Discussion about their own speech, stories about experiences of having difficulty being understood/understanding others, mention meaning of various regional words. How they/others would describe their accent, their parents’ accents, how her accent has changed since moving to Gloucestershire. Comment that language has a social aspect to it. Mention how his accent changes in different places, finding accent of Lincoln-based nephews odd and having to resist correcting them. Discussion abut speaking “incorrectly”, mention getting particular parts in school plays because he spoke differently to others in Cheshire as his father was from London. [00:31:07] Discussion about the way children speak today, use of Australian accent, changing meanings of words, influence of television, language of text messaging. Mention being taught to read by phonetic reading scheme ITA (Initial Teaching Alphabet). Discussion about spelling correctly. Anecdote about realising he could read aged four when looking at newspaper. Discussion about writing letters, how the art of letter-writing has been affected by emails. Comment that making essay-writing a punishment at school isn’t a good idea. [00:40:22] Discussion about teaching children to read, techniques he used as teacher. Anecdotes about children learning to read. Enjoyment and benefits of reading. [00:45:32] Discussion about Stratton Drama Group, its history, their involvement with it, why they joined, enjoyment and fun they have, plays they have performed. Anecdote about supportive group mentality when something went wrong during play. How amateur dramatics has/has not helped them with public speaking. [00:57:21] Discussion about putting on different accents while acting in plays. Anecdote about three wise men having Geordie accent in nativity play in Newcastle. Discussion about attitudes towards swearing and use of swear words, how it has changed over time. Changing their use of swear words in different situations/with different people, attitudes towards blasphemy, swearing in front of parents. Anecdote about uncle swearing in front of mother after coming home from army; school-child learning swear words from parents. [01:05:59] Discussion about speaking “properly” at the same time as having an accent, interviewer’s accent, being corrected by parents/correcting their children’s speech. Discussion about use of swear words and blasphemy, comment that using swear words all the time shows a paucity of language. Anecdotes about changing language in plays by taking out swear words/not using fox fur due to complaints. [01:12:18] Discussion about future of regional dialects in United Kingdom, mention various old phrases and their meaning, influence of television on language, being unable to understand people on radio/television. Comment that there’s nothing wrong with having an accent but you must be able to communicate with the masses. [01:16:37] Discussion about positive/negative stigmas attached to particular regional accents. Anecdotes about people’s reactions to various accents. Mention difficulty understanding people’s accents over telephone, mother’s annoyance at people at HSBC saying ‘haitch’ for ‘H’. Mention their linguistic pet hates. [01:24:21] Speakers recite various lines from play ‘Harvey’ that they recently performed. 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 four interviewees are all part of the Stratton Drama Group in Cirencester and have been friends for a number of years.