Conversation in Ash about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Dennis, Janet, 1938 Feb. 22- (speaker, female, housewife), Kingsford, David, 1945 March 01- (speaker, male, nurseryman), Kirtley, Jane, 1962 April 14- (speaker, female, PR), Minter, Andrew, 1973 May 20- (speaker, male, Kingsford, Phyll, 1944 Feb. 08- (speaker, female), O'Kelly, Eunice, (speaker, female)
Burn, Jo, 1965 Feb. 19- (speaker, female)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves, have all lived in the area all their lives. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Explanation of different ways to use pickle.[00:09:48] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that different tones of voice are used to say various words for mother to convey different emotions. Different words used to differentiate between maternal and paternal grandparents. Comment that words for female partner often have derogatory connotations even though they arent meant in that way. Remark that the more frustrated speaker gets at having forgotten the word for something, the more words he strings together to fill in the gap, such as thingy, whatjamacallit, you know. Discussion of different meanings of chav/chavvy, used to mean young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery but also Romani for person. Stories of working with Romanies, think theyre nice people and very witty. Mention Ive seen better looking things crawl out of cheese: amusing, harmless, Romani witticism speaker has heard.[00:19:01] Description of speakers job in nursery, likes working outside, weather is important. Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that word used for main room of house can vary between people and might also change when move house, the layout of the house could affect the terms used for each room. Remark that the main room of house always used to be called front room and be at the front of house, it was the posh room; the room with table to eat in was called living room. One speaker uses both lounge and front room because both terms apply. Explanation of use and meaning of jitty, similar to alleyway. Discussion of words used to mean pregnant, lacking money and rich. How speakers define being rich.[00:28:08] Discussion of how speakers talk. Description of speakers job in prison service, has to talk to people from lots of different backgrounds, thinks she alters the way she speaks depending on who shes talking to, also changes when shes at home/work. Describes these changes and the situations in which she would make them, thinks she must have an accent but doesnt hear it herself. Nursery worker comments that he always smiles before answering phone at work, thinks it makes him sound more cheerful than if he frowns, also alters speech depending on who hes speaking to, puts up a bit of a front at work but relaxes and speaks like himself when out with friends. Also not aware of his own accent until compares it with others, thinks everyone considers their own speech similarly. Story of friends not recognising speakers voice when they call her at work, other speakers have phone voices too. Comment that speaker can hear other peoples accents but doesnt think she has one, doesnt think she sounds any different. Speaker demonstrates how he imitates the voices of Julian Clary, Bruce Forsyth and Dame Edna Everage. Story of speakers parents parrot that imitates mothers voice very accurately, description of words he uses and how mother taught him.[00:38:49] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Meaning and use of lishy for unwell, can also describe a spindly plant, generally means got no life in it. Discussion of words used to describe different types of weather, blowing a hoolie means really windy, a lazy wind describes a wind that blows through you. Explanation of its a bit black over Wills mothers used to describe gathering storm clouds. Comment that its possible to smell the damp in the soil when its about to rain, would say I can smell the rain coming. Comment that different words express varying degrees of annoyance. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Comment that word for hit hard changes depending on what is being hit.[00:53:13] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Description of either dressing up or down after coming home from work, depending on how speakers are expected to dress at work. Dispute over meaning of cacks, thought to mean trousers in the north and underwear in the south. Comment that when southern speaker got together with northern husband he used lots of words she didnt understand, he becomes more northern when with his family, still very northern after more than twenty years in Kent, speakers mother still has trouble understanding him. Mention northern words he uses, including gone banzai to mean having a tantrum. Comment that he is aware he speaks differently and enjoys exaggerating his accent if he knows people arent understanding him. Description of daughters speech, definitely a southerner but picks up northern terms after staying with fathers family in north. Mention that there are no words speakers wont say through superstition, though dont like number thirteen. Remark that speaker is superstitious about putting shoes on table. Explanation of phrases mother used to use when speaker was young. Discussion of euphemisms for swearing including bally, jiggering, ruddy, things being a mucky fuddle. Comment that younger generation would actually use swear words because theyve been brought up with more swearing around them, older generation werent allowed to swear when young. Mention thrice-accursed used a lot by grandmother when annoyed by something or when things were going wrong. Discussion of attitudes towards swearing, dont like it when young children are around, used to find it more offensive in the past. Comment that some swear words are more offensive than others, the brown words are part of everyday speech now, acceptable. Speaker does swear but avoids it in front of daughter or in mixed company, finds it offensive to hear lots of swear words in public even as a younger person, thinks it has become acceptable but is actually unnecessary.
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 dance group members from the Northern Academy of Performing Arts in Hull.