Conversation in Burnley about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Bolt, Joan, 1933 March 29- (speaker, female), Grimshaw, Joan, 1934 Oct. 20- (speaker, female), Hewitson, Barbara, 1936 April 19- (speaker, female), Laing, Mary, 1927 Nov. 08- (speaker, female), Moore, Doris, 1948 Jan. 04- (speaker, female), Smith, Janet, 1944 Feb. 14- (speaker, female)
O-Gorman, Paul, 1962 Oct. 05- (speaker, male)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Remark that G on end of freezing wouldnt be pronounced. Comment that different word is used to mean annoyed depending on company, would use miffed as a euphemism when being polite. Anecdote about close friend who uses piss off when very annoyed, speaker wouldnt say that. Comment that losing temper causes speaker to use worse language. Mention that discourtesy annoys speaker, story of school children using bad language on bus, wants to tell them to piss/sod off but wont because its lowering herself to their level, thinks you only use language like that with people you know when youre really stressed out, when you know they wont take offence; alternatively would say nothing and just walk away.[00:10:46] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Mention that 97 year old mother still talks in dialect a lot, has learnt kegs from her (meaning trousers) other speakers dont know it. Story of losing one sand shoe while crossing burn (river). Discussion of colour of pumps worn at school for physical education, getting mud on them and keeping them clean.[00:17:25] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Description of privy (outside toilet) in Lancashire, used a tippler flushing system. Story of kitten falling down long drop of outside toilet, rescued with brush, no lids over hole so anything could fall down there. Anecdote about brother scaring speaker by telling her that if you sat on toilet too long a rat would bite your bottom. Discussion of different types of paper used as toilet paper in privy, torn up into squares and hung on hook. Comment that word used to mean toilet isnt fixed, it changes in different situations. Discussion of spend a penny meaning go to the toilet, it costs a lot more than that to use public toilets these days. Comment that front room is used to describe main room of house in four room house where kitchen is called back room; kitchen called living room in one house, front room called parlour, was only used on special occasions. Comment that she only uses swear words when annoyed, not in normal conversation.[00:27:25] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Anecdote about son playing truant from school, comment that boys were worse than girls in the past but now they both do it, speakers didnt dare play truant when younger, if missed one morning the school board came to house in afternoon, anecdote about school board coming round when ill in bed with measles. Comment that you didnt complain about being told off at school because youd get it twice as bad at home. Anecdote about being sent to headmistress at senior school for taking beret off on way home, very strict. Anecdote about friend who fancied speaker clobbering someone for telling her off at junior school.[00:31:25] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Story of uncle regularly getting drunk in pubs then being put on his horse and cart which took him home, well known locally, was disowned by teetotal mother. Comment that pregnancy was never mentioned or discussed in public or private even with friends, grandmother would whisper shes going to have a little un about married woman; anecdote about hearing people whisper shes in the club at grandmothers house; mention that grandmother didnt tell grandfather that speaker was pregnant, theyd been married more than 50 years, didnt think it was something to tell men.[00:37:34] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that these days a lot of cheap clothes are good enough to wear, worn by all kids not just common girls, kids are very good shoppers now. Anecdote about asking where mother was when young, grandfather answered shes run away with a black chap, thinks this is politically incorrect. Mention my blessing used within family to describe very close friend who youd tell all your secrets to and know theyll stay secret. 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 six interviewees are all retired members of a women's group that meets in Burnley every week.