Conversation in Mellor Brook about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Mellor Brook, Lancashire
Connell, Matthew, 1985 Feb. 11- (speaker, male, student), Connell, Edward, 1954 May 16- (speaker, male), McCreary, Bernadette, 1957 Jan. 01- (speaker, female), Ridehalgh, Julie, 1967 Jan. 01- (speaker, female), Sanderson, Clarence, 1931 Jan. 01- (speaker, male), Sanderson, Rachel, 1977 Jan. 01- (speaker, female), Whittle, Harry, 1932 May 23- (speaker, male), Whittle, Joan, 1933 Oct. 01- (speaker, female)
O-Gorman, Paul, 1962 Oct. 05- (speaker, male)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that she would never use four letter words/bad language or allow it in her house, knows its accepted language these days but wasnt in the past; grandfather wouldnt hear damn/blast, called toilet petty, this annoyed grandmother if her friends were there. Anecdote about grandfather talking with very broad Lancashire accent. Description of front room, when it was used in past. Lancashire pronunciation of coal and coal hole, short description of coal hole. Comment that word for main room of house was learnt from parents. Mention that speaker, like father and grandfather before him, got to a certain age and began to sit in their own chair rather than on the sofa. Younger speaker says sofa, older generation uses settee, think this is a result of television adverts referring to them as sofas. Mention Lancashire pronunciation of chair, used by grandfather, thought this was what everyone said when young, finding out real pronunciation was a surprise; phrase grandfather used to reprimand speakers meaning Ill smack you in the nose; description of clothes grandfather wore, dressed very smartly but never altered his accent whoever he was talking to, was a very proud Lancashire man, think its sad that this has gone.[00:09:51] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that parents influence the way we speak, though we refine the words a little bit, also influenced by media. Description of differences between rooms in house now and in the past, think this has influenced change in word used to describe main room of house. Remark that speakers wouldnt pronounce the G on the end of freezing and boiling. Story of feeling livid when water was switched off at work and it took a long time to get through to water board on telephone. Anecdote about speaker blowing his top.[00:19:22] Discussion of words used to describe narrow walkway between/alongside building, explanation of difference between back alley and ginnel. Mention using tub toilet in wilderness across field outside house in the past.[00:22:13] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Comment that words used to mean playing truant are often young phrases because its only really talked about when at school. Mention punishments given at school for playing truant, never dared to do it because they would always have been found out; school officer went to home if missed more than one day, picked up children from street and took them back to school; neighbours would tell her parents if they saw her playing truant, then she would be physically disciplined; anecdote about leather belt hanging up in grandfathers house as deterrent for misbehaviour. Description of small community in the past, people went to school and worked within walking distance so knew what everyone else was doing, no one locked their doors, called neighbours aunty/uncle even though they werent relatives, nothing like what is called a community today. Story of swapping mats for fritters then having to go and ask for the mats back, that was community spirit because nobody worried. Mention origin of zedding meaning sleeping. Story of throwing/chucking teenage sons belongings left on floor of his bedroom out of window onto driveway because he ignored requests to tidy it up.[00:35:51] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Comment that he considers trousers to be worn by men, its not a unisex word, women wear trews. Differences between pumps/trainers/plimsolls.[00:39:53] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Words used to refer to different stages of being drunk, mention amusing things that speakers have done under the influence of alcohol. Female speaker would only use pregnant, thinks other words/phrases are derogatory.[00:53:10] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that speakers kinship terms dont vary greatly from whats printed on spidergram. Comment that using hand gestures is part of Lancashire dialect, thinks this originates from working in noisy mills, weavers communicated with each other across looms from opposite sides of room, could hold whole conversations, used some lip reading too. Mention that its possible to ask someone if they want a cup of tea using hand gestures. Meaning of slapper, whether it can be used to describe male/female. Explanation of townie meaning young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, what they wear and where they live. Discussion of problems caused by townies coming to Mellor Brook and not participating in village life, effect on community, differences between people brought up in village/town. Story of townies chopping down street sign, thinks village people wouldnt do that. Comment that state of community affects how parents care for their children, people didnt move house as much in the past. Remark that a townie could never become a village person, they have a completely different outlook. Comparison of total townie speaker from Blackburn with someone born in Mellor Brook; anecdote about children in Blackburn thinking milk originates from bottles, thinks that living in country teaches you respect for people and property around you, in town no one knows anyone else and communities are falling down. Comment that people have moved to Mellor Brook but work in nearby big cities, dont spend enough time there which is why community spirit has disappeared. Remark that there must also be nice, caring people in towns.
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 eight interviewees are all villagers from Mellor Brook who have a connection with the village bakery, Sandersons.