Conversation in Worston about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Anderson, Amanda, 1971 June 06- (speaker, female, public relations consultant), Anderson, William, 1965 March 05- (speaker, male), Assheton, Olivia, 1963 Aug. 27- (speaker, female), Campbell, Alastair, 1959 Aug. 20- (speaker, male), Fyles, Jason, 1962 March 02- (speaker, male)
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 dunny meaning toilet was learnt from television programme Im A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here!, will only stay in vocabulary for a short while, influenced more by other peoples words than television; loo preferred to toilet, reasons for this; children use toilet at school but loo at home; possible origin of loo. Two speakers describe themselves as import Scots. Discussion of uses of different rooms of house. Explanation of difference between mizzle and drizzle both meaning light rain, comment that this might be a Lancashire equivalent of Eskimos having lots of words for snow, they need lots of words to describe rain because it occurs frequently as a result of living near Pendle Hill. Remark that dyke means dry stone wall in Scotland and ditch in Lancashire, this confused speaker, dispute over connotations of size of various words used to mean running water smaller than a river.[00:10:37] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Explanation of he came west of Hawick used to mean insane in Scottish borders. Comment that female speakers rarely describe men as attractive because physical appearance isnt as important to them as character. Discussion of how words for attractive change depending on company, examples of words used only in male company in pubs; degrees of drunkenness expressed by various words meaning drunk. Dispute over meaning of cack-handed (clumsy/ left-handed) possible reasons for its left-handed meaning. Discussion of connotations of different words meaning rich, either cash or asset wealth.[00:24:42] Discussion of importance of accents, doesnt matter what your accent is as long as you are understood, think people make fewer value judgments about accents these days, loves to hear regional accents, hearing Geordie accent brings back happy memories of being at university in Newcastle/Durham, loves regional diversity; anecdote about not understanding meaning of expression dead made up used by Liverpudlian, hopes linguistic regionality is always retained. Description of speakers accents and where they/other people consider themselves to be from. Speaker describes herself as army brat, mentions that she had to change her accent to suit different locations in order to fit in, now her accent changes depending on who shes talking to, her children are developing Lancashire accents. Discussion of speaking poshly, whether it differs across the United Kingdom, people do judge speakers accent, in particular on telephone at work; mention mother speaks Queens English, thinks this means she doesnt have a dialect, one child has stronger northern accent than other, possible reasons for this, prefers to describe his speech as Queens English (even though its old fashioned) than southern. At university in Newcastle people assumed she was southern because she didnt have northern regional accent, she was born in Libya and went to convent in Essex, thinks this shaped her accent. Comment that people move around the country more these days so regional accents are becoming more merged, thinks this will result in more diverse accents. Comment that there were probably lots of diverse regional accents in south-east fifty years ago, now there is an estuarine accent with irritating Australian twang.[00:35:09] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Description of welly wanging competition at village fete, wang used to mean throw.[00:39:53] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Explanation of origin of swinging the lead, shipping term, meaning to miss work due to faked illness. Explanation of chin-strapped/on your chin-strap, army expression, meaning tired. Comment that her facial expressions communicate annoyance more explicitly than her words. Mention things that make him annoyed: children and dog. Comment that words used to mean hot/cold are exaggerations: boiling/freezing.[00:46:10] Discussion of words used to mean pregnant, different words used in different situations, some more polite than others, reasons women can be sensitive about it, not knowing if someone is pregnant or overweight.[00:49:12] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Explanation of difference between glad rags and mufti, both meaning clothes. Dispute over word used for childs soft shoes worn for physical education, mention personal preferences, possible link between plimsolls and plimsoll line (shipping term). Mention that words meaning specific type of trousers, such as jeans/chinos would be used rather than trousers, these differ between men and women.[00:54:47] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that the Queen likes to be called mum rather than mam, discussion of different words used to mean mother in public/private and to/about her, connotations of mummys boy. Mention confusion between different meanings of nanny. Comment that male partner suggests an unmarried partner. Difference between a friend and a mate, mate can also be used to refer to someone you dont know to get their attention. Different words used to distinguish between maternal and paternal grandfather. Story about young soldier at army company party asking for a dance with his girlfriend, referred to her as scrubber which was a compliment. Discussion of appearance of young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, when and where they can be seen locally, comment that words used to describe them are generational, thinks you shouldnt criticise across generations because theres a lot of pressure to buy clothes and look a certain way, everyone does it when young. Remark that gear can be used to mean both kit of tools and illegal drugs. Mention that noonah is used to mean lots of different things; remote control for television is called doofer/zapper. Speakers re-introduce themselves.
BBC warning: This interview contains language which some may find offensive. 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 Worston, near Clitheroe.