BBC Voices

Conversation in St Helens about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

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Laura Bond Sykes24:00/58:00 One the speakers is talking about a man (sounds like he calls him 'Tommy Syrup'). He says they thought he was "a bit.. t'other road, yeh kno'", then the interviewer starts asking about young people 'on the roads', but she misunderstood. What the the speaker meant was that the gentleman with the monocle was thought to have homosexual tendencies - this is why he says the rugby player wouldn't use the toilets when he was around. T'other road = the other way.
Posted by Laura Bond Sykes on 29/07/2013

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  • Type

    sound

  • Duration

    00:58:00

  • Shelf mark

    C1190/22/05

  • Recording date

    2005-03-03

  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    St Helens, Merseyside

  • Interviewees

    Crehan, James (Jimmy), 1929 Aug. 23- (speaker, male, retired), Lynch, Shelagh, 1961 July 23- (speaker, female, housewife), Rigby, Raymond, 1953 Oct. 13- (speaker, male, centre manager), Walker, William (Billy), 1943 Aug. 23- (speaker, male, interviewee)

  • Interviewers

    Campbell, Jodie, 1981 June 17- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Merseyside

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Description of how he would describe his accent, examples of local dialect words. Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Story of Welsh grandfathers journey from growing up in Wales to working in St Helens and living in family home after grandmother died, mention his violent Welsh temper. Story of going down the pit for the first time, description of working in Clock Face colliery, unrest caused by National Coal Board takeover. Mention animosity caused by closure of pits in 1980s, her husband would work back in pit if it re-opened; strong sense of camaraderie, story of visiting one of last drift mines in Billinge; drinking habits of various miners; mention that pit community is still evident in local area; anecdote about mine workers pension.[00:12:42] Discussion of local area, what counts as Parr, stories about Liverpudlian miners who worked in local pit, used different words. Anecdote about Scottish relatives thinking St Helens is Liverpool, thinks St Helens has its own identity that is often overlooked by media; description of tensions between various local areas, very tribal, anecdote about being unable to coordinate cross-area events, thinks its leftover from associations with different housing estates and pits, trying to break down these boundaries. Mention that people came from all over country to work in pits, this might account for different dialects found within St Helens. Anecdote about growing up in Clock Face (nearby area), majority of men worked in Clock Face colliery, very close-knit community.[00:21:10] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Mention that local people who have become wealthy are tolerated because they havent lost their roots and made their money themselves. Anecdote about rent man coming round to collect money. Discussion of word used to mean young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, description of a dapper. Comment that Scousers call them Woollybacks but Mancunians/Londoners call them Scousers, people from Haydock are called Yickers, local accent changes dramatically over short distances. Comical stories about using buses in the past.[00:28:06] Discussion about attitudes towards swearing and use of swear words, general disapproval, mention that swearing drowns out bingo on Friday nights when sport is on in Miners Centre, thinks it reflects the way people have been brought up, disbelief at amount of swearing by men and women in Glasgow, embarrassed by swearing on television when watching with grandson, use of swear words in the past. Story about using euphemism at work, this impressed ladies.[00:32:08] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Comical story about borrowing tie to go to theatre. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES.[00:36:35] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Explanation of Billinge rain, local phrase meaning light rain. Description of first house he lived in, his parents still live there now; mention different methods of storing coal inside/outside house, local houses that still have open fires. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS.[00:41:19] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Story of playing truant from school and getting into trouble. Description of games played when children. Description of The Vanny, old colliery site where children used to play. Story of father being punished for claiming compensation from his employer, fathers experience of living in workhouse. Discussion about preservation of local history, doesnt think young people are aware of it now; thinks local St Helens dialect is dying out because too many people from different backgrounds are moving in; influence of American rap music and films; comment that local accents will evolve away eventually; mention influence of television on four year old sons language, uses Americanisms, speaks differently to how mother did when she was young. Discussion of different words used for footwear, have changed over time; mention different pronunciations of book, think one is used by children because teachers arent local anymore.[00:51:02] Description of seventy-five year old speakers outstanding sporting achievements, mention local running tracks. Explanation of local dialect words and phrases, still use them amongst themselves, young son wouldnt understand them. Anecdote about not understanding term used by eighty year old father to his friend; being physically disciplined by mother for swearing aged nine; swearing at father when young.

  • Description

    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 made up of two retired miners who regularly attend the Bold Miners Centre in St Helens, the centre secretary and its communications manager.

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User notes for this item

[25:01]

24:00/58:00 One the speakers is talking about a man (sounds like he calls him 'Tommy Syrup'). He says they thought he was "a bit.. t'other road, yeh kno'", then the interviewer starts asking about young people 'on the roads', but she misunderstood. What the the speaker meant was that the gentleman with the monocle was thought to have homosexual tendencies - this is why he says the rugby player wouldn't use the toilets when he was around. T'other road = the other way.

Posted by Laura Bond Sykes on 29/07/2013 16:35:00

Conversation in St Helens about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

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