Conversation in Helmsley about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Helmsley, North Yorkshire
Dunn, Paul, 1946- (speaker, male), Ward, Eva, 1929- (speaker, female), Wardle, Doreen, 1934- (speaker, female)
Foster, Neil, 1976 May 23- (speaker, male)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention origin of jiggered meaning tired.[00:06:44] Discussion about Yorkshire dialects and local regional variation, comment that he can tell which riding of Yorkshire a person comes from by their speech, future of local accents and dialects, how school affects speech, relationship between spelling and pronunciation; how local speech has changed over time, effect of incomers. Anecdote about slipping into dialect when giving guided tour of local stately home to foreign tourists. Remark on similarity of Yorkshire words to Scandinavian languages, anecdote about Finnish person being able to understand some of his dialect words. Mention words used to mean hot.[00:17:10] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS.[00:19:48] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment that pregnancy wasnt talked about in the past; change in attitudes towards mental health means different words now used to mean insane.[00:25:55] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Description of different seats used in past. Anecdote about cleaning outside toilet as child, descriptions of using different types of toilets. Discussion about possible relationship between siling meaning to rain heavily and a sile used to strain milk.[00:34:42] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention old pronunciation of father, different pronunciations of tackle.[00:43:00] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING.[00:45:45] Discussion about how other people react to their accent, altering their speech to enable others to understand, speaking correctly. Description of Yorkshire Dialect Society, comment that people at meetings all speak correctly except when theyre reading poems. Assumptions made about people who speak with regional dialects, associations with different accents, story about stranger knowing exactly where she came from by her accent. Anecdotes about doctors/vets from different areas not understanding local speech in Helmsley.[00:53:30] Explanation of selection of local dialect words/phrases/pronunciations. Comment that some words will never be used today because they dont apply to the current generation. Mention plays Doreen acted in when she was young. Anecdote about not performing dialect play in London because no one would have understood it. Comment that regional accents will die out when everyone has a private school education, were all products of our environment. Mention loss of local characters; how change in schooling has affected childrens speech. Comical story about farmers son seeing flushing toilet for first time. Description of comical play written by Paul about people not understanding what WC means.
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 lifelong residents of the village of Helmsley.