BBC Voices

Conversation in Redhill about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Redhill, Surrey

  • Interviewees

    Buswell, Priscilla, 1944 Sept. 27- (speaker, female, osteopath), Maiklem, Lisa, 1973 May 17- (speaker, female, plant manager in garden centre), Sheringham, John (Pip), 1940 Nov. 18- (speaker, male, market trader/salesman)

  • Interviewers

    Lloyd, Wendy, 1966 Sept. 15- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Southern Counties Radio

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves, describe where they have lived and their occupations. Speakers describe their own accents. Mention Received English. Story of picking up a New Zealand twang after spending one year there. Description of acquiring Scottish accent as a child to fit in while at school there, thinks she doesnt have it anymore, prejudice experienced as an English person in northern Scotland, wasnt ever properly accepted, comment that Scottish accent is admired by English people. Mention London/Cockney accent. Speakers parents didnt use rhyming slang at home, father used it in market. Young people dont use it, there arent really any Cockneys anymore theyve all moved out of London, the East End is different not just English people now. Comment that people have got to change their speech in order to move up in society, no proper Cockney accents in Surrey except perhaps spoken by Romanies who are from Essex. Mention examples of rhyming slang. Description of how speakers children talk in comparison with her, they possibly use Estuary English, slightly different to speaker because theyre young and from a different generation, more modern. Speaker thinks everything evolves so as long as children can express themselves she has no strong opinion about the way they speak, main difference is the way they use their vowels. Mention words that teenagers use, some have new meanings, use cool a lot in different ways, comment that these words and vowel sounds probably come from the media.[00:11:38] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that Israeli friend was surprised at how understated English people are when they talk about the weather being cold. Remark that friends in United Kingdom wouldnt understand what speaker meant if she used crook to mean unwell, a term she learnt in New Zealand. Comment that there isnt a large vocabulary of words meaning unwell or tired because they are conditions that people tend not to talk about a lot, perhaps because it reveals a weakness, expected to get on with it instead of making a fuss, speaker hopes her children would behave like that. Discussion of swear words being used in media and in public, comment that they dont cause offence anymore, its part of natural evolution of language but speaker wouldnt expect to hear that kind of language in certain situations and at particular times. Description of speakers opinion that its a pity if bad language becomes part of everyday language and doesnt shock anymore because there isnt anything left to express real annoyance linguistically, people might turn to violence instead. Comment that its a pity when sentences are full of swear words because it shows a lack of vocabulary. Mention milder swear words that arent heard so much anymore, means there is no gradation of swearing, even young children go straight to the most offensive swear words, thinks this possibly accounts for or is symptomatic of bad behaviour of young children. Speaker who is pregnant describes how she intends to avoid swearing when baby is born, its very easy for children to pick up swear words, mention young nephew embarrassing grandparents by using expletives. Comment that there is a place for swearing in our culture to express extreme emotions and communicate them to others.[00:24:25] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Comment that speaker hasnt used sandshoes to describe childs soft shoes worn for physical education since leaving Scotland because no one would understand what she meant.[00:30:14] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Meaning of chav used for young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, thought to be derogatory, associated with wearing imitation Burberry clothes, suggestions of etymology. Discussion of words used to mean pregnant.[00:37:23] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Use of well-breeched meaning rich. Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Use of twitten to mean alleyway. Comment that every room in house has a television in it these days.[00:42:41] Discussion of Surrey accent. Comment that there is divide between well-spoken and badly-spoken people, badly-spoken means not finishing words properly, bad grammar, using slang and colloquial language. Remark that vocabulary is more important than accent, need to know enough words to express feelings accurately. Speaker thinks that responsibility lies firstly with parents, need to speak with children when theyre very young to ensure they learn language properly, then schools should teach proper use if English instead of letting children express themselves how they want, children should also be encouraged to respond instead of just receiving information from televisions and computers. Speaker thinks that not being able to express yourself properly can lead to frustration and then violence in young people. Mention speakers favourite words: gorgeous and stunning. Discussion of how speaker will influence her childrens speech, its a priority for her, how she will deal with them saying words she might not want them to use. Description of how speakers language is very similar to her parents, she led quite an isolated early life at boarding school like her parents. Discussion of possible origins of London slang for different amounts, such as a pony meaning twenty-five. Comment that East End of London has always been melting pot for people and language because of international trading occurring in its ports. Discussion of possible origins of on the fiddle, berserk and scapegoat. Comment that language is endlessly fascinating, especially the etymologies of words and the history that they portray, its a defining part of being human.

  • 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 three interviewees are all friends and regulars at Fanny's Tea Shop in Redhill.

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