Conversation in Milton Keynes about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
Clifford, Simon, 1982 Sept. 15- (speaker, male, council worker), Collett, Matt, 1980 June 16- (speaker, male, runs own business), Snusher, Liam, 1985 Oct. 15- (speaker, male, shopworker), Christopher, 1988 Aug. 04- (speaker, male)
Griffith, Annette, 1965 May 05- (speaker, female)
Three Counties Radio
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves and say why they skate. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment that women in Loaded magazine are not fitties but slags. Speaker tempted to write down words he wouldnt actually use just because theyre offensive. Comment that calling someone with Attention Deficit Disorder insane is politically incorrect. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Skating clothes are worn every day so theres no special term for them, just call them clothes. Pants, meaning trousers in American English, avoided in United Kingdom because people are surprised if speaker offers to lend them his pants. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Different words for unwell with illness or hangover. Bare used to mean extremely or the maximum extent, can be used with any adjective and be positive or negative, for example bare sick or bare rich, considered a good, multi-use word. Debate over rad being skater or BMX (biking) terminology.[00:11:20] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Use training day to mean playing truant as an excuse if caught by parents. Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that old cheese meaning mother would offend her. GILF used to describe attractive grandmother, comes from the acronym MILF; some speakers express disgust, one points out that a grandmother could be quite young if her teenage daughter has a baby. Discussion of words for young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, both cheap and trendy together is confusing, more accurate definition of a chav discussed. Dispute over bird, meaning female partner being respectful. Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that spit meaning to rain lightly possibly comes from the idea of God spitting on you.[00:22:52] Discussion of skateboarding terms. Different words for tricks and ways to fall over that only people who have skated or played skating computer games would understand. New terms invented because these events occur frequently and would be boring to use same word all the time. Stereotypes of people who skateboard, thought of as timewasters, told to get a real job but have actually worked hard just to buy the skateboard. Story of hearing radio programme about building skatepark in Milton Keynes, one man very negative about skateboarding, speakers think its no different from playing football. People who dont skate might find it difficult to understand what theyre saying because they dont share same experiences, speakers dont intentionally use different language to exclude others, mother perplexed by bad meaning both bad and good. Lots of different influences on skateboarding terminology, mostly from United States, from videos and other media, also American and British ghettos.[00:28:49] Discussion of how interviewees speak. Dont consider themselves to have an accent but probably do to a northerner, their language is a mixture, cursed with the London overspill. Milton Keynes has no history or identity, its inhabitants have come from all over the country, the way they speak is a cocktail of other peoples languages. People think speaker is from London, pick up on Mockney (mock Cockney) part of language, thinks he has more elements than just London though, speaks like a freak. Milton Keynes is fairly new and people dont stay there because its boring, so no accent has been established and people bring back accents from other places. Think this wont change in the future, people always leave and return to Milton Keynes so outside influences are constantly being brought in. Other accents are cool, interesting to hear something different.[00:34:37] Discussion about swearing. Accepted by young people, only older people take offence because there wasnt so much swearing when they were young. Speaker doesnt get offended for himself but would on someone elses behalf, swearing has become comedy, beyond offensive. Dont like the idea that any word in the English language can be offensive. Different attitudes to swearing in front of parents/grandparents, parents have varying reactions, have become more accepting over time. Depends how swear word used in sentence, sometimes unnecessary, swearing still a bit risquÃƒÂ© so used to enhance popularity with young people, Jamie Oliver swears for credibility. More swearing on television now, more shocked at people talking about their personal sex lives on television, think its blunt, but not offended because its amusing. Parents blame speakers language on their friends or on Milton Keynes. Parents know that language changes over time and are accepting. Society is more open now so differences in language are more accepted these days, theres more freedom to express yourself in different ways.[00:43:24] Share skating terminology with people from all over the world, even those who speak different languages. Story of attending skate event in Germany and understanding skate terms, a universal code, perhaps a result of the Americanisation of everything. Discussion of immigrants learning English, dont think they should be forced but think they would want to learn the language anyway. Definition of chav, related to style, all chavs look the same. Description of clothes chavs wear, they might not consider themselves to be chavs but have been labelled as such in the same way that chavs call skaters grebos, helps them to identify another group. Some chavs skate too, the boundaries of the groups mix. Skateboarding is underground, skaters do it for themselves but has become more mainstream and the media use it for advertising products, thats for cash not the love of skating. Speakers explain what skateboarding means to them and why they do it: enjoy it, feels good, meet like-minded people, relieves stress, can do it alone anywhwere. Discussion of what others think of skateboarding, people who judge skaters are envious or cant understand, probably dont mean to be negative, just cant accept it for what it is. Mention councillor who helped get skatepark built, tried to understand instead of ridiculing. Other peoples view is changing, see kids enjoying themselves instead of fighting in skatepark. People who ridicule them are jealous, actually want to have a go themselves but too scared what others will think of them. Skateboarding shouldnt be taken too seriously, its just fun, dont want sponsorship. People who dont skate waste their time doing drugs, drinking and watching television. Discuss older skateboarders, admire 42 year old who still skates. Skate because they love it, keeps them fit and is good fun. Speakers re-introduce themselves.
BBC warning: this interview contains strong or offensive language of a sexual nature, from the start. 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 all young skateboarders who use a skate park in Milton Keynes.