BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Maldon, Essex

  • Interviewees

    Cardy, Rick, 1953- (speaker, male, shipwright and barge skipper), Fisher, Pat, 1936 June 08- (speaker, male, retired barge skipper), Harman, Andrew, 1957- (speaker, male, ship repairer and barge skipper)

  • Interviewers

    Clark, Ray, 1954 June 22- (speaker, male)

  • Producers

    BBC Essex

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Comment that they didnt play truant at school so didnt use any words for it, though have some to describe others who did. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Oilies specifically means work clothes (oilskins). Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that friends are always called mate in case of uncertainty over their name, the lads used to describe the crew of a barge.[00:09:27] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Story of children questioning the use of front room to mean main room of house, speaker suggests it might be because the best room was traditionally at the front of the house. One speaker calls the best room the room because it is located at the back of the house. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Explanation of meaning of nautical expression three sheets to the wind used for drunk. Discussion of politeness of terms used to mean pregnant, explanation of nice barging term stacking the hatch meaning pregnant.[00:14:40] Mention hoddy-dod used by speakers aunt to mean snail, he didnt understand. Discussion of language used specifically on barges. Words used to describe rough sea (lumpy/shes chucking it over) and strong wind (fair strumming). Discussion of attitudes towards and experiences of different British accents. Comment that its a good thing that everyone speaks differently, speakers dont change the way they speak when talking to posh/older/younger people, its wrong to change the accent youve grown up with to suit other peoples opinion of you. Discussion of necessity of explaining some words to people from different parts of the country, possibly because speakers use specialist marine terms, they simplify their speech when talking to foreigners. Differences between Kent, Essex and East Anglian bargers, the Kentish boys speak more poshly but sailing barges is a specialised activity so everyone understands barging terms and its easy to communicate with others. Experiences of talking on the radio to fishermen and coastguards. Hardest accent to understand is broad Geordie, speaker had an engineer who was Scottish so got used to understanding Scottish accent. Sometimes people dont understand speakers so its necessary for them to translate terms or use BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) English. If youre familiar with what youre talking about its easier to make other people understand.[00:23:48] Discussion about attitudes towards swearing and situations in which its appropriate. Realistically most people swear a bit, dislikes swearing just for the sake of it or people being noisy with it, most passengers on the boats are well behaved. Dislikes use of swear words all the time, speaker would never swear in front of women, he swore along with others at work in the docks but stopped when he left each day. Another speaker never swears when doing charter work on the barge. Important to save swearing for when its necessary, if you swear all the time you cant make your point when you want to. Encourages barge crew not to swear, even when empty, to create a good atmosphere when full of holiday makers. Discussion of words used in the past to refer to barge crew when they carried goods, sailorman was used by London dockers and is the main word used today. Words used for different parts of a barge, most of these are old, have been handed down through generations of bargers. Discussion of competition in barge races, especially between Essex and Kent. Words and phrases used for different kinds of barges, both complimentary and derogatory, no two barges are exactly the same. Future of barges, lots of young lads interested in barging, speaker is happy about this, doesnt want to see barges disappear. Reasons for speakers fascination with barges, they look wonderful. Speakers all feel proud when people on the shore watch them sailing a barge, all barges look nice and have their own individual personality. Description of one speakers barge which is the fastest. Speakers re-introduce themselves.

  • Description

    All three interviewees are barge skippers on the River Blackwater. 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.

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