BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Warley, Essex

  • Interviewees

    Graham, Malcolm, 1930- (speaker, male, retired), Sullivan, Michael, 1931- (speaker, male, Cook, Robert, 1945- (speaker, male), Robinson, Yvonne, 1949- (speaker, female), Wiles, Kay, 1964- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

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

  • Producers

    BBC Essex

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Reticence to say knackered in front of ladies. Different words used to describe varying degrees of annoyance. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Meaning of bling (sparkly), learnt from granddaughter, not known by all speakers. Discussion of different words for trousers and their specific meanings.[00:11:06] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that mummy is a childish word but one speaker started using it to refer to her mother after her death when talking to siblings, never used it before. Different word used by each side of speakers family to refer to same grandmother and grandfather. Discussion of use of partner, thought to be a new word, it covers all possibilities both married and unmarried, reflects changes in society regarding acceptability of relationships outside marriage, would use it if not sure of a couples relationship.[00:22:32] Discussion of words used to describe television channel changer. Comment that young people dressed in cheap trendy clothing look trashy/flashy to speaker because he is much older than them. Definition of spiv, didnt wear cheap clothing. Story of surprise at trashy-looking skirt actually being very expensive, again due to age of speaker. Definition of chav, wears brand-named not cheap clothes. Mention regret at occasionally mistakenly calling female work colleagues pet, speakers name for his wife. Discussion of women taking offence at being called love, perhaps too familiar, depends who says it, speakers wife dislikes him calling other women love because its a personal term. Comment that love is used frequently and in respectful way in east London/Merseyside. Speaker finds it upsetting/embarrassing to see two women display affection in public, though finds it more acceptable than two men. Discussion of acceptability of speakers male/female grandchildren embracing them. Words used to describe group of six/seven year olds, kids thought to be American, children thought posh, word varies with childrens age.[00:32:43] Comment on words discussed revealing generation gap between speakers. Discussion of language changing over time, some words in dictionary now werent acceptable in the past. Speaker thinks that swearing is obnoxious when used unnecessarily, bad language thought to be more acceptable today than in the sixties, particularly at football matches. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Definition of cack-handed, connotes clumsiness as well as left-handedness. Story of left-handed girls in speakers convent school being told to write/eat with right hand. Discussion of words used to mean pregnant, comment that pregnancy is more acceptable today, women dont hide their bump in maternity dresses so much anymore, in the past a euphemism was used instead of pregnant implying that the woman had done something wrong. Explanation of three sheets (nautical term) and one over the eight, both meaning drunk. Explanation of brassic/boracic meaning lacking money.[00:50:01] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that speaker wouldnt use jigger to mean alleyway outside of Merseyside because no one would understand it. Discussion of words used to mean toilet, speaker would never use lavatory because he knows its a posh word that is not used in his society, different words used for outside toilet in the past. Story of seeing outside toilet with sign saying the bucket and chuck it when young. Description of using outside toilet (lav) in Merseyside as a child.[00:54:38] Discussion of Essex accent. Description of uncles typical Essex accent: a mumble, speaker thinks there is definitely an Essex accent/dialect. Comment that there are different Essex dialects across the county: some of Essex is very rural with different speech to outer London areas where east Londoners have moved to. Speaker distinguishes Essex accent from Essex dialect: dialect is lovely to listen to, accent can be a bit extreme as heard in places like Romford market. Mention Estuary English in comparison with Essex dialect. Story of some people in village near county borders being difficult to understand. Speaker describes how he thinks Essex dialect has been affected in particular areas by migration of people from Norfolk/Suffolk in the past. Discussion of changing speech when talking to different people, speaker reverts back to old accent when returns to Merseyside where he grew up. Speaker has been brought up to pronounce Ts and does same to her children, their friends at school dont which makes speaker think they dont speak as well. Comment that off of, as in get off of the chair, is thought to be an Essex expression. Description of how speakers life has affected his speech, including era he grew up in, his schooling, job and where he has lived. Comment that conversation is different today to how it used to be. Discussion of how speakers would describe where they are from to a foreigner when abroad, some reticence to be associated with Essex described but one speaker is proud to be an Essex man, thinks proliferating Essex stereotypes displays ignorance. Story of someone from Essex pronouncing Dagenham in a posh way, speaker thinks this is snobbish. Speakers re-introduce themselves.

  • Description

    All five interviewees are employees or retired employees of Ford Motor Company in Warley. 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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