BBC Voices

Conversation in BBC Marylebone studios about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

  • Add a note
    Log in to add a note at the bottom of this page.
  • All notes
  • My notes
  • Hide notes
Please click to leave a note

The British Library Board acknowledges the intellectual property rights of those named as contributors to this recording and the rights of those not identified.
Legal and ethical usage »

Tags (top 25):
(No tags found for this item)
  • Type


  • Duration


  • Shelf mark


  • Recording date


  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Marylebone, London

  • Interviewees

    Bailey, Mick, 1948 Jan. 20- (speaker, male, newspaper seller), Boon, Albert, 1939 Jan. 18- (speaker, male, Jones, James, 1947 Oct. 23- (speaker, male

  • Interviewers

    Phipps, Jason, 1970 March 16- (speaker, male)

  • Producers

    BBC London

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Discussion of Voices spidergram while interviewees write down words and confer. Audio is quiet and not very clear. Some confusion and awkwardness over meaning of male partner. Difficulty finding word to describe young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery develops into general discussion that reveals attitudes towards young people. Story about giving directions to students who dont listen.[00:11:30] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment on how to use rhyming slang correctly: just use the first word. Remark how different words for tired are used in different contexts. Discussion of words used when talking to wife. Stories of swearing inside/outside the house. Discussion of how the era of their youth affects their use of swear words. Swearing: hear more on the street now especially young people, worsened over last ten years. More females swearing now, young men are particularly vile. People swear a lot on mobile phones. Mobile phone use in public, annoyed that people shout into them.[00:20:23] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Different words used to mean play when describing different games. Discussion of different types of games played as children. Stories of playing football and cricket in the street as children just after Second World War. Parents dispensing appropriate physical discipline when they arrived home late from school.[00:23:44] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Some words considered old, used more by their fathers and grandfathers. Remark that language is changing. Discussion of rhyming slang used by their grandfathers for individual items of clothing. Story of old boys (grandparents generation) using rhyming slang for effect. Description of what grandfathers wore. Story of seeing photos of fathers pub outing to the coast in a coach/charabanc, they show the differences between grandparents (older) and parents (trendier) clothing: styles from before and after Second World War. Remark that the aim of rhyming slang is to communicate as quickly as possible. Mention age difference possibly causing different word use. Discussion of different types of shoes worn for physical education when children.[00:27:48] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Description of two grandmothers: one swore a lot, one very strict about using polite language: Victorian values. Story of a 1950s family summer holiday in Margate during which strict rules were always obeyed, including never using first names to address grandparents and parents. Discussion of change from strictly using mum and dad to addressing parents using first names in the seventies, find this strange: a lack of respect. Some confusion over what male partner implies, assume male partner means gay male partner. Describe how builders use crowns (crown jewels) to mean kit of tools. Remark that second word is never used in rhyming slang. Discussion of meaning and use of spiv. Dispute over use of plates and dishes to mean wife.[00:39:05] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that different words are used depending on company. Discussion of origin and use of army slang benghazi/khazi. Comment that father never said he was going to the toilet, it was assumed when he walked away in the pub. Discussion of group variation being social or regional. Anecdote about front room only being used on special occasions during childhood.[00:44:24] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Different words used to mean unattractive, depending on how well you know someone. Comment on female sensitivity to words used to describe women as ugly. Mention my bitches used by some black people to describe women. Discussion of origin of face that launched a thousand ice cream vans, meaning unattractive, used in the sixties. Comment that different word used for drunk in front of females. Different word used for pregnant depending on company as well as person being described. Remark that northern accent is put on when saying up the duff to wife to make it humorous. Dispute over sort or salt used to mean attractive. Discussion of meaning, use and origin of army expression brahma. Comment on the way language is changing, how lots of the words discussed are no longer used.

  • Description

    All three interviewees are Evening Standard sellers. BBC warning: this interview contains strong or offensive language. 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.

  • Texts

    Linguistic description of this item

  • Metadata record:

    View full metadata for this item