BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Southall, London

  • Interviewees

    Banga, Nishi, 1984 Nov. 24- (speaker, female, student), Singh Chalal, Manjimder, 1974 April 29- (speaker, male, interviewee), Singh Khera, Ajit, 1949 April 08- (speaker, male), Singh, Karanbir, 1985 Sept. 29- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

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

  • Producers

    BBC London

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Punjabi swear words, very descriptive, unfortunate that many connote brutal violation of women, speakers swear in Punjabi when really angry. Punjabi names parents used when speakers were naughty as children, use some now with own children. Comment that when bad is used to mean good its pronunciation communicates the intended sense, influenced by Will Smith. Discussion of meanings of Punjabi words for pleased. Remark on distinction between tired and knackered. Comment that most people use Punjabi word for unwell at home even if born in United Kingdom, also used to mean faking sickness.[00:09:01] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Meanings and use of skiving and bunking. Meaning and origin of Punjabi and English words for sleep, would use Punjabi word while speaking English to friends.[00:14:07] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Punjabi words for clothes, used most of the time even when talking to English-speaking friends; one word officially means shirt but can be used as slang to mean clothes. Use of different words for trousers in Punjabi and English; pant was borrowed into Punjabi from English, replacing more traditional Punjabi word pyjama, which has been borrowed into English. Comment that Will Smith has influenced speakers awareness of American English.[00:20:00] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Pejorative words meaning rich, a Punjabi phrase implies that your money is inherited. Punjabi word meaning left-handed, dispute over it being derogatory. Meaning and use of Punjabi and English words for unattractive, some specifically describe women. Meaning and use of Punjabi words for lacking money, would use in English sentence, can also use to describe an object thats materially poor. Comment that there are lots of Punjabi words meaning drunk because drinking is popular in Punjab. Remark that preggers is used to describe a young person who is pregnant, not an older woman. Discussion of use and meaning of Punjabi words for pregnant. Meanings of Punjabi words for attractive. Punjabi words for insane, one can be positive or negative depending on how it is said.[00:35:17] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Meaning and use of English and Punjabi words used to refer to main room of house, different English word used in Punjab/United Kingdom. Stories of varying levels of formality for use of main room in house. Comment that a settee is harder than a sofa; use sofa in Punjabi, only similar Punjabi word means day-bed.[00:43:09] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Punjabi and English words meaning mother, use different word when addressing mother (English) to when talking about her with sisters (Punjabi). Words for grandmother, different word for maternal/paternal grandmother plus one that can be used to mean either. Punjabi English (Pinglish) spoken in United Kingdom, kinship terms have remained Punjabi except mum and dad which have been adopted into Punjabi from English. Comment that no Punjabi word for boyfriend exists because women are not meant to have a boyfriend, one word means male/female friend and can also be used pejoratively, English words for boyfriend are starting to be used. Punjabi word for water boiler sounds the same as geezer, discussion of possible origins: English word or trade-mark, stories of using trade-marks instead of generic names. Discussion of Punjabi words for friend, matey has been adopted from English. Punjabi words for grandfather, use same word for maternal great uncle as maternal grandfather. Meaning and use of Punjabi word nana, suggest it was borrowed into English from Punjabi or vice versa.[00:50:35] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that when speaker cant remember the name for something but knows the beginning of the word they make the rest up. Discussion of meaning and use of English and Punjabi words for young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery. Mention bopping is associated with this type of person, alludes to the way they walk down the street. Comment that dressing casually is less negative now than it used to be, can be positive. Comment that speakers daughter wears trousers that show her bum, which he associates with builders. Anecdote about speakers teacher referring to his girlfriend as my bitch. Comment that girl meaning female partner should be spelt gyal to emphasise the pronunciation. Discussion of Punjabi words used to mean baby, lots of names of vegetables, word for naughty child translates as satan. Story of discovering chav and not knowing meaning. Comment that language is constantly changing.

  • Description

    All four interviewees are community radio volunteers in Southall. 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.

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