BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Reading, Berkshire

  • Interviewees

    Frost, Allister, 1971 May 28- (speaker, male, Microsoft marketing), Lamb, Stephen, 1972 Jan. 22- (speaker, male, Microsoft technology), Lyon, Angus, 1966 May 09- (speaker, male, Microsoft small business sector), Millington, Lucy, 1974 April 29- (speaker, female, Microsoft corprate PR)

  • Interviewers

    Lloyd, Harriet, 1978 Aug. 17- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Berkshire

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Discussion about jargon used at Microsoft, in particular acronyms; anecdote about alternative meaning of acronym causing misunderstanding during press interview; how this specialist language is created and evolves; translating it into other languages, including American English. Mention use of jargon outside work-place in water-sports.[00:12:32] Discussion about avoiding jargon to prevent it being a barrier to new employees/partners, comment that use of jargon within the company binds employees together as a group; Microsoft terms becoming pervasive within computer industry; common language between computer technology companies but also differences. Comment that AV now means antivirus to her, rather than audio visual, as a result of her job. Anecdotes about using pronunciations/words from different companies/cultures, people dont always understand them.[00:18:58] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that word used for annoyed varies depending on situation and people present. Remark that he is into surf culture so uses a lot of Americanisms, in addition to those learnt at Microsoft.[00:24:56] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Comment that he used to work in sales in United States which meant he had to speak the local language, this is where the Americanisms in his vocabulary come from, he also read the sports paper to be able to engage in conversation. Discussion about unconsciously picking up other peoples accents/speech to bond with them/put them at ease; differences between British/American/German humour.[00:30:51] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Mention left-footers heard used to mean Catholics; multiple meanings of pissed/rough/cool; different uses of random.[00:38:08] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Mention difference in meaning of dinner in north/south.[00:42:47] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Meaning and use of chav, comment that he wouldnt use it because he doesnt feel authoritative on its meaning though can understand its implications.[00:51:27] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Anecdote about being confused by use of pants for trousers in United States. Mention use of stiffy in South Africa to mean floppy disk. Remark that there is a lot of interesting slang used in British gangster film Layer Cake.[00:55:48] Discussion about being judged on the way you speak, similar to being judged on the way you dress; advantages/disadvantages of various accents; comment that British and American English are merging but differences will prevail in future based on social networks more than geography. Discussion about working as a woman in computer industry; use of neologisms in information technology and sociology (wifes profession), comment that there are lots of new acronyms in English because it is such a flexible language and already incorporates many borrowed words; remark that a press release written in United States is very different to one aimed at British journalists.

  • Description

    All four interviewees are colleagues at Microsoft in Reading. BBC warning: this interview contains language which some may find offensive. 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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