Conversation in Purley on Thames about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Purley on Thames, Berkshire
Carr, Daniel, 1974 Sept. 13- (speaker, male, baker), Boseley, Donna, 1977 Sept. 24- (speaker, female), Boseley, Michael, 1947 Oct. 25- (speaker, male), Waring, Sydney, 1928 July 23- (speaker, male)
Lloyd, Harriet, 1978 Aug. 17- (speaker, female)
[00:00:00] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Anecdote about being reprimanded for using ‘knackered’ to mean ‘tired’ as a child, thinks it is commonly used by most people now. Mention using rhyming slang as a teenager growing up in Calcot, Berkshire. Discussion of attitudes towards swearing and use of swear-words, comment that as soon as you meet someone you make a judgment about what language is acceptable to use with them. [00:10:36] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Comment that different schools have their own playground jargon. Remark that his wife can hit hard with sarcastic words rather than physical blows. [00:19:25] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment that rhyming slang was used as a euphemism in the past when swearing was less acceptable, description of how use and acceptability of swear-words has changed over time, reasons for this. Comment that the word ‘pregnant’ was avoided in the past, mention previous stigmatisation of young, unmarried, pregnant women; influence of American English on British English during Second World War. [00:31:10] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment that mental illness was taboo subject in past, words considered politically incorrect now were used without malice in past, examples of this. Description of witnessing racism of American soldiers during Second World War. Discussion about acceptability of various words to members of different generations, change in use of “nigger”. Mention words meaning ‘to throw’. [00:43:05] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Description of rooms in houses in the past. Comment that the language they use is evolving quickly. [00:53:30] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Use of terms of endearment and nicknames, anecdote about calling a boy ‘ducky’ when younger. Description of a ‘spiv’ and a ‘chav’. [01:01:33] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention diminish in appeal of various fashion labels. Words used to differentiate between maternal/paternal grandparents in English and Chinese. [01:10:08] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Mention alternative meaning of ‘gear’; meaning of ‘rare’ used to describe out-of-date clothes.
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. The interviewees represent three generations of a family in Purley.