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

    Brome, Lyle, 1933 Feb. 27- (speaker, male), Brome, Myrtle, 1938 Dec. 07- (speaker, female), Hinds, Jeffrey, 1961 April 09- (speaker, male), Hinds, Junior, 1953 Dec. 06- (speaker, male), Vaughan, Kevin, 1970 Feb. 08- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

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

  • Producers

    Radio Berkshire

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that different words are used depending on the situation and who is being addressed, whether or not they know words from the Caribbean. Anecdotes about feeling cold in West Indies. [00:12:44] Origin and use of ‘pitch black’ meaning ‘really black’, discussion about terms used to describe skin colour, some derogatory. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Anecdote about mother being extremely vexed. [00:27:08] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Explanation of origin of ‘hit the hay’ meaning ‘sleep’. Comment that most of their expressions probably have some connection with England. Explanation of ‘moon run till day catch it’, saying used by grandmother. [00:36:20] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Explanation of other meanings of ‘left-handed’. Mention phrases meaning ‘to criticise someone’. Description of dialect they speak, mixture of European and African languages. [00:47:40] Interviewer comments on religious connotations of lots of phrases used. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Explanation of Bajan expressions ‘a good live-with is better than a bad marriage’ and ‘playing poor grit’. [01:02:10] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Description of different types of Bajan houses, comment on similar use of ‘front room’ in Barbados and England. Description of ‘couch’ as opposed to ‘settee’; difference between ‘road’, ‘gap’ and ‘cart road’ in Barbados; types of toilet used by people of different classes in Barbados, description of inspecting/emptying ‘earth pit’ toilet. [01:15:45] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Anecdote about being told to write ‘young daughter’ rather than ‘baby girl’. Examples of words that no longer reflect their spelling because the pronunciation has changed so much over time. Remark that everyone in his family calls him ‘Uncle Lyle’ whatever their relationship, discussion about historical significance of naming conventions and use of nicknames in Caribbean. [01:33:17] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Mention words used to mean male/female ‘underpants’, anecdote about calling men’s underpants ‘B.V.D.’ in England.

  • Description

    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 group includes a married couple and three of their friends. Three of the interviewees were born in Barbados, the other two were born in Britain of Barbadian parents.

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