BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Sedbergh, Cumbria

  • Interviewees

    Close, Nigel, 1957 Aug. 07- (speaker, male, businessman), Sedgwick, Brenda, 1935 July 22- (speaker, female, farmer with milk round), Steadman, Garth, 1945 March 05- (speaker, male, retired butcher), Stoker, Mike, 1948 Nov. 30- (speaker, male, post office inspector)

  • Interviewers

    Armstrong, Joan, 1956 June 14- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Cumbria

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention local pronunciation of cold, local words twined (annoyed) and nithered (cold); local phrases used to describe Helm wind. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention use of lake meaning to play. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment on change in terms used to mean pregnant.[00:10:00] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Mention that they all get up early in the morning. Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention different words for mother, changes with age and situation; use of our mam/our dad; changed word for grandmother as got older. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Story of three instances of physical discipline received at school.[00:19:33] Discussion about speaking to people in authority at school, had to be very respectful, anecdote about headmistress nearly making him cry by telling him off, comment that discipline like that doesnt exist now. Description of schools they went to, were all very strict, experiences of physical discipline, reasons for leaving school and work they did after. Anecdote about feeling left out when Welsh nurses spoke to each other in Welsh when she worked in Liverpool hospital. Discussion about impact of strict upbringing on politeness of language they use as adults in comparison to how young people speak now. Comment that he still addresses older people as Mr/Mrs but prefers younger people to call him Nigel. Story of being lectured by mother about manners when visiting wealthy aunt and uncle; rules they had to observe as children; anecdote about being told to give up seat for older people on bus. Mention names people use to address them in their professional roles, nicknames they have had.[00:32:48] Discussion of swearing and use of bad language, comment that its rise is related to decline of discipline in schools, even girls swear now; influence of television, professional footballers swearing at referee. Discussion of who is responsible for decline in discipline and respect in younger generation. Description of working in factory in past, everyone used bad language, both men and women, but switched off as soon as they left, comment that it sounds coarser when women swear. Anecdote about friend using redundancy money to set up his own business. Extended description of playing in band during 1960s, played all over north of England, wife played bass guitar, mention famous bands they played with and venues they played at; anecdote about harmonica player bursting a lung because he played so hard.[00:46:25] Discussion about influence of television on language, mention phrases learnt from television, influence of Peter Kay (northern comedian) on how people think about northerners. Comment that use of regional accents on television has made them less strange to others in real life.[00:50:51] Description of local area in Sedbergh, popular with tourists, people with different accents mix and understand each other. Anecdote about finding it impossible to understand Glaswegian colleague, mention other regional accents that are difficult to understand. Anecdote about amusing Dorset pronunciation of plastic. Remark that talking about accents is often a good starting point for a conversation.[00:55:10] Discussion about how they view their own accent, he doesnt think he has a broad accent but daughters friends in Sheffield remark on it so must be distinctive; Yorkshire/Cumbria split. Description of how accent varies locally, when and why they might change their accent depending on who they are talking to; how his language changes when hes selling something to someone. Comment that he sounds different when he hears his recorded voice. Mention assumptions people might make about northern accent; local pronunciation of leap (loup). Stories about country people in Cumbria being very friendly in 1960s, close relationship with their customers, would often stop at their houses for breakfast or cup of tea. Description of old colleague in post office who was a character, anecdotes about his comical activities.[01:05:42] Discussion about accent changing, comment that they have gained not lost by people coming into the area, affected by teachers not being local anymore. Mention being intimidated in the past by people who could talk posh, doesnt feel this at all now. Impact of Sedbergh School on language they use.[01:08:51] Discussion about local words, phrases and pronunciations heard on post round in rural areas, pronunciation of words for days of the week. Amusing anecdote about postman using local phrase. Comment that European Union will soon invent new language that everyone in Europe will have to learn. Speakers re-introduce themselves.

  • Description

    All four interviewees are long established members of the local business community. 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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