BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Plymouth, Devon

  • Interviewees

    Lau, Tim, 1979 April 21- (speaker, male, student), Wong, Kylie, 1973 April 07- (speaker, female, artist), Xiao Bai, Li, 1957 Oct. 23- (speaker, male, chef)

  • Interviewers

    England, Kirk, 1973 July 31- (speaker, male)

  • Producers

    Radio Devon

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion about their own accents, speaking English with Chinese accent, speaking Cantonese with English accent, being able to tell a persons background from their accent. Comment that Kylie clearly sounds like a BBC (British Born Chinese). Description of languages spoken by her family, mention Chinese dialects Cantonese and Hakka, how she communicates with her parents, using Cantonese word for dustbin when speaking English to her daughter. Description of daughter learning English/Cantonese, her own experience of this when young. Discussion about choosing to speak English or Cantonese/Mandarin.[00:11:37] Description of how she feels about being Chinese, how this has changed over time and is connected to the way she speaks, her attitude towards the way she speaks. Difficulty of losing Chinese accent when speaking English as second language, wanting to sound more English. Description of people having difficulty understanding him when he speaks English because of his foreign accent, comment that its easier to understand people speaking English than talking it. Discussion about Kylies English accent when speaking Cantonese, comment that it sounds cool to Tim.[00:18:30] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS.[00:20:27] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Comparison of word for childs soft shoe worn for physical education in three different Chinese languages, comment that the word used in Hong Kong literally means a little white fish because the shoes have to be white.[00:24:08] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Reasons for Kylie knowing/using more slang words than Tim and Xiao.[00:28:51] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that English words are used in Hong Kong Cantonese so he is sometimes unsure if a word is English or Hong Kong English. Comment that there are many different words for mother in Mandarin, mention when they would use English/Chinese words for mother. Discussion about use and meaning of innit/you know, thought to be Plymothian terms, pronunciation of innit.[00:39:07] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES.[00:44:11] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Speakers re-introduce themselves and mention the languages they speak.

  • 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 three interviewees are all members of Plymouth's Chinese community.

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