BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire

  • Interviewees

    Bemrose, Don, 1933 March 06- (speaker, male, agriculture and water industry), Rank, David 1934 June 02- (speaker, male, interviewee), Perkins, Dorothy, 1930 Aug. 14- (speaker, female), Putnam, Doreen, (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Dexter, Christine, 1958 Jan. 01- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Humberside

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves, description of where they have lived locally, jobs they have done.[00:08:57] Description of local places of interest and past events including site of meteorite landing in Wold Newton in 1795, freak storm and flooding in 1938, nineteenth century Langtoft flood, Willy Howe in Wold Newton where fairies are thought to dwell, Welton Dale, gravestone in church of man who had eight wives, Raikes family mausoleum. Anecdote about cycling past Willy Howe in the rain; going into crypt in Raikes family mausoleum as young girl and walking along tunnel full of rabbit skeletons. Description of being housekeeper for her family during Second World War aged ten after mother died, house they lived in, anecdote about throwing dead mouse into next door neighbours cellar, how village has changed over time; watching village butcher slaughtering animals.[00:22:56] Description of living on coast at Withernsea, types of farming she has done, how farming has changed over time, talking to children about her experiences. Anecdotes about carrying bags of seeds/dry peas/chaff.[00:34:50] Description of how Barmston has changed over time, meaning of offcumden (offcomed one), anecdote about his date of birth being recorded wrong, anecdotes about playing tricks on people in village when younger and how they were punished. Description of his involvement with East Riding Dialect Society, story of being rescued from sheep dip as child because dog drew attention to him; narrowly avoiding being blown up by mine in field because ferret refused to go down rabbit hole.[00:45:06] Description of East Riding Dialect Society, reasons why Don founded it, comment that there are differences between farming and fishing dialects. Anecdote about local dialect varying between villages, comment that they were charged foreign language rates for printing dialect text in Driffield. Story about reading dialect poetry to customer whose house was flooded when he worked for waterboard.[00:53:53] Discussion about their own speech, how local dialect varies across East Riding of Yorkshire, different words used to mean earwig. Anecdotes about getting earwig stuck in various parts of body. Comment that conditions in slaughter houses were much cleaner in the past before health and safety regulations came in. Anecdotes about use of right of way in houses in past. Discussion about different types of toilet used in past, mention words used to mean toilet. Comical anecdote about father carving toilet with oval shaped hole.[01:02:06] Discussion about attitudes towards regional accents, people being unable to understand their speech. Anecdote about mocking vicars Cornish accent; German person thinking she spoke a funny kind of English; looking out of place in London when visiting in 1960s. Mention book written in Whitby dialect by John Widdowson. Anecdotes about people having difficulty understanding their speech. Use of mangel-wurzel in farming. Discussion about how they speak on telephone, depends who is on the other end.[01:14:52] Discussion about regional accents outside of East Riding, different accents spoken in Hull, language spoken by dockers/fishermen, how rivers divide Hull. Mention local towns they like/dislike, family barbers shop business. Discussion about attitudes towards Lincolnshire yellow-belly accent, how it differs to East Riding dialect. Description of thriftiness of East Riding dialect, examples of this. Words for counting sheep used in Wensleydale. Mention Yorkshire phrase expressing surprise that has been lost in his lifetime, examples of local phrases that they use, regional phrases from other areas.[01:25:38] Discussion about how local dialect has changed over time, reasons for this, future of East Riding dialect, how interest has recently been revived in schools, anecdote about school children reciting his poems in dialect. Description of school experiences, teachers attitudes towards their speech. Difference between speaking and reading East Riding dialect.[01:30:04] Discussion about use of swear words and attitudes towards swearing, use of bugger in Yorkshire; generation gap in terms of swearing, gender differences, how this has changed over time. Influence of parents/grandparents on childrens speech. Discussion about Americanisms coming into English language, future of English language. How the bible has changed since King James Bible, anecdote about friend who learnt Bible off by heart. Recitation of part of Bible in dialect, anecdote about reading in dialect at funeral in church.[01:44:08] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention ways they were leathered as children. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Description of clothes worn during week/on Sundays; hob-nail boots made by cobblers in past; different types of trousers. Anecdote about rat running up butchers trousers; description of cats/dogs catching rats, chasing rats away when threshing, building stack of corn, anecdote about harvesting barley.[02:00:23] Comment that language used to describe farming is specific to farming community. Anecdotes about harvesting, explanation of expressions used. Comment that people were happier in the past, people dont have enough time these days despite the introduction of modern farming methods.[02:05:53] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment that sailors used to have different words to mean drunk. Discussion about presence and influence of Scottish people in Yorkshire, comical stories about Scottish people. Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS.[02:12:50] Description of hopes for future of East Riding dialect, pride in East Riding Dialect Society.

  • 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 four interviewees are all East Riding Dialect Society enthusiuasts.

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