Conversation in Boughton Monchelsea about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.
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BBC Voices Recordings
Boughton Monchelsea, Kent
Chappell, Maureen, 1932 Aug. 12- (speaker, female), Chappell, Roger, 1934 Oct. 19- (speaker, male)
Burn, Jo, 1965 Feb. 19- (speaker, male)
[00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves and describe where they have lived in the area. Description of features of Kent accent, speaker thinks she definitely has one. Doesnt want to change her speech even though some people dont understand all the words she uses, gives examples. Comment that she would speak politely in Buckingham Palace, knows when to be respectful. Other older people in village have similar accent but some have modified their speech to sound different.[00:04:42] Story of living near farm as child during Second World War where Romanies came to pick fruit every summer. They asked for clothes, mother gave them vegetables instead and was proud of never being cursed by Romanies. Story of Romanies coming into fruit shop where speaker worked, she served them while they were breast-feeding even though male worker wanted them to leave. Romani woman knew she was pregnant and gave her two lucky shells, she still has one. Discussion of words learnt from Romanies, wouldnt use all of them.[00:09:06] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that speakers always refer to each other as husband and wife, think that other terms are degrading. Speakers son always uses mum/dad, never mother/father. Comment that when Romani women lose their husbands they have to work to support themselves. Story of speakers relationship with Romani widow who sold pot plants, speaker told her she would never buy any plants, instead gave her clothes and drinks, Romani brought her basket of wild primrose plants, her favourite flowers. Description of Romani womans speech, her pronunciation of arthritis amused speakers.[00:13:16] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Different word for raining hard depending on which way its falling, straight down or blown across by wind. Explanation, use and pronunciation of black as old Newgates knocker. Discussion of words used to mean windy. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that close friends are known by their name, friend only used to describe casual friends such as postman/milkman. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES.[00:19:24] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Story of having no bathroom when first living in house, used bog bucket (bucket in shed). Description of Elsan (chemical toilet) which later replaced it, speaker emptied this in garden only once, to prove husband wrong. Anecdote about husband using expression if you dont shut up Ill dust that ceiling with your head to which speaker retaliated when youre big enough youll be too old, which prompted husband to pick her up and actually do it.[00:23:18] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that speakers husband hates being ill. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Comment that the school board man would search for them if they played truant from school as children. Story of only having to physically discipline child once.[00:27:30] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Remark that speakers have never been absolutely skint. Story of first being drunk aged 17, thought she was drinking orange juice but was actually gin and orange, she was sick. Comment that husband wouldnt admit to being drunk. Story of husband getting drunk on brown ale and whisky then being given vodka and nearly dying. Comment that pregnant is used now because you can see the baby hanging out of womens clothing these days, speaker hates it, thinks it isnt good for baby to be exposed like that before its born. Doesnt use expressions to mean pregnant that she considers rude, such as shes been stuffed, shows no respect for the baby, carrying is more appropriate. Story of neighbours child being informed by her parents and talking openly about her mothers pregnancy, speaker thinks thats a good way to treat children.
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. Maureen and Roger have a strong sense of local identity and consider themselves to have an authentic, traditional Kentish accent.