BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Dungeness, Kent

  • Interviewees

    Richardson, Mark, 1949 May 02- (speaker, male, lifeboatman), Richardson, Pat, 1942 July 05- (speaker, male, fisherman), Richardson, Stuart, 1971 Oct. 05- (speaker, male, Richardson, William, 1946 Aug. 27- (speaker, male, retired fisherman), Richardson, Judith, 1947 Sept. 22- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Burn, Jo, 1965 Feb. 19- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Kent

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Description of tradition of fishing and manning lifeboats in speakers family, knew he would work on the sea age 10. Story of marrying into the fishing/lifeboat community, thats all anyone talked about, considered local now after 38 years. Comment on closeness of community, dont know anything else. One speaker divides time between London and Dungeness for work, comments on differences in culture, prefers being in Dungeness. Discussion of Dungeness accent, noticed older generation had stronger accent than younger generation when first moved there.[00:05:20] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Remark that wife has integrated well into local community. Discussion of partner, dislike the term because it isnt clear whether couple are married or just living together. Would use it to mean gay partner, comment that its something speakers dont really ever think about. Different word used to differentiate between maternal/paternal grandmothers. Mention that grandchildren call speaker groovy gran or G.G. because she has taught them to use computers and mobile phones. Mention what teenagers do in Dungeness. Remark that speaker disliked being called young un as a teenager, thought people should use his name. Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING.[00:16:27] Discussion of importance of weather in Dungeness, everything in household used to stop for daily radio shipping forecast which influenced next day fishing activities, now everyone stops for weather forecast on television. Weather is severe in Dungeness because its very exposed so wind is an important factor. Discussion of words used to describe wind, would purposely underestimate it. Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Comment that rain doesnt really affect speakers so much. Discussion of local expressions that other people might not understand: aggy jaggers/agger jaggers describes eerie sea mist that forms along shore before sunrise when sea is warmer than air; gurted describes being swept along by an overpowering tide while towing a boat. Different phrases used in different areas to mean fixing the boat to a shoreline: take a hitch, catching a turn, making it fast, tying it off, hardening on. Comment that speakers unconsciously use maritime terms to describe other things, for example bow for car bonnet and stern for car boot, this puzzles people outside of boating community in Dungeness.[00:24:51] Grockle used to refer to holidaymakers/tourists, known by everyone in area except tourists themselves. Discussion of words for parts of boat and boating equipment, these vary in different areas of the coastline but are mutually intelligible. Description of how boats are brought ashore in Dungeness. Discussion of local superstitions: unlucky to say rabbit so call them hairy donkeys; sailors in Folkestone refused to take vicars (devil dodgers/sky pilots) or nuns out to sea because it was thought to be unlucky. Discussion of words used to describe success of day: blank means a bad catch, if it was good they would keep it quiet. Poxy/uncomfortable/roly poly describes a day that didnt go well or was a bit rough. A green hand describes new and useless person on boat, a good hand is the opposite. Official term for new person on lifeboat is probationer but speakers have their own, less formal phrases, also use new crew. Comment that there is noticeable difference between new people with maritime background and those without, especially on rough day. Discussion of abbreviated phrases used in rough conditions, everyone understands so no need for lengthy explanations. Comment that there is currently more land-based crew than ever before in Dungeness, makes working on boat harder. Discussion of words for boat engineer and tools. All boats referred to as she because it shows respect, meaning the boat will look after crew in return. Mention fisherman from Norfolk using pants to describe bad fishing day, didnt understand meaning at first. Discussion of terms for fish and shellfish, understood by most people working in different parts of fishing industry even in different areas, some names have changed over time and vary around the country. Words for fishing equipment on boat.[00:38:56] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Story of speaker missing school to sneak up to the boats because his older brother had already left school and spent his time fishing. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Comment that children and grandchildren enjoy playing old fashioned board and cards games with family, think that this doesnt happen much elsewhere these days. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Continuation of discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that snatched meaning cold might be a family word.

  • 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 five interviewees are all members of the Richardson family and all are fishermen and lifeboatmen, except Judith, the mother.

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