BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Leeds, West Yorkshire

  • Interviewees

    Hunjan, Inderjeet 1959 Dec. 04- (speaker, male, interviewee), Sehmi, Indera 1955 Feb. 07- (speaker, male), Bhogal, Charndeep, 1978 Feb. 21- (speaker, male), Bhogal, Mandeep, 1979 Dec. 28- (speaker, female), Gahir, Keranjeet, 1961 Jan. 15- (speaker, male), Hunjan, Tarsem, 1956 April 10- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Ridley, Matthew, 1973 Sept. 12- (speaker, male)

  • Producers

    Radio Leeds

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion about picking up other peoples accents. Anecdotes about using Punjabi/Swahili words unconsciously while speaking English. Discussion about adopting words from different languages, comment that this is acceptable; mixing languages. Discussion and anecdotes about his broad Yorkshire accent, how he picked up Yorkshire words and sayings from workplace. Mention words used to mean narrow walkway between or alongside buildings.[00:09:10] Discussion about people in Asia not being able to recognise northern English accent/noticing English accent when they speak Punjabi. Anecdote about friend thinking Leeds was near London. Description of Indian peoples reaction to their accent/way of doing turban; anecdote about convincing street sellers in South India that he was from Punjab to get discount, it worked because he could speak Punjabi so authentically. Stories of enjoying visiting India. Discussion about swapping in and out of different languages on telephone; slipping into Punjabi when talking to people who dont understand it, especially at work. Comment that there isnt always an exact English alternative for some words. Mention words used to mean left-handed.[00:18:34] Discussion about the Yorkshire language, reasons for its disappearance. Anecdotes about elderly relatives inappropriate use of English, discussion about learning English as a foreign language, difficulty of making certain sounds in English words, anecdote about not being able to understand man from Edinburgh; use of swear words and attitudes towards swearing. Discussion about absence of regional accent in singing. Mention Miss India UK not being able to speak Hindi or Punjabi; Malaysian students being able to sing Hindi songs but not understand them.[00:32:40] Description of her childrens accent, how her Yorkshire accent returned after moving back there from London; where interviewer has lived, his accent. Description of mix of accents in their office at work. Anecdotes about peoples accent/language not matching their appearance. Discussion about difference between their English/Punjabi and English/Punjabi spoken in India; how her English has changed since moving to England. Anecdote about practising Yorkshire accent when first arrived in England.[00:40:26] Anecdote about advantage of being able to speak multiple languages. Description of Punjabi back slang, used it as children for privacy. Discussion about difference in use/knowledge of English/Punjabi by grandparents and their grandchildren; young people not understanding lyrics of songs, comment that they have lost some of their culture as a result, how traditional songs relate to their culture, attempts to revive this part of their culture.[00:51:23] Discussion about learning Punjabi, anecdote about friend thinking shed invented a word. Anecdote about imitating old ladies speaking Punjabi in the Sikh Gurudwara, developing confidence to speak Punjabi/Hindi. Similarity between Yorkshire accent and Punjabi. Comment that people born in the United Kingdom cant say certain Punjabi words, they cant get some pronunciations; how living with older relatives when younger influenced their Punjabi. Discussion about effect of moving to United Kingdom and upbringing on ability to speak Punjabi. Anecdote about father having a moral to every story he tells.

  • Description

    BBC warning: this interview contains language which some may find offensive. 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 six interviewees are all family, friends and work colleagues from the Punjabi community in Moortown, Leeds.

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