BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Birkenhead, Merseyside

  • Interviewees

    Brondrick, Matthew, 1986 May 21- (speaker, male, sixth-form student), Learmond, Tamara, 1984 Nov. 10- (speaker, female), Leigh, 1987 Oct. 16- (speaker, male), McHugh, Kayleigh, 1986 Oct. 23- (speaker, female), Rouse, Nichole, 1984 Jan. 21- (speaker, female), Stephen, 1987 Aug. 14- (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Campbell, Jodie, 1981 June 17- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Merseyside

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Description of previous nights birthday celebrations. Discussion of words used to mean drunk, explanation of malleted; words used to mean unwell. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Description of games played at school. Meaning of scally, what they wear, their appearance and behaviour, where they can be found. Words used to mean childs soft shoe worn for physical education, description of them.[00:09:29] Discussion of identifying with being Scouse, explanation of different terms used to define various types of people from Merseyside: plastic Scouse and wools from woolly back side. One speakers parents are from Southampton, her family think she sounds Scouse, her friends think she sounds Southern, thinks shes a mixture of both, describes how her speech changes to match those around her without her realising. Comment that people in the south think hes from Liverpool, he says hes from by Liverpool. Comment that he dislikes being compared to a Scouser, his clothes and accent affect peoples reaction to him, description of clothes he wears.[00:14:06] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING, words used to mean throw. Comment that being stereotyped annoys her, anecdote about Londoner calling her a Scouser. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention feeling ecstatic on her birthday. Discussion of words used to mean lacking money/rich. Story of being hugely overpaid at work and spending the money very quickly. Anecdote about being too busy with college and work to get enough sleep, its difficult to find enough time to do everything.[00:20:08] Discussion of being young today compared to in the past; feel like theyre blamed, as young people, for a lot of things, comment that this is often attributed to the fact that they havent been brought up with as much discipline as previous generations. Discussion of family situations, mention figures of authority and relationship with mother; relationship between discipline, morals and respect; comment that family is more significant in the north than in the south United Kingdom, speaker with southern parents disagrees.[00:26:22] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Comment that word used to describe female partner varies depending on how close the couple is as well as the mood theyre in. Discussion about age affecting language, think theyre more experimental as young people; meaning of new word chav, mention other new terms used to describe people, lots of these are learnt from television, think media has big influence on language, on what words are trendy; comment that words go in and out of fashion over time; think that more new words are added to dictionary every year so young people have more words.[00:31:38] Discussion of attitudes towards and use of swearing, swear words that they would use and when; think that use of bad language is increasing; would never use the C-word, really hates it; prefers to use a non-offensive word as a euphemism because this has comic effect, allows him to express feelings without offending people; thinks using lots of swear words shows lack of intelligence.[00:36:40] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Mention invented petrol station code that he uses with friends to describe women without them understanding: bargain bin means unattractive, super-unleaded means attractive; words used with boyfriend to describe overweight people in coded way. Comment that someone she finds unattractive is likely to be attractive to someone else so she wouldnt comment on their appearance. Discussion about teenage pregnancy; mention two young friends who have had a baby/are pregnant, she thinks they are stupid and have thrown their life away; think that its a trend and a seemingly easy way to get a house on leaving school; description of the knock on effect of this on children they see in the streets. Mention words for someone whose name youve forgotten.[00:44:34] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Mention that my office is used to mean toilet because its where you do your business.[00:46:39] Discussion of other peoples reactions to their speech, bored of clichéd jokes about stereotypes of Scousers, think these come from negative media portrayal. Anecdote about pilot getting in trouble for joking about Scousers on aeroplane while flying over Liverpool, mention positive stereotype of Scousers as having good sense of humour, possible reasons for this; shared hatred of The Sun newspaper because of the way they portray Scousers. Story of being teased because of accent in Bournemouth, didnt mind because it wasnt malicious. Discussion about accent reflecting self-identity, wanting to keep/lose Scouse accent; influences on their speech; changing speech in different situations, in front of different people. Discussion about associating themselves with Liverpool, comment that everyone in the world is stereotyped for something; mention that Scouse accent often initiates conversations with strangers; agree that every British accent is disliked by someone/has a stereotype. Story of picking up other peoples accents and words at football coaching course in London; comment that ridiculing other peoples accent is only ever done light-heartedly.[00:56:56] Discussion of words used to mean hot/cold. Discussion about local area, moving to London for better career opportunities, mention local sense of humour. Comment that her Scouse accent doesnt cause any communication problems in London. Discussion about friendliness of people in public locally, this is different in London; they enjoy talking to strangers, mention bad habit of giving her phone number to anyone that she finds interesting.

  • Description

    BBC warning: this interview contains strong or offensive language. 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 students at Birkenhead Sixth Form College.

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