BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Sheffield, South Yorkshire

  • Interviewees

    Abdulla, Miriam, 1967 March 28- (speaker, female, worker with asylum and refugee assistance agency), Begum-Kaggwa, Nasreen, 1974 April 15- (speaker, female, interviewee), Habbibi, Selwa, 1962 Oct. 20- (speaker, female, translator), Salem, Mona, 1965 Aug. 08- (speaker, female, education worker)

  • Interviewers

    Vernon-Edwards, Jennifer, 1970 March 06- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Sheffield

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Discussion about words used to mean trousers/shirt in Yemen/Pakistan; the language they think in; words used to mean young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery, description of their appearance; similarity between Arabic and Urdu. Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Anecdotes about playing truant/being bullied at school/seeing bullies later in life. Comment that Moroccans mix French with their Arabic.[00:15:02] Discussion about using different words in different situations/to different people in English/Arabic, words used to mean annoyed. Comment that foreign people who learn English in a university/college can often speak better English than British speakers. Different languages/dialects used when speaking to different people in India/Pakistan, difference in peoples comprehension of Urdu/Punjabi; comment that Arabic is understood by people in all Arab countries though some words vary regionally.[00:19:05] Discussion about words used to mean pleased. Anecdote about shopping in Netto. Words used to mean lacking money/drunk.[00:24:38] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Kinship terms in Arabic and Punjabi. Words meaning to rain heavily. Discussion about use of swear words and attitudes towards swearing. Anecdote about swearing whilst driving.[00:36:23] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Comment on speakers temperaments. Remark that she always uses Arabic word to describe attractive people. Anecdotes about describing the appearance of various men.[00:42:03] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Speaking differently to different people, depends on your relationship with them.[00:46:14] Mention using Yorkshire words/pronunciations for comical effect. Discussion about their own accents and the languages they speak, how their upbringing has influenced them, how their speech has changed over time and in different places, attitudes towards regional accents, using English words when speaking Arabic, how colonisation causes languages to influence each other. Anecdotes about assumptions people have made about their linguistic ability based on their appearance, how peoples attitudes towards them change after hearing them speak.[01:01:04] Discussion about their favourite words, mention pet names she had in past/now; how her use of Arabic has increased as she has got more interested in her culture; how they have picked up each others words. Anecdote about Egyptian mans extreme reaction to being called a donkey in Arabic.

  • 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 friends from different linguistic backgrounds. Miriam, Selwa and Mona all speak Arabic, while Nasreen can speak Punjabi and Urdu.

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