BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Swindon, Wiltshire

  • Interviewees

    Nowostawski, Boguslan, 1925 June 27- (speaker, male, retired), Roberts, Krystyna, 1948 March 20- (speaker, female), Stooke, Danusia, 1949 April 05- (speaker, female), Stooke, Kelly, 1979 April 23- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Harrison, James, 1965 Feb. 09- (speaker, male)

  • Producers

    Radio Wiltshire

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Comment that she uses modern words because theres a nine year gap between her daughters and the youngest is still quite young.[00:06:34] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention that she couldnt play truant from school because she had to say her surname when the register was taken because the teacher couldnt pronounce it.[00:11:54] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Mention local school they went to which had lots of Polish pupils. Polish pronunciation of daps used when talking to parents in Polish because they didnt know Polish word. Non-Polish speaking partner thinking he could put ski onto end of English words to translate into Polish.[00:15:27] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Mention picking up words from English partner, he has picked up Polish words from her, not realising Polish words for dressing gown and cloth werent English when younger, using Polish words without realising so they are passed onto children. Mention that she speaks English at work and with friends but Polish at home. Comment that she grew up in a time when being left-handed was becoming more acceptable, she associates left-handedness with creativity. Comment that words/phrases come into Polish language that they dont know because they have left Poland, so they dont know some modern words and speak quite old-fashioned Polish without much slang.[00:29:28] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Discussion about use and meaning of chav, word only known by Kelly who is youngest speaker, description of a chav. Description of friendliness of their family, thought to be part of being Polish, Polish custom of welcoming every visitor to home by giving them food, comment that it took a while to get used to not doing this after getting married in England. Difference in method of making sandwich in Poland/England.[00:41:21] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Discussion about local backsies (alleyways). Anecdote about taking boss to work via the backsies which caused amusement because it was where they used to canoodle with boys when younger. Description of learning English playing with friends in backsies as children, also from watching neighbours television, then canoodled with boys in them when older, comment that children dont have this space to play in these days. Mention calling out neighbours name quietly because it was Mrs Pig and they thought it was rude. Anecdote about hitting policeman when riding bike down backsies. Mention words invented by Polish grandparents based on English words that they dont remember or find difficult to pronounce, they are understood and sometimes used by others in family, mention English words borrowed into Polish. Use of chickapin for anything that she doesnt know word for, use of euphemisms, anecdote about confusion over her use of whatsits to mean sanitary towels.[00:55:17] Discussion about attitudes towards regional accents, difficulty in understanding them, anecdotes about being unable to understand broad Scottish/Yorkshire accent. Story about how Boguslan came to live in England in 1947, travelling to different countries in Polish army, difficulty of understanding English spoken in Scotland, jobs he did, learning English at work, Swindon accent. Description of variation in Polish accent in particular close to borders with other countries. Mention Scottish friend who hasnt lost Scottish accent after 30 years living in England. Discussion about their own accents, how Polish accent/level of English varies between different generations of family, what influences their speech. Changing speech in different situations/when talking to different people, telephone voice, associations she makes about Bristol accent. Mention feeling both English and Polish at the same time.[01:08:21] Discussion about use of swear words/attitudes towards swearing, swearing in front of mother/children, reasons for using swear words. Comment that Londoners tend to swear a lot. Acceptability of swearing changing in different contexts, swearing on television. Mention learning very mild Polish swear word from mother. Discussion about programmes he likes to watch on television, sports hes interested in.[01:15:22] Discussion about correcting childrens speech/being corrected by other people. Story about her speech being corrected at acting classes as teenager because her mother didnt correct her, mention mistakes her mother makes when speaking English that she picked up, being corrected by her children. Mention advantages of parents not understanding English when planning to go out with boys/getting school reports.

  • 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 represent three generations of a Polish family living in Swindon.

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