BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

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  • Interviewees

    Fun Lok, Yin, 1950 July 25- (speaker, female), Wong, Phoebe, (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Garrett, Conor, 1972 May 08- (speaker, male)

  • Producers

    Radio Ulster

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion about their own speech, how other people react to it, changing their speech in different situations/when talking to different people. Politically correct language, using political/religious language, talking about religion in work-place where both Protestants and Catholics work, words that they dislike. [00:12:12] Discussion about political language being used aggressively in Belfast in the past, different situation in Strabane. Experiences of living in Strabane during the Troubles, description of local area during that time. Mention word used to mean ‘to throw’. Language associated with the Troubles that they didn’t understand in the past. [00:23:12] Discussion about how people speak in Strabane, how language varies across Northern Ireland. Changing his speech on moving to Strabane from Belfast as a teenager, features of speech used in Strabane, changing their speech in other countries. Mention words used to mean ‘to play truant/drunk’.  [00:35:23] Discussion about ‘proper’ English, their speech being corrected when they were young, correcting their own children’s speech. Mention nicknames for people from different parts of Northern Ireland. Discussion about local football teams, rivalry between Derry and Strabane, language associated with football. Mention word used to mean ‘young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery’. [00:44:17] Discussion about how language varies for different generations, how they address people, people having difficulty understanding his speech in other parts of Northern Ireland. Features of their own speech, use and meaning of various local words, nicknames for people from different areas, how language changes outside Strabane. [00:54:51] Mention words used to mean ‘long soft seat in main room/main room of house’. Discussion about their houses in the past, local sporting rivalries. Description of Gaelic Athletic Association, promoting Irish culture, involvement of local community, Gaelic sporting clothes causing offence to some people. Different sports associated with Catholics/Protestants, young people’s sense of identity. [01:06:26] Discussion about importance of borders now, identifying as Irish/British/Northern Irish, how cultures have become closer over time. Anecdote about experiencing hostility in Blackpool because he was Irish. [01:11:32] Discussion about their Irish identity, attitudes towards flags in particular the Union Jack. Anecdote about how he felt when he moved to England to go to university and saw a Union Jack flag on the wall. Being more aware of his Irish identity when in another country, people changing/not changing their accent when they move away from Northern Ireland. [01:20:09] Discussion about returning to Strabane after going to university in England, how they feel about going home, local people being repatriated after dying in another country. [01:25:14] Discussion about Irish death rituals, what happens at wakes, death notices being broadcast on Highland Radio for rural community. [01:32:19] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Anecdote about working in very heavy rain at a funeral. Mention words used to mean ‘attractive/unattractive’. Discussion about language associated with courting, going to discos when young. [01:47:25] Mention words used to mean ‘young person in cheap trendy clothes and jewellery’. Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Discussion about people who have money. Mention words used to mean ‘running water smaller than a river/toilet’. [02:00:20] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Discussion about accents on television, people who change their speech in different situations/when talking to different people, people who never change their accent. Nicknames used locally to differentiate between people with the same name, speakers’ nicknames, names being shortened. [02:10:25] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention words used to mean ‘father’. Mention feeling uncomfortable having to call his father by his first name when working with him in the past, attitudes towards mothers in Derry. Discussion about their relationships with women. [02:19:32] Mention words used to mean ‘tired’, phrases used to mean ‘I’m going to bed/I’m leaving’, words used to mean ‘to play’. [02:22:13] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Comment that they use language from Belfast because lots of plays/television programmes are set there. Discussion about words for various different types of shoes. Memories of their mother cleaning their face, phrases they remember their mother saying to them as children. [02:27:00] Discussion about words used to mean ‘left-handed/unwell’. Speakers re-introduce themselves.

  • 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 interviewees represent two generations of the Belfast Chinese community.

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