BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Newry, County Down

  • Interviewees

    Doran, Mary (May), 1946 May 23- (speaker, female), Murphy, Kevin, 1947 Oct. 09- (speaker, male), Walsh, Una, 1954 Sept. 30- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

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

  • Producers

    Radio Ulster

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Description of Townland Committee, their involvement in it, importance of townlands in Ireland, work they are doing to preserve knowledge and boundaries of townlands, history of townland names. [00:05:17] Description of village of Mullaghbawn which isn’t in the townland of Mullaghbawn, local traditions of story-telling. Example of how aspects of stories are exaggerated to make them more interesting. [00:16:01] Discussion about what has influenced local speech, influence of Irish/Elizabethan English. How they feel about their own speech, other people’s reaction to it. [00:21:00] Discussion about South Armagh accent, how it varies locally, change in mobility over time. Explanation of words used in the past, how their meanings have changed over time. Discussion about local life in the past, how people related to each other. [00:29:54] Discussion about future of local speech, how it is changing over time, possible reasons for this, how their children/grandchildren speak. Importance of preserving local speech for future generations, inevitability of change in language/culture. [00:36:33] Description of experiences of attending secondary school in past, being first in family to do so. [00:40:09] Discussion about changing their speech in different situations/when talking to different people, how other people react to their speech, experiences of elocution lessons at school. People exaggerating their accent, possible reasons for this. Discussion about where people socialised in the past. [00:49:54] Discussion about local speech, new words used in local area. Influence of being located close to the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, language used to describe local area/people who live there. Anecdotes about ancestors who were hanged in the past and became local folk heroes. [00:54:06] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Mention words used to mean ‘baby’. [00:57:58] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. [01:00:01] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Discussion about nicknames for local people. [01:11:36] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. [01:14:14] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Discussion about attitudes towards left-handed children at school in past. Mention derogatory phrases used in past to describe people who thought they were “above their station”. [01:23:58] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention multiple meanings of ‘yoke’. [01:31:34] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention words used to mean ‘narrow walkway between or alongside buildings/unwell’. [01:34:25] Discussion about local primary school education in past, tradition of recitation, how education has changed over time, good and bad experiences of learning at school. Mention only realising the richness of the local culture later in his life. [01:39:21] Discussion about the art of conversation, how it has changed over time. How life has changed for young people, how society has changed over time. Discussion about tradition of ceilidh houses in local area, how they have disappeared, where people interact in public now. Anecdote about listening to ghost stories being told in the past. Comment that people still like to talk to each other today.

  • 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 three interviewees are all members of Mullaghbawn Community Association and involved with the association's Townland Project.

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