BBC Voices

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

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

  • Recording locations

    Omagh, County Tyrone

  • Interviewees

    Floyd, Eugene, 1947 July 22- (speaker, male, youth and community worker), Forde, Declan, 1955 Dec. 14- (speaker, male, teacher), McGrath, Marie, 1937 Dec. 17- (speaker, female, civil servant), McKenna, Stephen, 1943 Feb. 01- (speaker, male, retired teacher), Parsons, Rosemary, 1954 July 25- (speaker, female, science technician)

  • Interviewers

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

  • Producers

    Radio Ulster

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Description of Omagh, its history, how it has changed over time. Description of Omagh Community Arts Association, their involvement with the community arts programme, its events and activities. Discussion about writers who use local dialect in their work. [00:08:07] Discussion about local speech, importance of preserving it, influence of Irish/Elizabethan English/Scottish accent on how people speak today. Examples of Shakespearean English pronunciations brought to local area by people who moved there from Warwickshire. How speech varies locally, possible reasons for this. Traditions of ceilidh/story-telling. [00:16:20] Discussion about the loss of the art of conversation, how language is changing over time, influence of texting/American English/television, how young people speak. [00:19:14] Description of Omagh accent, how other people react to it, use of ‘culchie’ as insult for country-dwelling people. Loss of local speech with increase of education in 1950s. Influence of Scottish English, meaning of various local words. Mention words used to mean ‘running water smaller than a river’. [00:25:39] Discussion about Irish people changing their speech when living outside Ireland in order to be understood/to progress in life. Anecdote about having to speak more slowly in order to be understood by woman in United States. People adopting Irish accent for various reasons. [00:32:49] Discussion about words they use frequently, how other people react to their accent, how words used locally have changed over time, outside influences on local speech. Discussion about new words used locally, influence of television/music on young people’s speech, young people using questioning tone of voice. Mention older words that aren’t heard used by young people now. [00:42:07] Discussion about future of local dialects, how fashionable slang changes over time, importance of preserving local speech and passing it on to next generation. [00:44:32] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Description of his house, meaning of ‘lock/ditch/dike’. Mention words used to mean ‘cold’. [00:51:43] Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention words used to mean ‘baby’, meaning of ‘street’, words used to mean ‘narrow walkway between or alongside buildings’. [00:56:37] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention words used to mean ‘father’. [01:01:11] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Mention increased sensitivity/political correctness surrounding terms used to mean ‘insane’, mention euphemisms for ‘mental hospital’. [01:05:54] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING. Mention words for various items of clothing. Discussion about use and meaning of ‘quare’. [01:09:24] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. [01:11:39] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention multiple meanings of ‘kip’. [01:14:21] Discussion about differences in speech of Catholics/Protestants, thought to be a myth, varying pronunciations of place names. [01:16:15] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Mention words used to mean ‘having a relationship with someone’. [01:21:43] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES. Discussion about class divisions in local area in the past. Mention words used to mean ‘to play’. [01:26:50] Discussion about importance of being proud of your accent, accents they like, Tyrone accent, variation in Irish accent.

  • 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 five interviewees are all members of The Omagh Community Arts Association.

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User notes for this item

I am listening to this and recalling my Mom Mom's conversations with me while she was alive. She emigrated to the US from just outside of Omagh in the 1920's. She lived to be 105 and she never lost her accent. Her maiden name was Rose Ann Devine and she married William Dolan. I am so grateful that you recorded this conversation. I do not have any recordings of her voice and it was refreshing to her the Tyrone dialect.

Posted by Rosemary Clark McNamara on 15/11/2017 04:27:00