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28 October 2014
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Are you proud of the Black Country accent?
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Accents speak louder than words, but why is the Black Country accent portrayed in such a negative way elsewhere in the country?

A survey was carried out and it was found that some regional accents convey negative impressions. For example 35 per cent of directors think that businessmen with a Liverpudlian accent are least likely to be successful. Also, a West Midlands accent is also considered a drawback in business.

Hear the views of AudioBBC WM presenter Tony Butler.

I'm a 'foreigner' to these parts, only having lived here 20 years, and I love the Black Country accent, took me a bit of a while to understand tho. The people from the Black Country are the friendliest I've ever met, and I know wherever I go if I hear the distinctive accent, I'll meet someone whose nice to know. I come from London and I wouldn't go back there if they paid me. Keep the brilliant accent, it's part and parcel of the lovely people who live here.

Angie - Wolverhampton

There is nothing wrong with our accent, it's the weirdos that come from outside the Midlands that have a weird accent. Ours is a very old way of speaking this is why people take the 'p' out of the way we talk, I don't care though I'm from Wolverhampton and I'm proud of it.
Lucy Coxon

I find it a bit hard to swallow that some people may think the Black Country accent is nothing more than 'laziness'. We have our own words, grammatical structures, etc, etc and it is almost a language within a language. It's something to be cherised rather than ridiculed. It's worth remembering that if the capital of England had been established in the centre of the country rather than the South East, the Queen's English would be spoken with a distinct West Midlands lilt.
Angie Gibson, Tipton

There ai't many blokes moore black country than me. My Grandad was on the chain and anchor forging gangs that med the anchors and chairn fu the Titanic, up at Noah Hingley's. I was born and bred in Quorry Bonk, and that's the REAL centre of the Black Country.

That bloke from Wolves who ses it's an insult ter listen to...well he just ay a black country mon. Wolverhampton was on the very edge of the Black Country, so he do' really qualify. Oaur accent is no wuss than the Welsh, or the Scots, or the Geordies, or even the Norfolk folk.

Their's is terrible! Dun the folk who criticise us not know that the Black Country dialect is the oldest in Britain, and all the other dialects stem from FOREIGNERS ! The Black Country is unique, and the accent is just great.

I'm 71 years old, now, and I can speak as posh as anyone in Stratford on Avon, if I want to. But there's a tribal homeliness about our accent. As my mother used ter say when ah wus a kid, and we used ter swim in the cut up Netherton, "Om warnin' thae, if yo cum bak drowned, ah'll 'arf kill thae!" Ta-raa.
D. Bedford - Stratford on Avon

I am very very proud of my accent and dialect. I work in Shrewsbury and there I stick out like a sore thumb, everyone recognises my voice from a mile away. There is a slight image problem with our accents but that should have no effect on how proud we should all be. Just take a look a Ozzy Osbourne. OK he is an Aston lad but he is massivly popular throughout the world and everyone knows his voice. He promotes where he comes from and is not at all ashamed. The same goes for a great deal of local musicians ranging from Robert Plant to Bev Beven all are very proud of where they come from and so should we all.
Karl Robert Johnson - Bridgnorth

As Brian Bott of birmingham said some of the blackcountry dialect seems to originate from old germany. I have friends in germany who live in the black forrest area, south of germany near bavaria and they have a dialect called (in german, sverbish) and some of there words do sound the same like floower (floor) and doower (door), and just for the record iv'e learnt them to say Bostin Wench and Bostin Bloke.
Jeff - Brierley Hill

The accent in the black country comes from a basic laziness to speak properly. Many people put on a 'telephone voice' when on the phone, so they can be understood. So why do many people, not all admittedly, speak with such laziness, so unenthused, and so very unappealingly. It is an insult to hear, and no wonder a lot of the country looks down on US. Yup, I'm from here too, I just have standards. Time other people did too.
Richard Lord - Wolverhampton

I moved to Edinburgh from Wolverhampton for university and I've noticed that there are quite a few people who stare at me in the street when I'm on my phone. Didn't take me long to work out what it was - but hey, I'm proud of my accent!!
Bekky M - Wolverhampton

I am very proud of my Black Country accent. It is nothing like a Birmingham accent and there are very subtle differences from town to town eg Dudley and Tipton. As a born and bred Tiptonian, I realise my accent is quite strong but I think it is something to be cherished and preserved. My fave word is Cogaver - a fall or a bump. My nan always used to say to me as a babby - "Stop running abaht orse yow'll come a right cogaver". I love it!
Angie Gibson - Tipton, West MIdlands

I may have been out of the Black Country for over 20 years, but yo cor forget it, even in poshest Kent! Glad to see a real interest in the dialect (and still able to use it when I visit) - definitely one of the better dialects in these isles (... but I'm biased!). Dictionary an excellent idea - but "'ommer" is missing, as is "pon" (hammer and pan, for the non BC-ians). I've copied into a word document to make reviewing it easier - this is an excellent start, but maybe it's time for a complete BC dictionary? Let's hear a bit more BC on the TV - Midlands Today, for example .... Pleeeease??!!
Michael Keays - Kent

I was born in Yorkshire of a very proud Yorkshire lad and lass and was always taught to be proud of the way I spoke. When I was 7 my dads job moved us to the Black Country (Woollaston infact) and being of that young age, and not wanting to stand out from the crowd at school, I quickly picked up the local words and pronuciation - with the added twist of a bit of Yorkshire in there as well! The only trouble I had was when we went to visit relatives in Yorkshire who thought I talked posh!! We moved away from Woolaston when I was 11 and went to live in Kendal. Cumbria. Again, I quickly learned to lose the black country, singy songy way of talking so that I didn't stand out. Moving on a few years, my own career took me to a job at Egg in Brierley Hill (or should that be Brilee Ill!?) so I moved myself and my family back down to the Black Country - living in Kingswinford.

My wife, who is also from Yorkshire, had real problems in shops when she asked for five of anything ! be! cause she would always be given four and vice versa - ie if she asked for four sweets she got "foive"! We loved living in the Black Country and the people are very similar to Yorkshire folk - proud, independant and very hospitable. I moved back up here to Yorkshire in 1999 and always pick people up who say that Noddy Holder is from Birmingham!!
Andy Knight - Castleford W Yorks

I think that there is nothing wrong with the brummie/black country accent and I hate it when people from other regions always take the...and they always seem to say "yam 'avin sum fish 'n' chips"? how pathetic!
Lindsey - Birmingham

Valerie is quite right about "fanaged" - it was used in my family in Blackheath, too, so maybe it is a very local word as this is not far from Oldbury. It was pronounced with a hard g at the end and often used with "on" after it, as Valerie illustrated. I hadn't heard this word for years, having left the Black Country more than 30 years ago, and probably assumed it was a normal English word rather than dialect, until I saw this.

However, the Oxford Dictionary does not recognise it under any spelling I can think of, so it must be pure Black Country! Incidentally the entry under letter D should surely be "donkey's ears" (years - presumably because donkeys can be very long lived) We always pronounced this with a slurred s in the middle, I don't remember it without. My mother used to repeat a phrase which ran something like "Thee cossn't see as gud as thee cost, canna?" which presumably conjugates from "cor" for cannot - plenty of irregular verbs in BC obviously - it would be fascinating to see more about how these correlate with other languages and dialects.

My children went to a secondary school which specialised in languages - one of the first comprehensives to become a language college - and both ended up doing exercises on Black Country dialect, as part of their studies. Having grown up in Gloucestershire, my daughter is now at Uni in Birmingham and is fascinated to find that, from having grown up talking to my family, she can now not only distinguish Black Country folk from Brummies, but can even pick up which ones come from the Blackheath/Rowley area! Bostin, baint it?

I am glad to see that the black country has been allowed its own site instead of being lumped together with the brummies. we are a seperate race and we need to keep our roots and our accent. in its purest form the black country dialect does take some understanding but if the liverpudlians, cockneys, and the essex girls can keep thirs why shoudn't we. long live the black country.
G N Paddock - Stourbridge

The word "Fanage" should be added to dialect words. This means "to give up" as in the sentence "I started to knit a scarfe but fanaged on it so it was never completed." This word has been used for many years in my family.
Valerie Hickinbottom - Oldbury

I moved to Dudley from London and I cannot understand the thickest accents, it all flies over my head. Having said that, I am an ex-scotsman so they don't understand me too well either.
Stephen Page - Dudley


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