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28 October 2014
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Voices


Group
Gary, Brendan, Greg and Brian

Dudley

Brian Dakin, Brendan Hawthorne, Gary O'Dea and Greg Stokes are friends who live around Dudley. They met a BBC interviewer to talk about language and accents in the Black Country.

Have your say »

All four group members are born and bred in the Black Country and have a special interest in the local language and dialect.

Group talking in a pub
The group talking in a pub

As well as having regular jobs, all four have artistic pursuits. Two of them are poets, one a writer and the other a musician. They all perform together at local events.

The group are passionate about the local area and the way it is perceived by outsiders and the media. Read on to find out more about the contributors and listen to clips from the interview.

Contributors
Brian Dakin
Brendan Hawthorne
Gary O'Dea
Greg Stokes

Best bits
"On the box"
"Black over Bill's mother's"
You can't hide it
Mother tongue
"He doe arf spake funny"

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Contributors

Brian Dakin

Name: Brian Dakin
Age: 52
Lives in: Tividale
Lived here: All his life

Describes own accent as: "Black Country"
Languages: English

Listen to Brian
When Brian started going to grammar school, his father told him to change his accent. Brian decided he was proud to speak the way he does.
audioListen to the clip Read the transcript

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Brendan Hawthorne

Name: Brendan Hawthorne
Age: 44
Lives in: Wednesbury
Lived here: All his life

Describes own accent as: "Black Country"
Languages: English

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Gary O'Dea

Name: Gary O'Dea
Age: 43
Lives in: Tipton
Lived here: All his life

Describes own accent as: "A strong local dialect"
Languages: English

Listen to Gary
A strong Black Country accent isn't an affliction, says Gary. People here are highly skilled and the area used to be "the engine of the world".
audioListen to the clip Read the transcript

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Greg Stokes

Name: Greg Stokes
Age: 50
Lives in: Dudley
Lived here: More than 10 years
Born: Sedgley
Describes own accent as: "Black Country"
Languages: English

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Best bits

Standing on a box

Best bit: "On the box"
This is a local expression meaning to be off work sick and claiming benefits. The group talk about how the phrase has been misunderstood, with people thinking it means on TV or "in the box" ie: dead and in a coffin!

audioListen to the clip

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Clouds

Best bit: "Black over Bill's mother's"
What does this mean? It's a Midlands phrase used to describe the weather. The group talk about how difficult it is to actually explain what it means...
audioListen to the clip

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Covering mouth

Best bit: You can't hide it
P
eople often make mistakes when trying to modify or cover up their broad Black Country accent. The group tell stories about mistakes they've heard.
audioListen to the clip

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Sticking out tongue

Best bit: 'Chant of the Mutha Tung'
Brian Dakin performs a piece in dialect about mother tongue language. (© Brian Dakin)
audioListen to the clip

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Red House Glass Cone

Best bit: 'He day arf spake funny'
Brendan Hawthorne performs a piece in dialect about his grandfather who had a strong local accent. (© Brendan Hawthorne)
audioListen to the clip

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