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23 July 2014
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Voices


Rab C Nesbitt
BBC comedy Rab C Nesbitt features a distinctive dialect with its own unique words

What's in a voice?

What do you like or dislike in an accent? Ever heard of the the word Daddocky or Vorest? The latest project from the BBC aims to understand the diverse languages and dialects that are spread across the United Kingdom...

David Beckham may be the biggest football and fashion icon in the world but when it comes to accents his instantly gets the red card. Also up there in the hall of fame of those with the least pleasant accents in the British Isles are ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ Janet Street-Porter, Jasper Carrot, Cilla Black and even comedian Billy Connolly.

Trevor McDonald
Trevor McDonald
Most pleasant accent, according to a recent poll.

According to people in the West super-smooth Sean Connery is the ‘most pleasant speaker’ with Trevor McDonald and Joanna Lumley also ranking in their top five. Having a news reader's voice does come in handy as does the Queen’s English if you’re looking for a job.

These are just some of the results of a BBC commissioned online poll which sampled people’s attitudes to accent, dialect and the way we speak. It is a light-hearted precursor to an ambitious investigation into the English language currently being collected and delivered by the BBC.

The BBC’s Voices project has audio-gatherers recording the voices of at least 1,000 interviewees from an eclectic mix of people from all corners of the UK. Linguistics expert, Dr Clive Upton, said:

“Scratch the surface and language can create huge debate. We are passionate about it because it’s about our identity who we are and where we are from. What we want to unearth is real language and how it affects real people. For example who is to say that non-standard English, phrases like, ‘I’m not going nowhere’ is substandard English. This goes back to Shakespeare and beyond. It’s the same with accents, who is to say one sounds more educated than another? Many of our prejudices and misconceptions about language are just not logical.”

Have your say on your dialect and language

Jesse from the Fast Show
Jesse from the Fast Show
A typical view of someone with a distinctive dialect?

Bunch of country bumpkins? Now it is your chance to have a say about your local accent. It’s also an opportunity to express views on other accents, how you think men and women talk differently or if you’d like to hear a greater variety of accents on BBC television and radio.

The project wants to hear from people in Gloucestershire to ensure that the regional vocabulary, the words and phrases which are unique to this area, are included in the research.

Why not fill in the Voices questionnaire online and help provide a clear picture of the diverse languages and dialects that can be found in Britain today. Click here for the questionnaire

See Also:

Meet the people
Wicked, Safe and Sick!, from Gloucester, Gloucestershire
Mining in the Forest, from Cinderford, Gloucestershire

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