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24 September 2014

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Chris Hayles
Chris Hayles

'Ampshire 'Og.

Amatuer historian and heritage enthusiast Chris Hayles knows a thing or two about being a wuzzer - that's a local for you out-of-county types. We went to have a chat with him about the being an 'ampshire 'og.

Ask anyone to mimic a Hampshire accent and they will almost invariably go "oooh aaarrh" - and maybe probably mention a tractor and that'll be about it.

But the reality is the traditional Hampshire accent is rarely heard in the county's towns and cities and is gradually falling out of use in the rural areas.

Local historian and editor of the Southern Life website Chris Hayles knows a think or two about the history of the Hampshire and its inhabitants and maintains that the local county dialect is still in use. 

"There is still a Hampshire accent", said Chris. "A lot of people don't notice it. I never even realised that I had an accent until I went in the army and someone said that I  sounded like an old country yokel from the Archers. It wasn't until I heard myself on the tape recorder and I was so surprised."

"One of the favourite Hampshire words - which a lot of people think is an insult - is mush, (said like bush). In fact it means a friend or a friendly person - as in 'how you doing mush?'", added Chris.

audio You calling me a wuzzer!? >
audio Orright Mush? >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer

"One that is not used so much now is wuzzer - which I believe means a local - although I can't find the origin for that but it's not used so much now."

Despite his passion for Hampshire Chris did spend a short time flirting with life in the north - but the lure of the South Coast was too much to resist:

"I was born and bred in Totton and I've lived in Hampshire all my life except for a few months up north - but I soon came back down. It's a birthright - I was born with it so why should I alter it?"

But I don't think people realise that they've got the accents because it's just handed down through the years.

audio My accent is my birthright >
audio You sound like an old yokel! >
Audio and Video links on this page require Realplayer
last updated: 16/08/05
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