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1 August 2014
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Voices


Kent speak!
Kent speak!

Talking your language
Resident language expert Dr David has been searching for those little things we say in Kent which make us sound different from those around us.

He has identified a number of ways we pronounce words which give us our accent and dialect and we want to find examples... with your help.

CAN YOU ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS?

Bullet. Do you pronounce your 'r's in the middle of your words?
Bullet. Do you call your daily read a 'nooze-paper'?
Bullet. Do you have a Labio-dental approximant?

Rhoticity and the lost 'r's

We all pronounce the r in rose, but generally in the south east we don't say it in tar, which most of us pronounce like ta. The r in car, corner, part etc. is, however, there for a reason: once upon a time everyone used to pronounce it.

R-dropping in these words is in fact a London affectation which became fashionable three or four centuries ago, and has been spreading outwards ever since.

Pronouncing your 'r's after a vowel is called rhoticity, and the main regions within England where it is found are the West Country and a small area around Blackburn, which haven't adopted the change yet.

But we think there may still also be small pockets of resistance in Kent and Sussex. So if you are, or you know someone, who says 'carr', 'horrn' or 'corrnerr', we would love to hear from you.

Remember that this is the older pronunciation, so if you do use it, the rest of the country is out of step with you, and not the other way around!

Incidentally, have you noticed how these silent 'r's miraculously reappear before a vowel, e.g. in For -r- ever -r- and ever? Bizarrely, most of us insert r's even where they don't belong, e.g. in A banana-r-and an orange, or in India-r-and Pakistan! This phenomenon is called intrusive r.

Find out more about Dr David Hornsby

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