BBC HomeExplore the BBC
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.

24 September 2014

BBC Homepage
»BBC Local
Things to do
People & Places
Religion & Ethics
Arts and Culture
BBC Introducing
TV & Radio

Sites near Leeds

North Yorkshire
South Yorkshire

Related BBC Sites


Contact Us


The Moortown Interviewees
The Moortown Interviewees

Of zips and thrones

As part of Voices we recorded 90 minutes of real conversation among a group of family and friends in Moortown, Leeds.

The interviewees

Indera Sehmi, Charndeep Bhogal, Mandeep Bhogal, Keranjeet Gahir, Inderjeet Hunjan, Tarsem Hunjan

Of the six interviewees three of the women in the house are connected by working with each other.

Of the people in the house for the discussion, three were born in Leeds, two were born in India and one in East Africa. The discussion took place in English but this is a multi-lingual group with all six understanding and speaking Punjabi, a couple also understanding and speaking Hindi, and one person has a smattering of French.

Mandeep Bhogal
Mandeep Bhogal

The entire recorded discussion with the group from Moortown will be held by the University of Leeds along with other clips from all over the country. These recordings will form an archive of the English actually spoken around the country during 2004/5.

Although the Leeds group spoke for over an hour we have recorded four clips to listen to.

- Mandeep Bhogal tells of a misunderstanding: a market stall holder, when asked where her zips where, uses the word 'backside' to mean on the wall behind her. She doesn't know what the colloquial use of 'backside' is.

"...and she said 'Well, they're on my backside', and she meant 'Behind me', and the woman, she just went 'Really!' and walked off thinking 'How rude!'"
Mandeep Bhogal

- Keranjeet Gahir discusses what links the 'throne', the 'bog' and the 'office' in their house and also using special 'phone voices'.

- Star Moment 1: The group discuss Tarsem Hunjan's Yorkshire accent and where it may come from. Tarsem concludes that it comes from his former work colleagues who have broad Yorkshire accents.

- Star Moment 2: The group talks about the difference between spoken and written/taught English. In India people tend to speak correct English and they are unfamiliar with some colloquialisms that develop in spoken English.

last updated: 07/01/05
Have Your Say
Have you got a story about the way we speak English in Leeds?
Your name: 
Your comment: 
The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Tony Pease
I was working as a nurse in a nursing home near leeds. one night a patient of the home, an old lady, had replied "Im starved" to my question of how she was feeling. i went to the kitchen to make her a sandwich, which she promptly refused. it turned out she was using the old yorkshire word for feeling cold. "starved"

i think that people from india, pakistan and places like that need classes on how to read and write english when they come because youths take the micky out of them and might even swear but they might not know that they are.

Go to the top of the page

Voices: be part of the biggest survey into how we speak. Tell us the words you use in your part of the Bristish Isles

Local history: panorama of Leeds
Local history in Leeds

About the BBC | Help | Terms of Use | Privacy & Cookies Policy