The birth of English
The spread of English
Allan originally from Sheffield
I have very clear memories of my Father using Thee and Thou as everyday terms, together with the usual term of "love" for everyone male or female. There was even a Sheffiled phrase book published at one stage to assist confused visitors.
Robyn from Leeds
Someone mentioned 'snicket' to mean alleyway but is anyone familliar with 'ginnel'? Most people I know in Leeds use it and I was wondering how far it was spread. I also noticed, having cousins living in Sussex, that different parts of the UK use different words for 'chav'. In Leeds, I use 'townie' (which I think is quite common) and 'scally', but down south I've heard 'pikey' among others.
Laura from Colchester
lots of people i know have been held back because of there accent. It's what you say that matters, not how you say it.
jane from gravesend
Seven years ago I moved to Gravesend, kent from Lee Green in saffeastlondon (please note all one word) I thought that the accents were pretty much the same until I visisted a couple of elderly clients at work (gravesend also) and was asked where I came from. I told them I was brought up in Plumstead and they were delighted to meet someone from the same place as they originated. They could tell by my accent! Gravesend is only about 15 miles away from Plumstead but it appears that even that small distance can make a difference in regional accents.
Pauline from Kent
I lived in mid Kent for about the first thirty years of my life and since have moved around quite a lot Like Angela of Worcester Park I too have been asked from where in Australia I come.
Peter from Lancashire
I'm interested in the use of the word "while". In Yorkshire and around my part of Lancashire it used to mean "until". My mum used to say "Wait while your dad gets home" in a threatening sort of way! and pubs opened six while eleven. How widespread is this? Why is it different to standard English? It can cause confusion...there's a story of a (perhaps apocryphal) sign at a railway level crossing that said "Do not cross while the train is approaching".
Kealan Hutchinson from Ireland
I have to say I find the 'question mark' intonation of many people today (making a statement in the tone of voice of asking a question) very annoying.
ella from swinton
i think the type of accent you speak shouldn't affect the way you are treated etc.......x x x
I think the english accent is ok!!!! Sometimes its a bit annoying!!! I like listening to other accents too!!!
Greg from Hertfordshire
Family from Glasgow and Sheffield, so odd Gaelic words like press (cupboard/wardrobe-ish), and semmit (vest) seem to crop up alongside Yorkie phases- like "give it me" , (where in this neck of the woods , they say "give me it" . My Hertforsdhier kids are often mardy (grumpy) , and I still say 'one' rhyming with "gone" and a "Sneck" is a latch, but my neighbours dont think so ! I still catch myself thinking of trips to the corner shop as "the messages" and struggle for an effective English substitute for "dreich", "stoter" and "peely-wally"...... ..Just me. then ?
Ashley from Dorset
I've always found it odd that many people refer to us in the south west as thick because of our accents (I have a noticeable Dorset accent, and yet whenever I go to other parts of the country people often want me to keep speaking to them because they like my accent!!. Everybody should be proud of their accent and speak dialect words if they wish, it's all part of our heritage. A few words and phrases that are often noticed by incomers to the area are "I'm goin' on" (I'm leaving),"Where's it to?" for Where is it?."idden" for isn't. We also have a habit of putting "you" or "sno'you" on the end of a sentence e.g "He went down there (sno') you". some words used are nammet(lunch), shrammed (cold), drong (lane) and thick ("th" pronounced as in the word "the") for "that". Look forward to reading more comments. "Tiz a proper job sno" (Good web site)!.
Emily from Clitheroe near Blackburn
I speak clearly and with a bit of a twist. I use phrases like = Whatever and Oh My God.
Nathanael Gibbard Rushden
I agree with this, because, i've heard people speak like that from areas like that.
chris from tyneside
I get sick of people refering to the people of the north east as geordies. Its simply not true. There is as much difference in the dialect of a GEORDIE (Newcastle)and a makem (Sunderland) as there is between a cockney and a brummie.
Becky from West Bromwich
I have a strong Black Country accent and often you are criticised for this. People dont realise how hard it is for us to switch to the recieved pronounciation of the queens english. My accent often gets worse when im at home around my family.I often feel ashamed to have this accent as we are looked down upon and made to feel inferior.
Lynn living in Yorkshire from Bilston (Black count
When I was a child I had what was considered a posh accent for Bilston and some peers used to pick on me becuse they thought I was rich! What I noticed when I moved about the country was that my original accent used to have a half-way North/South pronouciation of some words. I used to say grass to rhyme with ass but butter to rhyme with batter. The biggest surprise for me was that terms which everyone knew at home, had no meaning outside. Where I come from the term "He went all around the Wrekin" menat that someone was long winded. The Wrekin being a hill in Shropshire which is the remains fo a volcanic plug and is very large around the base. When I moved to Hull I was equally surprised that the word "while" meant "until". In shops assistant would say to me "we shan't have any while Tuesday". Whilst at university I worked hard to erradicate my regional accent, I am told by others, this was successful! Now I work with dissaffected kids I find it more useful to be more chameleon. My Children just like I was, get picked on in school for having what others, term "posh" accents. Plus ca change de la meme chose!
Jan from Oxford
Helen from Yorkshire asks what the origin of the word "lekkin" (meaning "playing") is. I'm pretty sure it comes from the Danish "lege" - pronounced almost like "liar" - and which also means play (and, incidentally, is used in the brand name for lego bricks).
rob hall from shropshire
this is an exelent site and i recomend it to everyone
Linda Kirk from Chester le Street Co Durham
I live in a ex mining village and can pick out the different variations even between the villages. For example between the villages to the west of Chester le Street like Pelton, Beamish and Sacriston those to the East like Lumley, Houghton and Hetton. I have worked in Newcastle and been kidded as a mackum and worked in Sunderland and called a Geordie. As one of the other correspondents said its the oo in book and the u in ruler that shows up whereabouts in the North East we come from. My father always had phrases he used, one of our favourites was "As the day answers" hard to explain exactly what he meant in words but we always knew in practice what he meant.
Graeme from Dunning
My mother's family lived in Musselburgh and had a phrase for matching socks together. The process, which as no formal name as far as I know, was known as "fliping" socks, pronounced "fly ping" socks. This phrase has caused much domestic mirth to my partner over the years as i spend time of an evening carrying out this mysterious task!
Meg orginally from B'ham
I've lived all around the midlands (Leicestershire, Shropshire, staffs and Lincs) and although my accent has never been 'Brummie' I do sometimes use flat 'northern' vowels (bath not barth) but my accent is so odd most people can't tell where I am from. My use of terms such as 'have you not, did you not' and 'I'll not' come from a Yokshire Aunt (she called herself 'Ant' not Aunt of course) and a Yorkshire teacher. I wouldn't say they are B'ham or 'Black country' terms. I had never heard 'Mardy' (miserable,grumpy) until I lived in Leicestershire, when someone told me they were feeling 'rit mardy' (right or very miserable). I was never allowed to use 'Brummie' words at home (my father came from Lancs)so words such as 'Babby' for baby and 'peice' meaning sandwich were banned, so was the word 'violl'(vile) which used to make my mother shudder! I always thought the word 'babby' was a black country word but my daughter in law uses it she is from the south and has never ventured into deep black country! I now live in Lincs and most people here have a southern accent (Cockney to my ears!) no post vocalic 'l' in milk (miwk) glottal stops in butter and batter. The young use a lot of upspeak (high rise terminal) their speech is far from attractive, but they seem to find any accent from the North or West Midlands highly amusing!
Helen, Hemel Hempstead
I grew up in Kearsley, near Bolton, where if you were a bit daft - you were a 'pie-can' or a 'gobbin' and if you were ill you were poo-lee. Much later I found out 'gobbin' is something to do with the rubbish left over from coal mining. I love the word 'gormless' and no-one in the south knows what 'mithering' means! Later 'school' was 'skew' and a bus - 'buzz' and I'm pretty sure that a mouse was a moggy! All reet - Ta-ta.
Lindsay from Wlverhampton
I was born and raised in stockton, and moved to wolverhapton when i was 18. My accent amazes most people i meet, they notice it mainly when i say "cook" and book etc. Strangely they think its 'cute' when i say it! (im guessing cute has a different meaning here!)For most people who dont know what a smoggy is, they think im geordie!!! My way of saying stupid is also noticed, as i say it as "stUpid", and not "stoopid" like others from the midlands.
Coming from Leeds and having a very strong Yorkshire "twang",I find it very funny that French friends find my accent very pleasant, easy to understand and "typically" English. When I was young in Leeds we called collecting wood for Bonfire Night, Chumping. When we moved to Wakefield they called it Chubing. I was told that in Barnsley they call it Bunny Wooding! What about a joke? Arranging for his wife's grave to have a stone, a bereaved husband asked the mason to write, "She was thine", as his wife had been very religeous. On the day the stone was to be erected the husband looked at the stone and said, You've missed the "e". The mason had written "she was thin". Full of apologies the mason said not to worry he could put it right straight away while the family was assembling. Once finished the stone was placed and everyone was shocked to read "E she was thin"
Helen from Yorkshire
When surprised by something that someone has said, my granddad and mother (who both spoke with broad-Yorkshire accents) used to say "well, I'll go t'foot of are stairs". And when I was young, if you wanted to know if your friends were playing out, we'd say "are you lekkin?" - does anyone know where this has evolved from?
Tony from Stoockport
I have always found dialects interesting and add to the beauty of our language. However, I do find a modern trend irrating to say the least.So many young people(and not so young so-called trendies)finish virtually every sentence by going up in tone as if asking a question. It sounds so phoney. I suspect it is the influence of American films and TV Shows.
Annabel from Long Eaton
I spent my formative years near the town of Ilkeston in Derbyshire (although I have southern born parents so I always sounded a bit posh). I remember being very confused when I first started school to be offered 'tuffies' (small sweets) or told that I had 'lugs' in my hair (knots). In 1982 I started work in an office in the town of Heanor and I heard one of the secretaries there saying that she would have to 'scrat up' some money to pay for her cheese cob (roll). She meant that she would have to count out all her small coppers and look in all her pockets for loose change in order to have enough money to pay for what she wanted. I have never heard anyone else say it since but I try to use it when I can as I thik it is very descriptive.
Marti Farrow originally from Lancaster
Mum was Cumbrian and dad was from Forest Hill SE London with a Cockney father, so I'd a rich start in language. Mum and dad had lost their accents in order to 'get on' which was common at the time if you did office work I'm told. Our lovely Cumbrian farmer Uncle Bill (mum's brother) who died Sept 2003 had the best accent and vocabulary, having lived/worked in one parish (High Hesket) all his 85 years. The richness, poetry and humour of his voice and word use was a delight to us always. We miss him but remember many favourite sayings. He'd laugh loud and long to hear us trying to copy and/or understand him. A proper mess on a neighbouring property was 'gae scrow' and a donkey a 'cuddy' ... a cloth was a 'clout'. Go was always 'gan' and lane was 'lonnin' ... hedge was 'dyke' and his field names were lyrical and a history in themselves. Possibly some Scots mixed in with the proximity of the border. My sister now lives in Penrith and tells me new words from her friends there ... we like 'nithered' for when you feel very cold. Bless the Cumbrians!
Colin, West Yorkshire
I'd be interested to find out how 'red socks' is pronounced 'redd socks' by Lancashire folk, but as 'rett socks' by Yorkshire people, just as 'Bradford' is 'braddford' to Lancashire people but 'brattford' to Yorkshire people.
Nicola origonally from Stoke-on-Trent
Teaching awareness of, and the difference between, standard English, local dialect and accent ARE now a requirement of the national curriculum. I'm teaching my current batch of 11 year olds in Croydon all about it and they have been fascinated to learn the 'Cos kick a bo'Potteries dialect rhyme that every Potteries child worth their cheese learns as soon as they can speak! Also, my pronunciation of look, cook, book etc with a long 'oooo' sound regularly causes great mirth amoung the kids I teach.
Peter Galloway, Darlington.
Most 'regional' accents are awful, much prefer 'BBC English' to listen to, which is pleasant and easily understood, anywhere. SOME accents I find nice to hear, as Cornish, Yorkshire and West Country, but nearly all 'City accents' are awful, -the bigger the City - the worse it sounds.
Alan Theasby from Middlesbrough
Born in Hartlepool with local father & Welsh mother, I probably never had a "proper Hartlepool" accent. Moved just south of the Tees to Middlesbrough - with its own Teesside accent (border of North yorkshire and County Durham). I have been told that on the phone some people used to think I was scouse! By the way, the word "chaw" (chor) for friend was copmmon across county Durham, not just Spennymoor.
Diane Weatherill from Hartlepool
I love the accent of my home town. One of my tutors from college told me that Hartlepudlian is one of the most original accents in the country, being on a peninsular. I belive some of the words we use are uncommon too. Beauwar (woman) Gagee (man) clamming (Hungry) nithered (Cold) foise (stinks). The way we pronounce things is different too. Our sea defence the Heugh is pronouced Heeuff. Purple is pronounced perple, perhaps this piece of prose will help explain. Ee as red air an ee wers a perple shert. Is actually He has red hair and he wears a purple shirt. hpoe this is useful for your survey.
Janet Haagensen from South Yorkshire
Moving to the South I was surprised to find nobody understood that to be nesh was to feel the cold more than others and that to be overfaced was to have been given more food than I could eat! My use of shall instead of will is also noted by my Southern husband and of course I cannot pronounce the u in cup and butter other than in my native tongue!
Angela Hilton from Worcester Park
My family and I have lived in our area (12 miles south west of London) all our lives and yet, quite amazingly, my daughter and I have often been asked which part of Australia we're from! How do we work that one out?
Dave Jones, Wakefield
Scandinavian languages have also had an influence on the Yorkshire dialect, too. Eg, Nay,is Yorkshire for no; and the phrase, are you lakin (are you playing) is based on the Scandinavian word, laken. Also, the word lig, to lie down(ie, to lig down on the sofa)is also based on old norse.
Jack Shaw from Barnsley Yorks.
I am still surprised that the yorkshire dialect in this area (S.Yorks) has a lot of (albeit altered in pronunciation)biblical english and grammar, eg. Wot tha doin'? (What art thou doing?) Or A' tha gooing aht (Art thou going out?) Sit thissen dahn (Sit thyself down.) etc. I may not use it in everyday speech, but I know it when I hear it, and can certainly join in.
Fiona May from London
Does anyone think that there is a Top-0f-The-Pops dialect emerging? It would take a Professor Higgins to transcribe the extraordinary sounds produced by the young lady whose face we never see and whose palatal contortions must leave her quite exhausted. Listening to them is tiring enough. The cure, by the way, is Picture Book with Vera McKechnie!
Mike from Huddersfield
A few random thoughts: Has anyone worked out the origin of "eeny-meeny-miney-mo" yet? I heard it was very very old. * When is a proper awareness of dialect (and, to a lesser extent, accent) going to be made a requirement in the national curriculum? - it's IMPORTANT. * I can vaguely remember a programme shown around 10 years ago about an elderly couple living in Kent (or possibly Essex) who still spoke Jute - does anyone remember any more about this? * Do the accents on Eastenders sound as bad to a native Eastender as most of the ones on Emmerdale do to me? * Favourite local dialect word - "thoil" (not sure if this is the correct spelling), the willingness (or otherwise) to spend a given amount (usually money, but sometimes effort, time etc) on something e.g. "I can't thoil £3.50 for fish and chips." * Best written Yorkshire accent - my nomination would probably be The Good Companions by J B Priestley * Are there any dialect words that are used by 2 distant geographical areas, and nowhere between? * Are there any dialect words in England that can be traced back to Basque (I understand there are some in Scotland)?
Annie from Addlestone
I was born in the North Midlands but moved away aged 7. My family ended up living in Essex then Hampshire, Staffordshire and Devon. Then back to Essex on to Surrey, back to Devon, then Middlesex and Hampshire again and finally, back to Surrey where I have remained since I was 17, some 33 years now. I think I sound very "sarf London" but people still notice my pronounciation of words like bath, grass and pass with the 'a' sound instead of the 'ar' sound. I also still say 'won' for one and wurry instead of worry and in certain words use the hard 'u' sound, i.e. mushy not mashy! I was surprised that Betty was told that her I'll not and I won't are strange as that is normal language to me. My favourite 'northern' word which I still use is 'mardy' for anyone who is being a moaning-minnie. I love to hear soft well spoken accents of any kind but dislike hard gutteral accents. I think I sound awful nowadays and cannot even bear to hear my voice on our telephone answering machine as my voice is so mixed I sound like a mongrel!
Les Orrin Essex
Essex Dialect Dictionary by Edward Gepp is the best of its kind with words like Bangin = fine rain that really makes you wet.
Tom Spence - Spennymoor
I understand that the word "chor", meaning mate - is not used anywhere other than Spennymoor town in county Durham. If that is so, it's a truly local word.
I love yorkshire variations on words such as 'snicket' (alleyway), 'wait on' (wait), 'owt' (anything), 'nowt'(nothing)but i am also amused at how many variations there are for 'what i would call', a teacake(no currents)! If you go chippies across different regions of the UK you invariably have to use one of the following - breadcakes, cobs, batches, bun, barms, roll, bap - im sure more could be added!
Betty Atkinson originally from Derbyshire
Having lived away from Derbyshire for over thirty years and having had the sharp edges of my accent knocked off at Grammar School I thought I had lost most of my accent but this is not the case. When I answer the phone and when I meet new people I am asked where I come from. My vowels are the Big give away particularly "u". I love to hear the variety of accents and particularly dialect words. My children now grown up who have never lived in Derbyshire insist that the words I still uses are made up but they are still a strong part of my speech. I could make a long list but I particularly like slawm, whittle (worry), mither, connyfoble, launder (guttering on a house) twilly-toed). lilly-low, puther. ginnel, nesh, and starving (cold). My grammar is also odd, I am told. I say "I'll not" and not "I won't" and other strange variations. I look forward to seeing and hearing more of your study on Radio 4.
Beverley from Blackburn
I have to say that I am not sure of the type of English they speak but the likes of Hugh Grant, Richard E Grant, Edward Fox and Ian Richardson's voices all make me sit up and take notice!!!