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The 'arse that Jack Built

Ian McMillan searches for the linguistic line on a map of Britain where people stop saying house, but 'arse instead. From 2012.

Ian McMillan goes on a quest to find one of Britain's strangest linguistic features.

Somewhere between Sheffield and Chesterfield, people stop saying house and say something that sounds a lot more like 'arse.

It's an isogloss, a kind of linguistic boundary line where accent and dialect changes. Ian calls it the house / arse interface, and with his friend the musician Ray Hearne and linguist Kate Burland in tow, he sets out to track it down.

But can it really be as simple as crossing a line on a map?

Producer: Laura Thomas

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in August 2012.

Available now

1 minute

Last on

Tuesday 02:30


  • Fri 10 Aug 2012 11:00
  • Sun 21 Oct 2012 13:30
  • Thu 9 Mar 2017 06:30
  • Thu 9 Mar 2017 13:30
  • Thu 9 Mar 2017 20:30
  • Fri 10 Mar 2017 01:30
  • Monday 14:30
  • Tuesday 02:30