Language and Region

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  • Language and Region
    • Geography is just one of many factors which affect the way we speak. Other variables include: gender, sexuality, occupation and ethnicity.
      • Every place in the United Kingdom has its own accent and dialect, each with its own connotations and traits.
        • Over time, attitudes towards certain accents and dialects change, an example of this being Received Pronunciation
          • RP was once viewed as a very prestigious accent, used by the likes of royalty, businessmen and politicians. In contemporary society, the use of RP has decreased heavily due to social change, as the accent is viewed as snobby.
            • It's estimated that only 1-2% of the UK population speak with Received Pronunciation
        • Some accents are deemed 'smarter' than others, with accents like Scouse carrying connotations of a lack of intelligence where accents like Cockney are seemed as more standard and more employable
          • Accents such as the Geordie accent are viewed as 'humourous' and 'loving'.
            • The Geordie dialect has unique words that we might not use in our own speech. For example the term 'bairn', is used to replace the world child. Also, the term of endearment 'pet' is used to let someone know that they are a friend.
              • Some people may call a 'bread bun' a bread bun, but in the North East  they may use the word 'stottie', where in Yorkshire it may be a 'bread cake' or 'scuffler', whereas in the North West it's a 'barm cake'.
            • The scouse accent is largely influences from migrants from Ireland who worked in the Merseyside ports.
          • Cockney rhyming slang is conventional of Londoners. An example of this includes Apple and Pears (Stairs) and Adam and Eve (Believe) and Wallace and Gromit (Vomit)
        • It could be argued that dialect levelling is killing off some regional languages. An example of this is the word 'splinter'. Thirty to fourty years ago, places like Manchester and Lincolnshire would've used terms like 'Splint and 'Spelk'.
          • However, the concrete noun 'splinter' is now used by almost everyone and terms like 'splint' and 'spelk' are growing less and less common. This can be blamed on social media and the construction of motorways which makes travel so much easier, leading to more and more people of different regions communicate with each other.
            • Linguist Lesley Milroy (2002) argues that increased geographical mobility leads to the 'large-scale disruption of close-knit, localised networks that have historically maintained highly systematic and complex sets of socially structured linguistc norms'.
      • Multiple negation is common among youths and is stereotypically associated with people of a working class. For example, 'I didn't do nothing'
        • A Daily Mail article suggested that those who speak with an Essex accent are less likely to become employed
          • The Daily Telegraph: Top 10 Accents
            • 1. Queen's English
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                • 2. Scottish
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    • Global Englishes show how people from different countries use the English language in their own way (Singlish, American-English etc)
      • These Englishes have their own phonological, lexical and grammatical variations. For example, someone who speaks Canadian-English may pronounce the word 'about' as 'aboot'. Furthermore, someone who speaks American-English is more likely to use the concrete noun 'sidewalk' as oppose to 'footpath'.
    • Ethnicity is also important in the way we speak
      • In Bradford, 95% of the population is Pakistani, so the language seen and used in Bradford is of course going to be very different compared to the rest of the country.
        • Examples of terms used by this community include: bare, swag and sick
          • These terms are also common in the South London area among youths. The word 'bare' means very and the word 'sick' means awesome or good.
            • The word 'bare' is actually Jamaican and is originally an Afro-Caribbean term for 'totally' but due to colonialism of the West Indies, many Jamaicans came over to London in the mid 1900s to work, thus their language became commonplace

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