All You Wanted To Know About The English Language But Were Afraid To Ask

Discussion in 'Evolution of Language' started by Terry Page, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    To borrow a title from a Woody Allen movie about sex, and being inspired by @Ina I. Wonder in the Irish Eyes thread ........."We'll have to do a thread on England sometime, and maybe we'll get to hear your different accents too"
    I have started this thread about English accents and differences in dialect.









     
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  2. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
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    Now this is what I like. Having pride in ones country is healthy for all of us. To be able to get insight of other places by those that actually live there is much different than what we get to read in travels pamplets, or even books on the countries history. And a little levity help others see the country as seen from those indiginus to the area.

    Good start Terry, maybe our other English members will enjoy telling us some things that they see of interest on England.
     
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  3. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Perhaps better to say British @Ina I. Wonder ...we're 4 separate countries within the British isles..Scotland, England , Northern Ireland and Wales.. :) although I live in England I am Scottish Born and Raised.... In Scotland the Accents are just as diverse as they are in England...but my non British friends say they can't tell the difference between our dialects all they can hear is a ''British accent'' ..although they Dilaects are very diverse and very obvious to all of us British , as I'm sure all different USA Dialects are very obvious and different to you..

    BTW I can tell a lot of American accents are different...I know a Bostonian accent, a new York accent, and a Texan accent..when I hear them.. :D
     
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  4. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Accents and dialects can change over a very short distance. For example, Newcastle and Sunderland are only about ten miles apart, but the accents are completely different. You can even have different accents in one place - when I lived in Oxford, I'd say there were three distinctly different Oxford accents. One was "town Oxford" with elements of London estuary English. Another was "rural Oxford" with a slight country burr. Finally, there was "posh Oxford" which is probably self explanatory.

    Accents change over time. I have a friend from Reading, a town around 25 miles west of London. He is the about the same age as me and his accent is much more of the London estuary type I mentioned. His late father, however, born and bred in Reading, had a noticeably rural burr to his accent.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  5. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    Same here @Tom Locke , we are just 20 miles north of London in a rural area, and many of the indigenous farming families still speak with an 'artfordsheer 'edge'og accent''...while many are incomers from London and have brought a more ''refined'' (RP) accent to the area...
     
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  6. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    There was a very interesting programme on BBC a few years ago. Someone had discovered some old recordings in a vault in (I think) Berlin and they turned out to be British POWs from the First World War. The programme makers tracked down some of the descendants of the prisoners and they were able to hear the voices of their relatives, which must have been a strange experience.

    What was really intriguing was how accents had changed. I can't recall all the places these people were from - there were about four or five families - but I remember one family from Aberdeen and one from Swindon. The modern-day speakers clearly had different accents to their predecessors. I remember the family from Swindon being amused at how West Country their relative's accent was. They sounded a bit "country" but this chap really sounded "ooh, aah, yuzzem"!
     
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  7. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    OMG...I would have been fascinated if I'd been one of the descendent of those POW's..wow!!
     
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  8. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Glancing through this thread, I'm mildly amused that the only person who is actually English is Terry, though of course Holly lives in England and I lived in various parts of England for several years.

    So many things influence accents and dialects. People move around a fair amount and even TV programmes can affect the way we speak. Australian soap operas are surely responsible for that trait of making a statement sound like a question, whereby the tone becomes higher in pitch at the end.
     
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  9. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
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    I am now aware that England is in fact four countries, so what make them unique onto themselves in their differences. I mean there are thing that are totally Texan, totally Alaskan, or New York. There are things and sites that you can only see and hear in these particular; areas. I'd like to know about your four different areas.
     
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  10. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    Tom, I noticed that too and I don't know enough about the different words used by the Brits so I have been sitting back observing and waiting for those in the UK to teach and entertain me :)
     
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  11. Holly Saunders

    Holly Saunders Veteran Member
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    LOL, what do you want us to teach you @Lara Moss :D
     
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  12. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    I already learned a few words I'd never heard before from the Ellen Video (and the others) that Terry posted. All 5 of them were hilarious too.:D But I don't even know what to ask…I'm just not around it.
     
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  13. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    #13
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  14. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    One of the places in England that I lived in for a few years was Newcastle, in the north-east. So, here's some Geordie...

     
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  15. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes as Tom said accents vary over just a few miles and they can get easily changed by influences such as TV programmes. I know most English accents and can mimic some, but when it comes to Scottish, Irish or Welsh ones I am not so good, I can differentiate a few Scottish ones because I spent a lot of time there on vacations.
    American accents I am aware of but simply the ones I have observed in movies such as the Southern drawl and a few others but I am pretty much lost on any locations.
    It's interesting to note that Lisa not being a native speaker of English, cannot differentiate between American and English accents, nor which class of society the accent comes from in England, except by the type of grammar spoken.
     
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  16. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes Ina we are four distinct countries a bit like a mini Europe. We also have a divided Ireland, the south of which is not included in the term UK.

    There are distinct differences between these countries probably akin to your states?. I do remember one of my Uncles expressing a distinct dislike of the Welsh and I sensed in those days there was a mutual animosity between the Welsh and the English, I came across it a few times when visiting the country in the '50s and trying to buy something in a grocery shop, whereupon the owner would pretend he couldn't speak English and lapse into Welsh.
    There were also some disturbances in the '70s - '80s when a lot of English people were buying second holiday homes in Wales.

    [​IMG]
    13 December 1979: First four arsons in Nefyn on the Llyn peninsula and Pembrokeshire. In the first wave, eight English-owned holiday cottages were destroyed within a month.
    Estate agents and caravans, as well as second homes, were targeted
    Welsh Office figures showed in 1988 there were more than 20,000 holiday homes, the majority in Welsh-speaking areas
    Sion Aubrey Roberts, then 21 of Llangefni, was jailed for 12 years in 1993 for posting letter bombs but many other cases


    Ireland is more complex, the southern Irish people who are mainly Catholic still hold some resentment I feel, though nowhere near as much as during 'The Troubles". Both my daughters frequently go to Dublin, and though the locals will jokingly say shame you are English etc, there doesn't appear to be any real malice. My brother-in-law is from Southern Ireland and has lived in England for over 40 years and I often joke with him over our differences, though nothing is serious these days it seems.

    Scotland has some or possibly many political differences with England but @Tom Locke can give you more information on Scotland
     
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  17. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    I have no accent, maybe because I moved all over the U.S. growing up, or maybe I got it from my parents. I was told once a few years ago that I have an "educated American accent". I never really understood what he meant by that and thought he made it up. The guy was not usually one to hand out compliments but educated sounded like a good thing to me so I chose to take it that way :)

    After reading this thread, I just now googled "english accents" to see if there was something I could share here. I found some people, with english accents, comparing theirs to american accents. Low and behold, one person mentioned "standard american educated accent" (maybe it was that same guy lol). The article was interesting though. http://www.theguardian.com/notesandqueries/query/0,5753,-19039,00.html
     
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    Last edited: Mar 7, 2016
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  18. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Scotland has a number of political differences, the most obvious being that the Scottish legal system is separate to that of England and Wales. There are other things that are noticeable, such as the NHS (National Health Service). For example, prescriptions and eye tests are free in Scotland, but not in England.

    There is also something of an east-west split in Scotland, particularly between the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow (the accents are very different, too, though the cities are only about 45 miles apart). Edinburgh is seen as a rather conservative and establishment city whereas Glasgow has a edgier reputation. While generally true, that's a bit of a simplification as Edinburgh has its rough areas (see the novels of Irvine Welsh, especially) and Glasgow has its posh bits.

    Glasgow has a substantial population of Irish Catholic descent and there is some tension between Catholic and Protestant communities, notably where the city's two big football clubs Celtic (traditionally Catholic) and Rangers (traditionally Protestant) are concerned. There is a tinge of that in Edinburgh with its two clubs, Hibernian (founded by Irish immigrants) and Heart of Midlothian (traditionally Scottish Protestant), though it's not such a big deal as in Glasgow. Supporters of Hibs and Hearts are more likely to follow from their geographical locations, Hibs in the east of the city and Hearts in the west. Heart of Midlothian, incidentally, are the only football club named after a Walter Scott novel.
     
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  19. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Here are a few bits and bobs @Lara Moss

    Picture2.jpg

    american-british-englishw.jpg
     
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  20. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    A small addendum to my "Geordie" video of earlier. People from Sunderland, about ten miles south of Newcastle, are known as "Mackems." This derives from the way that they pronounce the words "make" and "take." A Geordie will say "maayk" and "taayk" with a long a, whereas a mackem will say "mak" and "tak" with a short a.
     
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  21. Tom Locke

    Tom Locke Very Well-Known Member
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    Another example of dialect providing a name for a group of people happens in the English West Midlands, a bit closer to Terry's territory. The area to the north and west of Birmingham is known as the Black Country, so-called because of the heavy industry and pollution from the days of the industrial revolution. People from that area are known - mainly by Brummies (Birmingham people) - as Yam Yams because of the way they say "Yow am" instead of "You are." I have some friends from Wolverhampton (just under 20 miles from Birmingham) and they jokingly refer to themselves as Yam Yams.
     
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  22. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Interestingly having had prolonged conversations for a while now with @Chrissy Page on instant messaging, I have realised how much I use idioms and words that are completely foreign to Americans. I am constantly being asked what???? I am learning a lot, but not sure how much I am remembering.
     
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  23. Lara Moss

    Lara Moss Very Well-Known Member
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    I looked perused your list of words, Terry, no knickers? I just fixed my typo…I typed knockers instead of knickers, which just happens to be a rude american slang word :D Also, my state of NCarolina has a popular dance here called the "Shag". I'll be careful when using that word now.
     
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  24. Terry Page

    Terry Page Very Well-Known Member
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    Yes the "Brummie" accent is one of the generally disliked ones amongst the English.

    Yes the Brummie accent is one of the most disliked by the English

     
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  25. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Hi Ken!
    [​IMG]
     
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