1 EAGLETON NOTES: Dialects

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Sunday, 3 March 2019

Dialects

In his post on 2 March entitled Pinpointing, Yorkshire Pudding drew attention to a survey which claimed to determine where one was brought up (in the British Isles or the USA) from the words one uses and how one pronounces them - one's dialect. It pinpointed YP perfectly.

I was intrigued. I was born and brought up in Liverpool. There is an old joke about Liverpool back in my youth before any people from the Indian sub-continent lived there (they all lived in the mill towns of central Lancashire).  The joke was that if you were a Liverpudlian you were Liverpool Irish, Liverpool Welsh, Liverpool Scottish, Liverpool West Indian, Liverpool Chinese (Liverpool has the oldest ethnic Chinese community in Europe) or Liverpool Jewish. It was rumoured that there were Liverpool English but no-one had ever met one.

After I left home I lived in Cheshire until I came to the Isle of Lewis in the far north west of Scotland 44 years ago. Since then I have usually been taken for someone from the South of England. If you are a Northerner there are few greater insults. Well that's not quite true, as a Lancastrian it's a greater insult to call me a Yorkshireman. 

However I went to a small private prep school and was subjected to elocution by a French lady teacher. My parents didn't have particularly Liverpool accents. Neither do I. I do, however, use many Liverpool words from my childhood.

When I took the first part of the quiz it came up with the following results:


After my full quiz with the additional questions it came up with a slightly more refined result.


 The one thing it definitely shows is that I have no dialectic link to the South of England.

There's a British version of the quiz. Go here. And there's also an American version. Go here.

30 comments:

  1. I took the American quiz. Said I was from Alabama. Code enough! I can detect an accent from Yorkshire when I am watching a British TV show! I once worked with a girl from Rugby and when she met Richard, she said he had a "nice" accent, not dead common like hers! I have read that the Beatles had a lot to do with regional accents being accepted on TV, until then, it was the more upper class accents you would hear.

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    1. Kay, the fact that you used the term 'dead common' indicates a good knowledge of English slang. I bet it's not a common term in the US. I think a lot of people in the Beatles era, including me, saw a very big change in acceptability of accents. People are proud of their regional accents now and so they should be. I have no 'regional' accent but have a sort of old fashioned "BBC" accent which has been both an advantage and a disadvantage during my life. It's certainly not been an advantage in Scotland although it's universally understandable which is more than can be said for some Scottish dialects, even within Scotland.

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  2. I did the quiz and it was correct making me come from East Sussex. I live in Brighton and stones throw from London and am often taken for a Londoner, the accent being similar. Not a wonderful accent but can't change it now, lol
    Briony
    x

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    1. Briony, I think some of the big markers between the North and the South are words like 'scone'. I have always pronounced 'scone' as in 'gone' and not as in 'tone'. Glasgow and Liverpool had large Irish populations so many Irish words have made their way into our common dialects.

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  3. Thank you for the link on your interesting post
    The USA test results are exact for me, Boston area. After living in other parts of the country, I've picked up a few ways of saying things. The older I get, though, the more my Boston accent pops out.

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    1. Maywyn, I wonder why your Boston accent pops out now. You've made me wonder whether I am using more of my childhood sayings? Perhaps we had happy childhoods and want to return?

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  4. The NYT quiz reveals that you have no links with Yorkshire where the purest and most admirable forms of English are spoken. The fact that your origins appear to be all over the place suggest that you are a crazy, mixed up kid. How long were you on The Isle of Man?

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    1. YP, I was on the Isle of Man in about 1964 for a weekend. I only learned naughty words because I've never been so cold and miserable in my life.

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  5. I have no trouble remembering where I was brought up and where I've been. I could do with help ascertaining my current whereabouts.

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    1. Adrian, I think a fair few of us are reaching that stage in life!

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  6. I took this quiz. I live in a very sparse area so I had to accept the closest area. It was right!

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  7. I am very much a product of both the South, and a particular type of schooling. If I tried to change it, people would probably think I was taking the p*ss.

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    1. Cro, I have absolutely no ability to mimic other accents so anything I say is either 'my' accent or a poor parody.

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    2. I've since had time to do the test, and they got me spot on!

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  8. I did this quiz as I have Scottish, Irish and English ancestry, I often wonder if what I say is what my ancestors use to say but alas this was my answer: "Your map was Way off. Your answers did'nt fit here at all.
    The map shows places where answers most closely match your own, based on more than 1,000,000 respondents who said they were from Ireland or Britain.

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  9. My answer was the same as Amy's - hardly surprising, as I have learned English as a second language from a variety of teachers and my English has seen (or heard) many influences from England, the US and Australia.

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    1. Meike, I was trying to thing whether that made you a polymath of the English Language or just a "Heinz 57 varieties".

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  10. I wonder what it would produce for me?

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  11. I had to try, of course... And they got it right: "Definitely not from around here are you? Your answers were closer to the average person outside of Ireland and Britain than anywhere inside it." ... The reason of course that English is my second language. The final map that showed most matches for me in the London area, Cambridge, and - surprise! - parts of south-west Ireland! (I've never been to Ireland)
    Back in my teens I was told by an old Yorkshire-man while staying with a family there one summer that "You speak like you come from the BBC, lass!" (And I was never sure it was meant as a compliment...)

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    1. PS. Just took the American quiz as well and it seems that over there, I'd make myself best understood in the New York / Providence corner of the map!

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  12. It appears I'm from East Wales (no particular part). I find that odd, given that I felt the questions all related to words I learned in my childhood and not ones I'd use in adult conversation / that I could have picked up since leaving the north. Just goes to show it doesn't work for everyone!

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    1. That's very interesting, Helen. I certainly still use a lot of the words in the quiz that I took in my life in my advanced adult life.

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  13. Suprise! Suprise! Firmly from the S.E. corner of England. Mind you it was after I told them I was from Reigate in Surrey. It was fun to do though.

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    1. Yes, Potty, I wonder if the second half of the test is the same for everyone.

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  14. Ooooh, I'm horrible at geography, and directions. Lucky for me I learned to read a map, but that's as far as it goes. So instead of going to the map test, I'm going down for a cup of coffee! *wink*

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    1. Mrs S, there's no geography involved other than to show you where your accent is from.

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