Are northern English accents dying out? Are they eck as like | Stuart Maconie


Ah, the stalwarts of summer season! Cowes, Goodwood, the Proms and, these times, gloomy tutorial prognostications about the long run of northern accents. Previous summer season, Manchester University claimed that the speech differences of the major northern towns have been fading, merging into a generalised uber-northern that, implausibly, could incorporate Alan Bennett, Ant and Dec and Atomic Kitten. This yr, Cambridge and Portsmouth “eggheads” (compulsory designation) convey to us, but a lot more gloomily, that northern accents could start off dying out in just forty five several years, drowned by the growing tide of “estuary” English and the dominance of southern dialects which evidently are “easier to pick up” for youngsters.

Seriously? A lot easier to pick up in which? Where by are these odd young children? The necessarily mean streets of Cheltenham potentially but not Chorlton. From my practical experience, Mancs are finding a lot more Manc, Geordies a lot more Geordie and Scousers a lot more adenoidal with every passing football and pageant time, brandishing their glottal stops and quick a’s as if they have been cudgels. But there is a lot more.

Seemingly “strut”, which currently rhymes with “foot” in northern England, will no for a longer period do so by 2066. The researchers are unsuccessful to convey to us, though, what it will start off to rhyme with. If they believe any individual in Hull is going to pronounce it “straht” (in the not likely event they’re named upon to commentate on a disco dancing championship or evaluation the Rolling Stones are living), frankly, they have anarthar matter carming.

On it goes. “Back end” – it implies autumn in some northern parts – will “completely disappear in just 20 years”. In all my several years between the peoples of the north, I have in no way read autumn named back again close, which qualified prospects me to conclude that individuals “northern parts” could be 12th-century Iceland. In other places, the pirate-like “arrr” in “farm” is predicted to disappear from the West Place, which will be a terrible blow to writers of Radio 4 comedy.

In the sixties, after the emergence of the Beatles, there have been problems that it was now necessary to have a northern accent to get on in the arts or media and, worse, that it was only a make any difference of time ahead of Ken Dodd was home secretary. But it was an absurd very little whine from a briefly imperilled course and shortly normal service was resumed, with Harold Wilson and John Prescott’s blunt, tones changed once more – the emollient poshness of Douglas-Residence and MacMillan now voiced by David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

Every northerner in the media will convey to how they’ve modified their accents to stay away from fantastic-natured joshing (or toxic regional/course hatred, as I like to jokingly contact it) in studios and newsrooms. It could necessarily mean shortening the long vowel in “book”, or referring to “the chancellor’s bahdget”. But rest certain, as shortly as your back again is turned, Guildford, we’re “mickling”, “thraiping” and “ee bah gumming” absent in our savage tongue deep in our caves.

On publication of the survey, with the precision honed by many years of producing “humorous” merchandise to close the information, an ITV crew manufactured for Barnsley, in which “folk” conformed obligingly to form. An outdated chap in a baseball cap – Geoffrey Boycott was obviously unavailable, presumably sipping a negroni in Antibes – was mildly goaded into asserting that “T’YORKSHIRE ACCENT’LL NIVER DIE AHT, NIVER!”, with a vehemence that advised he would be on the next Megabus to Cambridge to kind these poncey teachers out

The rearguard resistance starts in this article. Linguists say 15% of individuals now begin the phrase “three” with an f. But several of them are up north I fancy. Estuarial “shtrength”, “shtruggle” and “home shtraight” may be ubiquitous between sports presenters and Radio one DJs but, offered you in no way hear that sound north of Oxford, maybe that states a lot more about broadcasters’ recruitment practices. De facto leader of the opposition Marcus Rashford usually takes the govt to process in appropriately nasal Wythenshawe by means of Withington. Most hearteningly, your real poet laureate offers the long, flat, mordant vowels of the Colne Valley. And he’s from Yorkshire, so “boast” is accurate in this article.

Long are living the affable but mournful lilt of the Tyne, the pugnacious Yorkshire burr, the cheery menace of Scouse and Glaswegian and the lyrical beauty of Wigan-place Lancastrian. But beware. The northern accent does have 1 baleful and growing enemy. Her identify is Alexa. Concern her, pet.

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