- --- In Czechlist@y..., "Tony Long" <tonylong@i...> wrote:
>'Mockney' is a middle-class attempt to appear cosmopolitan, apretentious, pitiable and
ugly imposition of inappropriate southern slang and embarrassing
mis-collocation upon the
'Middle English' voice that it is so fashionable to shun and/or
Your classification of the various types of English in and around
London is quite an eye-
opener for me. I am from far northern plovince myself (Manchester) so
a lot of these
subtleties of accent and image are lost on me even though I did live
in London for a good few years. I was always amazed at how some
Londoners (the police in particular)
could sniff out which side of the river people were from by their
>BBC radio has sensibly taken to employing Scots, Americans,Canadians, and others
untroubled by such garbage, as newsreaders and commentators.
I find this is a very welcome change from the situation we had up to a
few years ago when 'BBC
English' still seemed to be equivalent to "Received Pronunciation'
with only a few token
exceptions. Nowadays I find listening to BBC newsreaders is quite a
fun activity as I play
spot-the-regional-accent: I've noted Welsh English, northern English,
various Irish brogues, West Country, a really weird one
with a French-sounding 'r' which I later discovered is from Cumbria
and then they have that
woman with the chic French accent introducing a programme on European
current affairs. It's all progress IMHO. Vive la difference.
>All of which is a waste of space for a 'translation' group, sinceit's all, at best, interpretation.
Yes, applying an image to an accent is all very subjective but I find
that the typecasting and
peer-group identification aspect can be just as interesting as the
accents themselves. I once
read about how some New Yorkers differ from the majority of their
fellow Americans in that
they do not pronounce certains r's in the middle of words, which their
pronounce, e.g. 'get us some cawfee down on toidy-toid street'.
However, this non-rhotic
accent apparently suffers a social stigma and research showed that
many Noo Yawkahs will
flash the r's on and off just like a mayfly revealing its luminescent
bum (thought you'd like
that simile, you being a zoology buff) in order to show social status
or lack thereof if
that's what the situation required. In a department store, the r's
flash like mad but out on the
mean streets the r's can mark you out like...well, like a luminescent
backside. I'm probably
exaggerating a lot for effect and New Yorkers will wonder what the
f*** I am on about... but
the principle is the important thing...
Well, I reckon this kind of game is being played all the time with the
myriads of accents that
we have in Britain, not only as regards social status but also which
'clan', which social set
you belong to. I think most people are at least 'bilingual' when it
comes to accents; we can
shift up, down, left or right according to circumstances. What
interests me is the subtle way
these social differences can be signalled. Maybe something similar to
the New York r-game
goes on in the rhotic enclaves of England (an inverse version with the
strong 'ooarrrs' being
at the wrong end of the social stigma). Elsewhere slight vowel shifts
can make you a marked man. I am convinced you get subliminal or not so
subliminal signalling by other means too, such as nasality, 'creak'
and intonation. I wonder if
there are any other such means.
I reckon the Central Bohemian accent spoken in these parts (30 km from
Prague, 6 km from
Kladno) has very different intonation to Prague Czech and uses 'creak'
in a special way.
>A question for the true Scots out there - no wannabes and half-breedsneed apply:
So having a Scottish brother-in-law doesn't count then, huh?
> If Scottish is a separate language,I have never met a Scot who claimed Scottish English is a separate
language. Have you?
P.S. 'Creak' is apparently a special type of vocal fold vibration or
laryngeal constriction that
can sound like a stick being run along railings. Some languages use it
contrastively (i.e. to
change meanings) e.g. Vietnamese has creaky tones that contrast with
ones - so I read in my 'Introducing Phonetics' book!
- In a message dated 4/3/01 7:09:06 PM, zehrovak@... writes:
>In a department store, the r'sThat was research by William Labov. He suspected that rhotic speech was
>flash like mad but out on the
>mean streets the r's can mark you out like...well, like a luminescent
spreading in New York from the upper classes down, so he went into department
stores catering to various social classes and asked for things he knew to be
on the fourth floor. The lower-class the store, the more likely he was to
get non-rhotic speech.
- Melvyn wrote:
I presume you are referring to Estuary English. BTW all
cockney to me and my brother's girlfriend from the Isle of Skye tells
me all the English sound
cockney to her.
I am most certainly not referring to estuary English when I speak of
'cockney' or 'mockney'. Estuary English is a term dreamed up by the media to
describe the voice of the dumbed-down suburbs, unemployment hot-spots and
wasteland holiday resorts of the south and east of England. In many contexts
it merely substitutes for the dated pejorative 'gutter'. It may be affected
by a few poseurs, but its main function is to lend troughside social
equality to rich types who don't 'talk proper'. Cockney, in contrast, is as
near as dammit to a real dialect (help here, Simon!), and has been rooted in
London for a very long time indeed. Estuary is stupid and inclusive (talk
thick and everyone will [mis]understand); Cockney is witty and exclusive
(talk fast and clever and keep the idiots in the dark). Estuary humour
starts below the belt, just under the beer gut; Cockney humour starts at the
eyes and works both ways.
'Mockney' is a middle-class attempt to appear cosmopolitan, a pretentious,
pitiable and ugly imposition of inappropriate southern slang and
embarrassing mis-collocation upon the 'Middle English' voice that it is so
fashionable to shun and/or loathe. BBC radio has sensibly taken to employing
Scots, Americans, Canadians, and others untroubled by such garbage, as
newsreaders and commentators.
All of which is a waste of space for a 'translation' group, since it's all,
at best, interpretation. As both Melvyn and the person from the very edge of
the British Isles wisely confirm, they all sound the same if you get far
enough away, either geographically or mentally. I can't blame any Scot for
lumping the language in with the people and wishing them both to the devil.
A question for the true Scots out there - no wannabes and half-breeds need
apply: If Scottish is a separate language, is it possible to be bilingual
English-Scottish, or would any attempt be just a monstrous pose? I refer to
modern Scottish rather than Gaelic.