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schmockney

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  • zehrovak@dr.com
    ... pretentious, pitiable and ugly imposition of inappropriate southern slang and embarrassing mis-collocation upon the Middle English voice that it is so
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 3, 2001
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      --- In Czechlist@y..., "Tony Long" <tonylong@i...> wrote:

      >'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.

      Hello Tony,

      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
      intonation.


      >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, since
      it'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
      compatriots do
      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-breeds
      need 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?

      Regards,

      Melvyn

      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
      normally voiced
      ones - so I read in my 'Introducing Phonetics' book!
    • JPKIRCHNER@aol.com
      ... That was research by William Labov. He suspected that rhotic speech was spreading in New York from the upper classes down, so he went into department
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 3, 2001
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        In a message dated 4/3/01 7:09:06 PM, zehrovak@... writes:

        >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.

        That was research by William Labov. He suspected that rhotic speech was
        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.

        Jamie
      • Tony Long
        Melvyn wrote: I presume you are referring to Estuary English. BTW all Londoners sound cockney to me and my brother s girlfriend from the Isle of Skye tells me
        Message 3 of 3 , Feb 25, 1960
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          Melvyn wrote:

          I presume you are referring to Estuary English. BTW all
          Londoners sound
          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.

          Best

          Tony
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