BBC Voices

Conversation in Edinburgh about accent, dialect and attitudes to language.

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  • Is part of (Collection)

    BBC Voices Recordings

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  • Interviewees

    Cochrane, Michael (Noel), 1939 Dec. 18- (speaker, male, interviewee, retired schoolteacher), Fee, John, 1930 Dec. 16- (speaker, male, Gray, Mildred (Millie), 1934 April 14- (speaker, female, writer and story-teller), Lothian, James (Jimmy), 1915 Nov. 19- (speaker, male, retired heating engineer), McGovern, John, 1937 Dec. 20- (speaker, male, retired electrician/college lecturer)

  • Interviewers

    White, Claire, 1978 Oct. 29- (speaker, female)

  • Producers

    Radio Scotland

  • Abstract

    [00:00:00] Speakers introduce themselves. Discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Discussion about being bilingual: speaking Scots and proper English, being told to speak proper English at school. How speech varies in different areas of Edinburgh: Leith and Morningside, Oor Wullie and The Broons as examples of written Scots. Description of Irish mother encouraging him not to use Scots in house because she considered it to be slang, this meant he spoke three languages: one at school, one at home and one in the street. Mention mother correcting her speech because she considered education and speaking proper as a way out of poverty and the slums.[00:13:55] Mention link between social class/job prospects and language, surprise at comprehensive school pupils he taught using same language that he did when young, how attitudes towards regional accents have changed over time, how this was advocated by change in teaching attitudes.[00:15:45] Discussion about Leith accent/speech, how Jimmys accent has changed over time. Comment that you can hear real working class speech on buses/at bus stops. Description of grandmothers speech who spoke pure Lallans. How television has influenced local accent, learning accent/words from grandmother in past, how children speak today. Mention various local words, their use and meaning. Comment that the teachers who corrected their speech at school in past spoke English with a Scots accent themselves. Discussion about different Edinburgh accents, hearing other Scottish accents at school.[00:23:50] Discussion about use and meaning of various local words, Romani words used in past, street language used in Leith now by drug-using community, eggy language used by children at school when he was a teacher he couldnt understand it. Mention words used to mean to hit hard/insane. Explanation of local expressions and phrases, comment that they were usually learnt from mother and are heard less and less now. Mention swear words that were acceptable at home, word used to mean tired/pregnant, expression used only within his family.[00:36:51] Continuation of discussion of words used to describe EMOTIONS. Mention words used to mean pregnant/to play truant/to sleep; words that have been brought to England from other countries; different uses of the word stotting/stoater.[00:42:05] Discussion of words used to describe ACTIONS. Mention words used to mean left-handed. Description of games played when young in 1940s/50s.[00:47:58] Discussion of words used to describe PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES.[00:52:38] Discussion of words used to describe WEATHER AND SURROUNDINGS. Mention words used to mean kit of tools. Description of working as painter in past, tools used for different trades. Discussion about various rooms of house, what they were used for in past. Description of tenement buildings in Leith in past, anecdotes about living in tenements.[01:07:21] Discussion of words used to describe PEOPLE AND THINGS. Discussion about local attitudes towards social class now and in past, link between social class and speech, how social background affected peoples job prospects in past.[01:20:50] Discussion of words used to describe CLOTHING.[01:22:26] Speakers re-introduce themselves. Discussion about various areas of Edinburgh that they have lived in. Mention local pronunciations of street names.

  • Description

    Recording made for BBC Voices project of a conversation guided by a BBC interviewer. The conversation follows a loose structure based on eliciting opinions about accents, dialects, the words we use and people's attitude to language. The five interviewees are all story-tellers and creative writers.

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