The British Library – Workshop

On Friday afternoon A level English Language students took part in workshop run by The British Library on accents and dialects that Mrs Jeffs had kindly arranged. This topic forms part of their studies on the influences of English language such as gender, class, ethnicity and occupation.
Initially we were guided through lexical variations- do you know what it is to ‘puggle’? What would you use as a synonym of attractive? And how the popularity of slang words wavers when it moves from an aspect of youth dialect to become mainstream- ‘no one says ‘peng’ anymore Mum!’

Students were challenged to identify accents of people reading Mr Tickle- with quite a lot of success (even differentiating between Northern and Southern Irish). They were also asked to identify whether they use long or short vowel sounds in ‘bath…grass…after.’ (Most used the long vowel more typically associated with the south and Received Pronunciation!)
Lastly they explored grammatical changes such as the proliferation of ‘like’ both used as a filler ‘it was like amazing’ and as a way of quoting someone ‘he was like I can hear you.’ Surprisingly we learnt that this was not a hangover of the MTV generation and watching too many American teen dramas but could actually be traced back to northern England and the Victorian era (who like knew?)
In conclusion students offered their own dialectal words for @voicesofEnglish twitter ‘words of the week’… drip/drippy (meaning nice uniform/clothing) and bundalenger (attractive). So watch this space if they make the cut…

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