Posted by: secretperson | July 29, 2008

Flying the Local Flag, use the Local Accent

While you might expect an English nationalist like me to be wary of creeping regionalisation, I think there is nothing incompatible with being proud of your locality and your Englishness. I therefore welcome the news that people in Yorkshire are to be allowed to fly the White Rose flag. It seems strange to me that flag flying is so restricted anyway, but I know Yorkshire folk are a proud lot, with plenty to be proud about. As long as some bureaucrat in Whitehall hasn’t classified as the flag for Yorkshire and the Humber Euro-region, why not fly a traditional symbol of England’s largest county.

Sadder news reveals that nearly three quarters of people don’t like their accents. Brummies were the least proud. Personally I think the Brummy accent sounds friendly, if a bit slow. But it is sad that people don’t like the way they speak.

I can totally see and accept the case for Recieved Pronunciation (RP) or Queen’s English as a common standard to help with communication. We can all learn to speak so others understand, but there is no reason local dialects and accents can’t be used, and used proudly, at home.

What worries me is that in some kind of inverted snobbery against the Queen’s English it’ll be replaced by Estuary English and we’ll all end up sounding like Jamie Oliver.

It is quite possible that English accents represent, albeit much changed, the different Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of the Heptarchy, first established when the Anglo-Saxon or Old English language came to these shores. Although Alfred’s Wessex and London in the middle ages would have spread their dialects to official written documents, the isolation of people was so much more in the past that much accent and dialect would be ancient.

Scotland and Wales are discussed as single areas in this report, and I know they too boast a variety of accents, unfairly lumped together. So I will stick to the English accent for now.

Personally I have a mix of accents, some West Country (foive comes after six), some mixed northern (grass rhymes with ass not arse). I think Geordie is a lovely accent, but Scouse grates horribly. But whatever my opinions, I think they are certainly worth preserving and I hope people can learn to love their accents. Yes, even you Brummies.

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