HomeClass CultureChuff Me! Am an Endangered Species... Northern Accents Are Going Southern!!!! ?

Chuff Me! Am an Endangered Species… Northern Accents Are Going Southern!!!! ?

I feel physically sick and shaken to the core by today’s news. I heard it on Radio One, so thought I better fact check that with an impartial news outlet, i.e ‘The Independent’, and love and behold a whole article explaining that by 2066, Northern accents could sound Southern. It brings sick to me mouth!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Southern accents. I’ve lived down South, and have some Southern friends BUT I also don’t like the thought of my own linguistic heritage dying out. As I say all the fucking time – Why does everything have to be Southern?! When I do shout that, it never goes down well around Southern friends. Dare I say, lot’s of them don’t realise their Southern privilege.

We all know that language evolves over time, for e.g it’s not like we’re all hanging about speaking Ye Olde English! So, what’s put me on the endangered species list?!

Researchers have attributed the change to increased interaction between people from different parts of the country. This can lead to a decline in linguistic variation because of “accommodation”, which is when conversation partners adjust their speech to better match each other’. – Well, no chance of me accommodating!

Lazy Leslies

In the article, Dr James Burridge, from the University of Plymouth’s school of mathematics and physics, calls people lazy, so they adopt easier pronunciations.

He said “In about 1900, almost everybody said ‘thawing’ pronounced ‘thaw-wing’, but the majority of people now pronounce the word ‘thawing’ with an intrusive ‘r’, which means it sounds like ‘thaw-ring’. Our model predicts this change happened over about 25 years.

We found that the word has changed because it was tricky to pronounce and children are more likely to pick up the easier pronunciation. This then becomes the norm. However, it hasn’t changed everywhere yet because some major cities like Leeds and Manchester have rejected the change.”

Yesss, to the Manchester rejecting it bit. Well, we do things differently here!

I bet my Northern speak is all kinds of mishmash with moving around so much and learning languages. I know for a fact that when I am mind blown or angry, I shout ‘Fuck Off’ with the pronunciation of a Cockney cab driver. No joke! Caught that living in London and only realised when people took the piss out of me back up North. I think it’s safe to say however that my accent is predominately Northern!

Other Unfair Causes

Right, I can see how a more globalised world is attributing towards the move from Northern to Southern speak BUT if Northern accents were predominately used in the media, wouldn’t the accents be going from Southern to Northern instead. If English characters in films didn’t mostly have Queen sounding accents and had a Northern twang… Wouldn’t that make a difference? Wouldn’t these things make Northern Accents the norm?

Maybe another driving factor is also the negative connotations associated with Northern accents? We’re made to feel shit about having an accent and coming from the North!

Let’s be honest, lot’s of the North has been left to rot with the focus instead being on London and the South. Employment opportunities are unfairly distributed, and when I left uni, I had to go down South to get a job. I’ve also mentioned my own experiences of Linguistic Discrimination, particularly whilst living down South, in a post before. If you missed it, catch up with my post ‘Glottophobia – Pull your finger out UK’ here.

We’ve got a lack of representation of Northern voices, combined with the fact that lot’s of people probably tone down their Northern accents as they’re made to feel so shit about it. No wonder every Northern chuffer and his dog is changing!

For me, a change in accents from Northern to Southern is just another indication of the unfair divide between the North and the South in the UK. The real issues being social inequalities, with poverty increasing in lot’s of the North.

Before I bob off to buy some Spam and walk me lurcher, (got to up me Northern ways now), I want to remind you that I’m a Language Lover. A pie eating culture vulture. Language is an important part of your heritage and I believe in protecting accents and regional dialects. How bleeding boring would the world be if we all become the same? Needless to say, less diversity also means less creative ideas.

Well, cock, it’s looking more and more likely that I’m going to have to procreate, and spread me Northern ways!! So, if you fancy being a baby Daddy, get in me comments for a chinwag! Just Joking – Please don’t!

*Info Source: The Independent. Article here.




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Samantha Robinson

Founder + Content Director

Queen of the Manci Mouths! Freelance Writer with a background in the arts and travel. Tries to speak other languages. Addicted to Eurovision.