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  • …grayblog…- separating the wanted from the unwanted » 2001 » April

    Monday 30 April 2001

    Further thoughts on dialect and

    Further thoughts on dialect and accent:
    A hundred years ago, it would have been incredibly unusual to hear a French, Spanish, Chinese or American voice in the streets of Chichester. Now it is an everyday occurence.
    With global travel and global communication now so very common, I wonder if, in a hundred years time, we will not only see the disappearance of some regional accents, but maybe even some national accents. Will we all speak American? Will anyone who doesn’t speak English (or at least Spanish or Chinese) be able to communicate with anyone outside their local community without an artificial aid (I hear rumours that IBM are working on a babelfish project – combining instant translation technology with speak-n-type software).
    Isn’t this an absolutely horrifying scenario? I’m not too parochial (ok, maybe a bit), but the thought that regional identity might be lost in some way is not a prospect that pleases me. How on earth do we go about preserving such intangible assets?
    But equally, should we resist change? If we had, we’d all go round using words like “forsooth” and “oddsbodkins” in every sentence, and moaning that nothing has been the same since the invention of the printing press. Perhaps this is just a natural part of the progression of our society, technology driving us towards increasing global homogeneity.


    Meg posted some thoughts earlier

    Meg posted some thoughts earlier on regional dialect. This set me thinking about the Sussex dialect. I posted this in her BlogVoices:

    I’ve lived in Sussex all my life. My father’s family moved to the county around 1925 (from Windsor) and my mother’s family in 1941 (from Croydon, but we don’t talk about that).
    There isn’t really a proper Sussex accent now (too diluted by northern immigrants who come here for the sun, sand and sea – oh, and the Downs – northern being a relative term of course), but there used to be, and just occasionally you meet someone who still speaks with it. Give me a few drinks, and I’ll do a reasonable impression of a proper Sussex accent. It’s a soft, slightly sing-songy sort of accent, typical of many rural parts of England, and bit like a softer version of the Hog (which, in case you don’t know, is the accent particular to rural Hampshire).
    But the main thing about “proper” Sussex people is that they use local words. “I just saw Meriel wandering off down the twitten past the withy towards the rife” would make perfect sense to a Sussex person. Sadly a lot of these words are dying out now – there was a book of them published a few years ago, but I’ve not seen it for a long time. Wish I could get a copy, and write in proper Sussex dialect at Grayblog.

    And now I think I’ve found the book which is published by these people. I’m not sure if this is a reprint, as I originally saw a book along these lines years ago, but I think it may be the one. And it is now on my Amazon wishlist, with just twelve days to go before my birthday!


    What sparked the whole Japanese

    What sparked the whole Japanese thing between Robyn and I was wondering what the heck Greenery Day is. Today is Greenery Day in Japan, a public holiday. Apparently it is normally the 29th, but was held over to today as the 29th was, of course, a Sunday. Well, now I know. Or for a more sideways view, refer to Tokyo Classified, which is definitely a cool site.


    following a typically off-the-wall conversation

    following a typically off-the-wall conversation by IM with Robyn, I hunted around and found this source of oriental amusement, including a great article on a particularly foul sounding foodstuff. Have you tried it? What did you think?


    oh class! This is the

    oh class! This is the sort of thing that makes the whole web-thing so worthwhile: The Patron Saint Index. You, sir, the philatelist – you have a patron saint. As do you, the apiarist. And you, the Argentinian pelota player. And I’ve found the patron saints of Europe.
    There is even a patron saint of chilblains.