The accents thread

3 Body No Problem

Well-known member
Interesting you should mention the London/SE England "innit"
Do people still say "innit"? I though that was a 1990s phenomenon. The most frequent filler phrase these days is "you know".

Is the rising intonation used to indicate a question in other languages?
I think it's called high rising terminal. My sister has recently started using it as her only form of intonation. I had to stop talking with her.
 
Last edited:

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Do people still say "innit"? I though that was a 1990s phenomenon. The most frequent filler phrase these days is "you know".

I think it's called high rising terminal. My sister has recently started using it as her only form of intonation. I had to stop talking with her.
Point one: they certainly do, although 'yeah?' and 'y'know' are also wildly popular.

Point two: and you were quite right to do so, yeah?

One thing that has always puzzled me: there are reams of people in London who speak with this kind of semi-posh intonation - where do they all come from? I'm pretty sure it's not a public school thing - it's simply not posh enough for that (and I've met enough people from public schools to tell the difference...), but it sounds kind of 'aspirational' (as well as simpering), I suppose. But, and here's the nub - I grew up in an OK area in the south, but, growing up there, if you'd spoken like these people do, you would have been soundly beaten to death for being an ostentatious twat. So where the hell do they come from?

Is it simply the entire population of Surrey, transplanted, or do people feel it easier to give flight to their inner poshness when they arrive in London?
 

massrock

Well-known member
One thing that has always puzzled me: there are reams of people in London who speak with this kind of semi-posh intonation - where do they all come from?
Heh, there are so many shades, you need to post audio examples.

I probably sound more lahndahn than I realise but you also get a lot of people with this really exaggerated twang that sounds to me like an affectation and un ugly one. Why would you do that to yourself?
 

Bang Diddley

Well-known member
Interesting you should mention the London/SE England "innit" - I hadn't thought of it that way before. Having said that, it's almost never said in a rising, questioning intonation; it's used more like a statement of fact. And by Bangladeshi kids more than anyone else.

Is the rising intonation used to indicate a question in other languages? I think it can do in French, from my (very limited) experience of the language. German too, that I know of. God knows about any non-European languages though. Sufi/zhao/polystyle to thread!
Its a good question. Ive never really thought about it but I would say the rising intonation is not generally used in Indo languages (hindi, punjabi, urdu). Ive heard some of school kids using it when conversing here in the UK so its def creeping in but its not something Ive heard when older people are speaking.

edit : Agree with Mr Tea on the init comment, it, almost a rhetorical question when used.
 
Last edited:

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
the classic philly/b-more accent is almost exclusively a white phenomenon...
or, I mean, white & black people from those towns tend to have different, equally distinctive accents. with a good deal of overlap, depending on what part of town you're from - i.e., in Philly, West Philly (black, outside the campuses vs. deep South Philly (Italian) vs. Kensington (mishmash of everything). I'm not as familiar w/Baltimore but say, East Baltimore vs. Southeast (which, if I recall, is heavily "ethnic white"; Slavs, Greeks, Italians, etc.).

the "white" Baltimore accent is a weird one tho. they say "warsh" instead of "wash" & "wooter" for "water". "to be" is often left out of phrases, e.g. instead of "my hair needs to be cut" it's "my hair needs cut". having lived in both Philly & Pittsburgh & spent a fair bit of time in Bmore I've always thought the accent was closer to PGH than to Philly. both working class towns with a lot of white people. so is Philly I guess but not in quite the same way.

the PGH accent (mostly talking white people again) is, if anything, even stranger. the biggest thing is "yinz" - people from PGH are Yinzers - it corresponds to "you guys", like "y'all" or vosotros or ustedes in Spanish. also - this would always me laugh when I heard it - rubber bands are "gum bands". beanies are "toboggans". I used to date a girl from rural SW Pennsylvania & her accent was even thicker, Appalachian, "creek" become "crik" & so on.

really there's all kinds of bizarre regional accents in the U.S. New England's (especially north of Boston), the no-holds-barred Spanglish of the southwest, the holdover Scandanavianisms of Wisconsin & Minnesota, etc etc it's kind of cool actually. I guess this is true for England also - Brummie, Geordie, Manc, etc
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
One thing that has always puzzled me: there are reams of people in London who speak with this kind of semi-posh intonation - where do they all come from? I'm pretty sure it's not a public school thing - it's simply not posh enough for that (and I've met enough people from public schools to tell the difference...)
Public school fees have soared, in real terms, over the last generation or so. Maybe it's people who've inherited a 'watered down' poshness of intonation from public-school-educated parents, even though they themselves have gone to a state school (though obviously not a rough one, if they grew up in a well-to-do area)?

Or perhaps it has more to do with grammar or otherwise selective schools than fee-paying public schools per se?
 
Pretty broad Belfast accent, i think it sounds woeful when played back to me. I read somewhere that the NI accent is supposed to be the sexiest in Britain and Ireland.. naaa. The 'posh' Ni accent is possibly the most grating sound in the world. have to say i really like a London accent on girls.
 

Tentative Andy

I'm in the Meal Deal
'Innit' is very probably the greatest word in the English language. Before I started posting on Dissensus, I had partially forgotten this fact. That is all I have to add to the thread at the current moment. :slanted:
 

baboon2004

Darned cockwombles.
Public school fees have soared, in real terms, over the last generation or so. Maybe it's people who've inherited a 'watered down' poshness of intonation from public-school-educated parents, even though they themselves have gone to a state school (though obviously not a rough one, if they grew up in a well-to-do area)?

Or perhaps it has more to do with grammar or otherwise selective schools than fee-paying public schools per se?
hmm, maybe the first.

Definitely not the second - I went to a grammar school, and, God, those people would have got mercilessly taunted...that's what I find bizarre, people who seem to have no conception of the way their accent might be viewed by other people, and that talking (usually) loudly and forthrightly in the voice of privilege may get you into trouble in a lot of places...
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
hmm, maybe the first.

Definitely not the second - I went to a grammar school, and, God, those people would have got mercilessly taunted...that's what I find bizarre, people who seem to have no conception of the way their accent might be viewed by other people, and that talking (usually) loudly and forthrightly in the voice of privilege may get you into trouble in a lot of places...
Sure.

At the same time, I think the most annoying kind of accent (or pseudo-accent) you'll hear in Britain these days is that of people - well, a certain segment of white, 20-something and usually male people - who are clearly from a middle-class background but talk in this horrific, kind of made-up Nathan Barley-ish mockney, with gratuitous use of 'street' or 'black-sounding' phraseology, that's clearly meant to sound 'working class' but somehow makes them sound more privileged that if they just spoke in their natural home-counties sort of accent.

Is the phrase I'm looking for here 'ironic chavs'? 'Cunts' might just have to do instead.

the PGH accent (mostly talking white people again) is, if anything, even stranger. the biggest thing is "yinz" - people from PGH are Yinzers - it corresponds to "you guys", like "y'all" or vosotros or ustedes in Spanish.
That's interesting, 'youse' or 'yiz' is very urban Scottish, eps. Glaswegian.
 

michael

Bring out the vacuum
^ "Yous" is also a stereotypically Māori English thing in New Zealand, presumably because Māori has singular and plural equivalents to "you".

Not sure how well known it is, but English used to have singular "thou" and plural "you", just like French, Spanish, etc. And you could use them for informal and formal situations too, same again.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
And a full system of gendered nouns and cases, too. English grammar used to be really complex, just like modern German is. But all kinds of factors, not least a big injection of Old Norse, caused most of that complexity to be discarded. I love all this kind of shit, should have been a linguist (as well as an anthropologist, an archaeologist and a geneticist. Damn.)
 

padraig (u.s.)

a monkey that will go ape
That's interesting, 'youse' or 'yiz' is very urban Scottish, eps. Glaswegian.
this makes perfect sense as the lineage of Appalachia is hardscrabble Scot/Irish and PGH is an Appalachian city, among other things. or, it's a totally American blend - Irish, Germans, Italians, Poles, Black people, all the different waves of people who came to work in the steel industry. but definitely w/that Appalachian overtone - not too far off in character from West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, western North Carolina, etc.

(a bit OT but it's actually a really cool city too, plus the house prices are absurdly cheap, I've thought about moving there permanently at some point).
 

aleksandr

New member
Not sure how well known it is, but English used to have singular "thou" and plural "you", just like French, Spanish, etc. And you could use them for informal and formal situations too, same again.
Still used in South Yorkshire, 'thee' and 'thy', also 'thine' (for yours). We say 'your' for (plural) you.

I think in Sheffield this is mainly confined to old people, but it's still in general usage in Barnsley.
 

WashYourHands

Well-known member
Quality thread.

Accents and performativity are weirdly relational. They are performances, but ingrained and paradoxically prone to change. Both my parents left home v young and you could nail where they were from. A friend who went to college in Kent now sounds fully native.

Experiences in the US were the shift in accents between Philly, Baltimore, DC and then southern MD and southern Virginia. An ex’s Dad was from Philly but had a fairly generic accent (ex military, so well traveled), but her Mom had a really strong Philadelphia accent and dialect. Every sentence nr enough ended in ‘hun’. She said water in a unique way too.

Met a guy from Maine, who sounded like a pure hybrid of Irish Cornish. The Carolina outer banks accent almost sounds rural English in its thickest examples here, while admittedly other sounds more southern


Moved around so much don’t really have one, but in certain company expressions like pish or owt/nowt creep into conversation. With relatives from Gwynedd they slip into Wenglish to make up for my ltd Cymraeg. They wouldn’t do it for English visitors though.
 

Leo

Well-known member
I get up in Massachusetts but lost most of my accent years ago. My family back home still says they pahk the cah in the yahd.
 

Linebaugh

Well-known member
I grew up in the south but have been often accused of being from the north east because of occasional ways I articulate. Think its all the rap music, that and NE dialect handles confrontation/dismissal/jeering really well I think, imbues it all with a bit of joviality. May have unconsciously picked it up to smooth over those social situations and soften the endless friendly jabs thrown in male relationships.

I say 'ya'll' pretty regularly, but no trace of any discernible accent for the most part.
 
Top