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When I was at university in Swansea I had friends whop could tell which South Wales valley other students came from.

It is not just English which has dialects, of course. I remember when we were teaching English (American by the way!) in Kosovo one student saying to another "Speak to me in English. I can't understand your Albanian" - that being the local language, and like Welsh having Northern and Southern variants, the Southern variant being regarded as "correct" and taught in the schools, though that doesn't seem to affect how those in the north speak.

And on one occasion we had American friends who could not understand one of their number from the deep south - though we could.

Jonathan

PS Is there meant to be any connection between this discussion and railways? Just asking.

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Teddington is north of the river (just) and rather genteel - London & South Western territory, where they complained when Drummond gave his engines Caledonian hooters (he had to replace them with something a little more refined). I was at the station one evening over 20 years ago (grief!) when a SWT man came round to explain in person the delay to our train - held up at New Malden - "A fy' on the train". "A fire on the train?" "No, no' a fi', a fy'!" - the conversation went on like this for some minutes until it was understood that he meant a fight.

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My wife is from the north of Germany so has a major problem trying to understand anyone speaking in a Bavarian accent or, worst still, Swiss. Regional variations in dialect are the norm – just ask Professor Higgins...

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As an Australian in my 70s I find it refreshing that over the last 25 years or so we have lost the cultural cringe that we had concerning our accent. Even into the 1970s our radio and TV announcers seemed to be trained to speak in a version of that received pronunciation developed in Britain as a sort of national standard. In Australia it was quite odd because the underlying Australian accent gave it a slightly strangulated higher pitch which made it sound obviously forced and unnatural.   

 

The post war Australia that I grew up in was a period of massive immigration so I grew up with all sorts of people speaking accented English and there are now pockets of locally accented English and odd word usage spoken by the children and grand children now of the post-war migrants from all over Europe and now Asia. It's actually a good thing as it more or less killed of the strangulated accent of our take on RP.

 

Some years ago I worked with a chap who had migrated from N. Ireland and when I first worked with him I found that I could understand anything he said in his distinctive accent. In the field i was working it was not unusual for people to move around and some years later he and I were working together again and both of us had got older. I must admit that I began to find his accent then almost incomprehensible - either my hearing was changing or his accent had thickened as he got older. It was quite odd really, and a bit embarrassing because he was a very pleasant bloke and I was trying desperately not to offend him because at times I couldn't understand what he was saying. Accents are like that - to the speaker they are absolutely unnoticed and it's everyone else who speaks oddly.         

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As an Australian in my 50's I find it refreshing that I never understand what Bob Katter is going on about..

 

 

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In North Queensland it's a choice between the crocs tearing people apart or Bob Katter tearing the language apart.

 

BTW I've had personal experience of the big saltwater crocs in that part of Australia while doing archaeological surveys but on balance Katter tends to worry me more :sclerosis: 

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My other half is Greek/Canadian. You can insult a Canadian by asking "Are you American?", but strangely not the other way round. My father-in-law, also Greek/Canadian, cannot understand most British accents (especially when it suits him not to do so). Regional accents/dialects everywhere, can differ greatly in any country.

 

After living in Hampshire for the last forty-five years, I have a very developed Hampshire hog accent. When I fist settled here however, I had very little accent so was considered to 'talk posh'.

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This thread does travel doesn't it?

I'm afraid my experience is very limited and I have never encountered a salt-water crocodile.

I have seen quite widely separated (ie on quite a large head) crocodilian eyes peering above the water in a West African tidal creek.

Also, on occasion, I did blame a crocodile for cutting my anchor line, or possibly eating the anchor which was quite a small one.

But that was another story.

 

The points I was going to make before being distracted by splendid survivors of the Eocene (I had to look that up), are that:

W E Gladstone was noted as having retained a Lancashire accent in the House of Commons.

G Stephenson was accused of being 'foreign' in a committee of that institution.

 

I shall ignore the fascinations of the New Model Army (red coats and all) and must start preparations for a large tour group at Locomotion (the national Railway Museum at Shildon).

We get all kinds of accents and indeed nationalities, but no crocodiles recently even GWR ones. 

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Dr Ditch in charge of a Sunday afternoon boating expedition through crocodile-infested waters.

 

 

A9814389-2C96-4542-9E2B-DFD11AEDF501.jpeg

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My wife went to a Girls High School which had previously been a fee-paying school, where the intention was to output "Young Ladies",  so almost her first classes were Elocution, to eradicate all the local accents. They also instilled a love of singing which she still does in various choirs, religious and secular. It's a hobby more time consuming than Railway Modelling!  

Sorry... almost back on topic there!

Edited by DonB
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2 hours ago, Bill_J said:

My other half is Greek/Canadian. You can insult a Canadian by asking "Are you American?", but strangely not the other way round. My father-in-law, also Greek/Canadian, cannot understand most British accents (especially when it suits him not to do so). Regional accents/dialects everywhere, can differ greatly in any country.

 

After living in Hampshire for the last forty-five years, I have a very developed Hampshire hog accent. When I fist settled here however, I had very little accent so was considered to 'talk posh'.

I used to know a bloke who came from California. If we wanted to really wind him up, we'd call him a South Canadian.

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