When someone from Britain speaks, Americans hear a "British accent"...

Tom Anderson twic at urchin.earth.li
Thu Jun 30 19:48:31 CEST 2005


On Thu, 30 Jun 2005, Simon Brunning wrote:

> On 29 Jun 2005 15:34:11 -0700, Luis M. Gonzalez <luismgz at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>> What's exactly the "cockney" accent? Is it related to some place or 
>> it's just a kind of slang?
>
> The cockney accent used to be pretty distinct, but these days it's 
> pretty much merged into the "Estuary English" accent common throughout 
> the South East of England.

I grew up in Colchester, in the heart of Essex, the homeland of Estuary 
English; i was recently told by a couple of Spanish colleagues that i 
sounded just another colleague who has a Cockney accent.

Although, in fact, my parents aren't Essexen, and i left the county seven 
years ago, so my accent is weird hybrid of Estuary and RP, and the 
colleague isn't a real Cockney - i think he's from east-north-eastern 
London - but he does overcompensate pronounciation-wise, so i don't know 
what it all means.

It's also complicated by the fact that Essex actually has two completely 
different accents - the town accent, which is Estuary and is pretty much 
derived from emigrants from East London, and the country accent, which is 
indigenous, and very similar to the Suffolk and Norfolk accents. I grew up 
in a village and went to school (and went drinking etc) in the nearby 
town, so i was exposed to a different accents at different times of day!

>> I'm not sure, but I think that I read somewhere that it is common in 
>> some parts of London, and that it is a sign of a particular social 
>> class, more than a regionalism. Is that true?
>
> Cockney was London's working class accent, pretty much, thought it was
> frequently affected by members of the middle classes. Estuary English
> has taken over its position as the working class accent these days,
> but with a much wider regional distribution.

blimey guvnor you is well dahn on ar muvver tung, innit?

> How off topic is this? Marvellous!

Spike Milligan did an excellent sketch in the style of a TV 
pop-anthropology documentary visiting the strange and primitive Cockanee 
people of East London. It was part of one of his Q series; i'm not sure 
which, but if it was Q5, then it would have had a direct impact on the 
Monty Python team, since that series basically beat them to the punch with 
the format they'd planned to use, forcing them to switch to the 
stream-of-consciousness style that became their trademark and which is the 
basis for python's indentation-based block structure. Therefore, if it 
hadn't been for the quirks of the Cockney accent, we'd all be using curly 
brackets and semicolons. FACT.

tom

-- 
I know you wanna try and get away, but it's the hardest thing you'll ever know



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