Tag Archives: Cockney

The Van Dyke Controversy

Disney’s 1964 Mary Poppins adaptation has been in the news lately, in light of both film’s 50th anniversary and Saving Mr. Banks, a new film about the contentious relationship between Walt Disney and Anglo-Australian “Poppins” creator P. L. Travers. Of … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 22 Comments

Vowel Shifts in English and Dutch

As I recently discussed, English shares its penchant for r-variability with other languages. This got me thinking about another dialect marker common to English and other tongues, namely what might be called the “close diphthongs.” These are vowels typically found … Continue reading

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Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

I Thought He Was Australian!

I’ve recently noticed several comments on my weeks-old Orphan Black post taking issue with my praise of lead actress Tatiana Maslany‘s “Southeast English” accent. Here’s a representative example: I’ve only just watched the first episode and presumed Sarah was meant … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , , | 14 Comments

David Beckham’s “Poshification”

Researchers from  University of Manchester recently announced that David Beckham has “poshed up” his accent since moving the the United States (pun probably intended). Given that Beckham is one of the biggest sports stars in the world, it’s fairly easy … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

Diphthong or L?

The other day, in a Philadelphia train station, I overheard a woman ask a ticket taker if a train would take her to what sounded like “Choatenham.” A moment later, I realized she had asked if the line went to … Continue reading

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Posted in American English | Tagged , , | 18 Comments

Is Rhyming Slang Irish?

An old saying goes “the Brits may have invented English, but the Irish perfected it.” Or maybe that refers to stout. Either way, there is truth to the sentiment: Ireland (besides providing the language with some of its most colorful … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

The Cockney v/w Mystery

When I think of ‘Cockney,’ my mind goes to gritty 1960′s tough guy films: Poor Cow, Get Carter, that kind of thing. That is, I imagine something like the hilarious ‘duelling Michael Caines’ from the Michael Winterbottom comedy The Trip: We … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

The ‘Near’ Monophthong or the ‘Near’ Diphthong

In non-rhotic accents, words like ‘near‘ and ‘fear‘ generally exhibit two pronunciation patterns: either a ‘centering’ diphthong (ɪə), which might crudely be transcribed ‘ih-uh;’ or as a monophthong, which is usually a lengthened version of the vowel in ‘kit‘ (ɪ:). … Continue reading

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Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , | 28 Comments

A New (Rhotic?) Dialect in New Zealand?

Needless to say, I was quite intrigued by this recent article at Stuff.co.nz about a new urban dialect spoken in South Auckland, New Zealand.  A unique type of youthful, urban speech has emerged, not dissimilar to Multicultural British English in terms of … Continue reading

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Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 21 Comments

The Englishness of H-Dropping

Longtime readers may notice that I rarely discuss h-dropping. Novices might remember this accent feature from some unfortunate community theatre production of ‘My Fair Lady‘ in which the actress playing Eliza Doolittle bleats ”enry ‘iggins!’ Systematic h-droppers drop the letter ‘h’ at … Continue reading

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Posted in British English | Tagged , , , | 36 Comments