Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Ee bah gum is ee bah gone

Yorkshire dialect is disappearing, I tell thee. At least, that's according to a report in today's Independent which reports on a new exhibition in the Yorkshire Dales that includes results of a local survey on people's use and recognition of dialect terms.

In the article, it's made clear that the Yorkshire accent is not under threat, but that the dialect (the lexis, semantics and grammar of the regional variety) is disappearing. The blame is placed squarely at the door of new technologies and the death of traditional farming industries, by the project's author Jo Cremins: old words associated with farming implements and practices have gone the way of the farms themselves, while the spread of new technology has speeded up the spread of standardised forms of the language, especially among younger people.

This story fits into the wider discourse around what's called dialect levelling, but as we have seen from the work of linguists such as Sue Fox and Paul Kerswill, dialects are also springing up as well as dying out. So, while some varieties of Yorkshire dialect may well be fading away, largely because their users no longer seem to need them or identify with them, others - often influenced by popular culture and Caribbean and American varieties of English - are growing and spreading.

And if you want more information about Yorkshire dialect try here and on the excellent BBC Voices website here (West Yorkshire) and here (North Yorkshire).

Useful for:
ENA5 - Language Varieties

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