Thursday, October 27, 2011

Spray tan, fake boobs and lots of stuff that's like reem.

Paul Kerswill, top linguist and one of the team behind this blog (which has been set up to help students and teachers of A level English Language keep up with the latest research into linguistics) has written a new piece for The Sun this week about the Essex dialect and the role of  The Only Way Is Essex (TOWIE) in spreading the region's twanging tones and lovely lexicon.

He takes a look at the ways in which TOWIE has popularised the adjective reem, the phrase shuuut uuup, and various other linguistic markers such as like and yous and offers a broader perspective on the ways the Essex dialect* has changed from its rural origins to a more cockneyfied sound and vocabulary.

As a (hopefully) soon-to-be Essex resident (and current Essex teacher) I've got to be careful about what I say about the Essex dialect, but as Paul Kerswill  says in the article "As with any accent, an Essex voice evokes an image, or a stereotype, of a certain sort of person — you can fill in what sort" so I'll leave it at that.

There's some debate on The Sun's messageboard about where reem derives from (or whether it should actually be spelt ream). Any ideas?

And as a quick aside, here's a link to an article in today's Metro about an ATM in Leytonstone, East London (original cockney territory) which offers you a choice of languages: English or Cockney. So you can withdraw a Lady Godiva (£5) or a pony (£25), but count your notes as some of these cockneys are proper dodgy geezers.

Thanks to emagazine's Facebook page for the Sun link and Gabriel Ozon at UCL for the Metro one. 

*Dialect here is being used in its broader sense of lexis, semantics, grammar and phonology (so including accent as part of it).

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