Sound and vision blog

18 August 2010

Voices of the UK - put a couple of effs in it

This is the third of our posts about Welsh recordings from the BBC Voices collection. The interview took place with a farming family in Builth Wells in Powys (formerly Brecknockshire).

In the clip below, older and younger generations talk about swearing. They have a relatively relaxed attitude to swearing  certainly more relaxed than many of the other interviews we've catalogued so far, in which we've noticed that the received idea that swearing has got worse over the generations and other variations on the theme are very common. The family point out that in the hard-working environment on the farm, a bit of effing and blinding is permitted. Have a listen to parents and son talking about it here (there is no language that would be considered offensive in the clip).

This part of Wales is quite close (about 10 miles) to the border with England, and although the speakers do "sound Welsh", their accents share some characteristics with the accents of the West of England.

If you listened to the clip above of James, the son, you may have heard an instance of 'yod drop'. This is the omission of a [j] sound that many speakers would have after the initial [f] in 'fuse', heard at 01:01 on the clip: "gramps has just got a bit of a short fuse hasn't he...".

Many British speakers would associate this pronunciation with East Anglia, and other rural areas to the north east of London. In fact, yod drop used to be a prevalent feature in many accents of British English until only a few (or a "foo") generations ago.

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