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By all these lovely tokens
September days are here,
With summer’s best of weather
And autumn’s best of cheer.

Helen Hunt Jackson - September
The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

John Updike, September
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When is an accent a dialect?

mheredgemheredge TeacherHere and therePosts: 27,055 mod
It's not just languages that die off, but dialects too. Linguists tend to think of all varieties of a language as dialects. The test for whether a particular dialect constitutes a separate language or not is usually mutual intelligibility.

Where does this leave accents? These are an informal way of talking about the most obvious aspect of a dialect: the way its sounds differ from the ones we're used to.

This article explores some of the most endangered accents of English.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/may/27/endangered-accents-english-language

Comments

  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    Cockney likely to dissapear within a gen? Nooo!
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,055 mod
    I can't imagine Cockney disappearing that fast. If anything, I thought it might be spreading, given house prices in London mean many Cockneys live a long way out of hhe East End nowadays.
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    I don't think an accen't can survive if the people who speak it don't keep together.
    By the way, after reading the article I still can't answer this thread's original question.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,055 mod
    True enough @SLB. Apparently 70 odd years ago, people all over Essex spoke with an accent that's similar to the accent you might still hear in rural Suffolk. I have occasionally heard it in north Essex, in small villages there. But now most people in Essex speak with a rather indistinguishable southern home counties accent, or Cockney. Nowadays few people stay in one place for so long and many commute long distances. This is especially the case in the area around London.
  • amatsuscribbleramatsuscribbler Posts: 2,213 mod
    Do you think that television and the internet have an influence? Will we all be speaking with an American accent before long?
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭

    Do you think that television and the internet have an influence?

    Yes, definitely!

    Will we all be speaking with an American accent before long?

    No, I think ocean separation is stronger than television and media influence.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,055 mod
    God forbid @amatsuscribbler‌! But I was appalled to hear so many young Singaporeans speaking English with American accents. There, they think it's trendy.

    Thankfully in India, Indian people seem to prefer the British accent.
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    American English is much stronger all over America (continent), but I think you can find British Council teachers all around as well. At least I can find a few in my area.
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,055 mod
    American accents vary a lot too @SLB. East Coasters don't have such strong accents in general, nut some of the American accents for the southern states are hard for some Americans to understand. I have had real problems making my British English understood to Americans from New York.

    Britain has a lot of regional accents but you're less likely to hear people with very strong accents in the media. The BBC used to have a policy of only broadcasting with neutral south of England accents, but that changed in the '90s. Now you can hear regional accents, but never anything too strong.
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    I have had real problems making my British English understood to Americans from New York.

    Really? And did you have problems understanding theirs?

  • amatsuscribbleramatsuscribbler Posts: 2,213 mod
    Haha! @SLB‌ I have problems understanding some of the accents! ;)
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    It's really reassuring to hear "I have trouble understanding this or that accent" from a native speaker, @amatsuscribbler‌
  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,055 mod
    New Yorkers with Bronx accents can be quite hard @SLB, but I generally pride myself on being able to twist my ears into understanding most accents. Though sometimes American accents can defeat me!

    I find that the more accents you listen to, the easier it gets to understand people speaking with different accents. I used to find it hardest to understand Chinese and Japanese accents, but now I've become more used to them, it's not so hard.
  • SLBSLB Posts: 1,289 ✭✭✭✭
    mheredge said:

    I find that the more accents you listen to, the easier it gets to understand people speaking with different accents. I used to find it hardest to understand Chinese and Japanese accents, but now I've become more used to them, it's not so hard.

    I couldn't possibly agree more. You should always try to listen and get used to as many accents from around the world as you can, both from native speakers and from those who speak it as a second language.
    Though some people seem to be gifted and can understand virtually anyone from anywhere, even if they have never talked to them.

  • mheredgemheredge Teacher Here and therePosts: 27,055 mod
    Maybe you're right @SLB. My mother has lived in the UK now for over 50 years and though she has always been surrounded by people who have a Cockney accent, she still has problems understanding them.
This discussion has been closed.