Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"Cherryvelley" is alive and waaaal

Have you noticed how the accents of most Northern Ireland broadcasters are far more Anglified than ever before? What was once a James Young joke about the posh people of "Cherryvalley" is slowly becoming an everyday experience on the local media. Maybe it's just that I'm longer in the tooth now and tend to notice these things, but (and I'm doing my best not to name names and get into trouble) there are particular local broadcasters who nowadays sound far more English than I ever remember before.

Now, as many of you know, my wife is English, and "being convinced" of the merits of Unionism (I hope you picked up the source of that reference in bold), I have absolutely no problem with English people speaking with English accents. Or Northern Ireland folk who have spent time away from here and return with a hybrid accent. What gets my goat is Northern Ireland folk denying their own roots and pretending to be English, or even Anglo-Irish, in their speech. Fiona touched on similar themes in this recent post on her blog.

How-now-brown-cow, softened "r"s, "eight" being pronounced as "ayt" instead of "ee-it", even a simple inoffensive word like "well" has the vowel softened to become a kind of "waaaal"... just listen to your radio and tv tomorrow, particularly the current affairs coverage, and you'll hear loads of examples of this. The vast majority of Northern Ireland folk I know don't talk like this, so why do broadcasters feel that they need to?

Perhaps it's a sign of a major class divide? Does everyone who lives in a posh place speak with a posh accent? Does it come as a package along with the three cars, the Donegal weekend hideaway and the annual holiday in Tuscany / Lake Garda / this year's fashionable destination?

If it's not okay to speak with a fairly standard Northern Ireland accent (I know there are varieties within Northern Ireland, but you know rightly what I'm generally talking about) then what chance is there for the next generation to ever hear, or feel a fondness for, the simplest elements of Ulster-Scots vocabulary and speech? When did you last hear "Aye" for yes or "wee" for little on mainstream UTV or BBC programmes - except from listeners who had phoned the show and were on air?

Sim leowcahl broadcahstaahs seem to think thet they operayte on a raatha highaa playne then the rist of us meeah moahtils. Here's a similar post from 18 months ago.