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Impossible to speak Black Country dialect unless born into it

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: July 27, 2014

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AFTER publishing my articles on the Black Country dialect 'research' among schoolchildren I taught in the early 1960s and a further article on the silly spelling of many words such as 'orl' or 'agen', I was sad to see a paragraph on page one of The Bugle (July 10 edition) about Hill Top Library inviting people to join in with "tay and caerke".

While not a silly spelling, it was nevertheless a mistaken one.

All dialects, be it Cockney, Yorkshire, Stoke, Hereford or Black Country, have their own rules – the only way to have conformity of understanding.

We never said 'caeke' as a single syllable and one language device is called assonance – repeating the same vowel sound in successive words, albeit subconsciously.. We said 'Shut yer caeke'ole' (a command) but 'They med 'im a bostin' birthday cake, day they?' Four 'a' sounds in a row!. Another example is the Black Country pronunciation of take –'tek'. We said 'tek yer 'ook' (go away) to somebody, but nobody ever went for a 'tek away' but a 'takeaway'.

It is impossible to speak a dialect naturally, unless you were born into it. What we are reading and hearing now is a travesty – misguided people trying to recreate a dialect that was being diluted as long ago as the 1980's and is now just a shadow of its former small vocabulary self – even the intonation has been lost.

Ivor Morgan.


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