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Make fun with, not of our Black Country language

By Black Country Bugle  |  Posted: January 28, 2014

By Ken Allen

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EIGHTY years ago when I was a pupil at Halesowen Church of England school, the lady teacher told us to 'speak English properly and not broadly' - in other words cut out the 'yoes, I ay's, yoe cor's' and so on.

It never worked, and while we did our best in the school room, it was another matter in the playground, at work, in the cinema, at home etc. We spoke like our parents did, as we were brought up: that was our English.

It still happens at the markets. The supposedly 'English' language is now made up of so many other countries' words and phrases that even BC is tainted. We suffer from the Romans, the Vikings, the French, and every other country in Europe. The BC was mainly Mercia and Anglo-Saxon and spelling - if one could be literate and write - was used as a sound-board and jotted down as such. The Black Country area covers more than one county but basically it is its own county of once-black industries, but since most of these have gone, the 'twang' lives on. Folk songs and poems abound while 'Aynuk and Ayli' (Enoch and Eli) jokes still get big 'loffs' (laughs) though these, in proper English, wouldn't get the same reception at all.

It seems strange, but the BC speech lends itself to comedy, and within its confines it is readily understood. It is a waste of time taking it apart and trying to explain it. It is unique in as much that its Anglo Saxon beginnings are still being used. I say be happy, it is still with us and keep away from dissecting it. Make fun with it, not of it.

Ken Allen,

10 Beech Road, Tividale.

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