Opinion: I can speak posh if I need to but I’m happier talking proper

Sidney Grapes, famous for his Boy John letters, was an amateur Norfolk comedian proud of his dialect. Sidney Grapes, famous for his Boy John letters, was an amateur Norfolk comedian proud of his dialect.

Saturday, July 12, 2014
3:13 PM

Sometimes, the truth hurts. So if you are easily offended, go now to another page.

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Though it is painful for a proud Norfolk boy to admit it, our regional accent can make us sound a bit slow.

Just ask people from outside Norfolk to tune into Canary Call after a Norwich City match, and ask them what they think.

The same goes for accents from the Midlands and the West Country.

The Essex accent can make people sound like wide boys, and the Liverpool accent doesn’t always elicit trust.

It is wrong that we should draw such lazy conclusions simply from hearing a person speak. But we do.

And, as some recent research has found, many of us are painfully aware of the effect that our accent can have on our prospects and social status. So we adapt how we speak to the circumstances that we face.

In job interviews, meetings with “important” people and at those tiresome small talk and canapés events, I shamefully suppress my Norfolk accent. But down the pub with my friends or when playing football, I’m “proper”.

Thankfully, TV and radio have moved away from the obligatory BBC English of past decades. Regional accents abound.

Hopefully, it heralds the dawning of an age where what we say matters, but the accent in which we say it does not.

Until then, I’ll continue to be a hypocrite.

And you’ll be able to work out exactly where I rank you in the social hierarchy by the accent I use in conversation.

6 comments

  • One of the reasons the Norfolk accent makes people sound slow is because rather than pronouncing words a particular way, people with this accent completely misuse words. Examples : 'do' for 'does' "He do like chips", 'go' for 'goes' "She go to Aldi every week" and so on. It sounds uneducated rather than simply the words being pronounced differently.

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    GoodRockinDaddy

    Monday, July 14, 2014

  • "do wot ole beauty" thass a pic a that ere phil tuffnel bloke dint know he was from norfolk

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    trev

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

  • Of course the indigenous population is a bit slow, it's the oh so straight family trees, lead water pipes and aluminium saucepans!

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    peter waller

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

  • Our accent only makes us sound slow because of the myths perpetuated by the media. I fail to see how the accent of the county which was at the forefront of banking and insurance , the Agrarian revolution ,home of the first Prime Minister, Thomas Paine and Nelson and was once one of the most wealthy and influential counties in the country should be thought slow. It is only the domination, in earlier times, of politics by those with an Eton drawl, or Oxford accent-themselves a form of dialect- and the aping of the same by urban middle classes to develop RP , which consigns all other accents to contempt. Distant relatives visiting from Oz thought we all sounded American, distant relatives visiting from the USA thought we all sounded Oz.Maybe some hint there that perhaps the Norfolk accent is most like the one heard all over southern England when emigrants were sailing off( or being sent...) to the colonies. This is not about dialect, it is about accent And if the BBC can be totally top heavy with Scots accents, I see no reason why all English accents should not be heard too. Maybe that would break down the prejudices.

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    Daisy Roots

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

  • …..mr mayhem....Thas the truble with you foriners.....cant understand proper talk....if you came here in the 80s, you must be a right toffee nosed git....it dont usually take 30 odd years for someone to be accepted round here....This is Norfolk....the centre of the universe...and there must be sumthin thas kept you here...Lah de Dah!!! ….Turn your brain on...done by tuggin at your left ear and taking you fingers out of your nose!!!.....Blimey I see you have offended Archie and had the plug pulled!.....Thas sumthin we all have in common!..... Common Archie give the nincompoop a chance!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

  • Assa rummun innit? - Thet dorn't matter whut ol' skwit yew rite - thass them ol' compewters an' lug-ache fones whut orn't lettus tork proper! WTF an' L8R's???

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    AssaRummunInnit?

    Saturday, July 12, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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