Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The bloke next to me on the bus was talking very loud French into his téléphone cellulaire. He shrugged and gesticulated as only a Monsieur could - and, as he signalled the word 'gauche', he nearly knocked me off my seat.

The Chinese girl behind me shouted loud, consonant free Chinese into her
手机, as a giggling gaggle of Somali girls squealed and screamed in Somali (?) while they climbed to the top deck.

None of this is unusual in Manchester and I walked down Market Street to the usual background of Spanish Polish Russian Punjabi Arabic Guajarati etc.

But nothing prepared me for what I was to hear in Debenham's later.

Mum to small son:

"Ok Geezer. Yer not avin ennyfink coz yer won't wait nor nuffink. Lor' luv a duck! Just keep yaaahr norf an' sowf shut . Know what I mean. Nuff said yeah?

(O.K. I exaggerate a little but at least I didn't mention a J Arthur.)

A cockernee in Manchester?
Previously unheard of.

Then it occurred to me that some of my blogging pals are from the deep South. Do Geoff, Rog, Dave, NiC
and Scarlet all put batter on their bread instead of on their fish?

And is anyone saying ‘Hoots Mon’, ‘Why aye Man’ or ‘Golly Gosh’ as they read this post?




Blogger garfer said...

Don't Manucunians say 'Fook off, we love our Mam. Coom on if yer think yer hard enuff!' all the time?

I know the mono browed Gallagher brothers do.

5:35 pm  
Blogger MJ said...

*watches from abroad with interest, eh?*

5:37 pm  
Blogger Rog said...

oye kaz wotchoo fink ure taykin ver piss offov?

Actually yer cockernee-mockernee accent is the most disgusting thing in the World and all exponents of it should be sent to elocution lessons. Or shot.

5:45 pm  
Blogger savannah said...

*joining mj and watching from across the pond, bless yore heart, sugar* xoxox

5:51 pm  
Blogger Mr London Street said...

Cockneys, like cockroaches, get everywhere and will survive us all.

Nice blog!

6:30 pm  
Blogger Pete said...

you have my sympathies, its a horrid accent.

6:50 pm  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

*sidles up beside MJ and Savannah to watch the accent antics*

7:13 pm  
Blogger Liz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:32 pm  
Blogger Liz said...

I'm not sure how you would describe my accent; sort of Lincolnshire crossed with Suffolk and when I have been visiting my brother in the midlands, I usually pick up a bit of Brummie.

7:32 pm  
Blogger Steve said...

Yow've got it all wrong, me duck, some of us ant go now accent at all actuall-aye.

8:00 pm  
Blogger Geoff said...

An Arsenal fan once told me about some fellow supporters' anticipation of a spot of bovver:-

"E R E, E A R!"

(Here you are, Ian old chap. Here are those blighters!)

Only those born within the sound of Bow Bells are the true cockernees. And Dick Van Dyke, of course.

The Medway accent is the worst in Britain according to a woman I work with. I'm not going to argue with her or she'll kick me fackin' teef in.

Sorry if this comment is full of violence but it's all we know.

8:07 pm  
Blogger Mr London Street said...

Liz, which bit of a Brummie do you pick up? It sounds sinister.

8:10 pm  
Blogger MJ said...

Geoff: Dick Van Dyke is penning his autobiography as we speak.

Perhaps it will be right up there with the likes of Bill Bryson's.

8:12 pm  
Blogger xl said...

[Joins MJ, Ponita, Savanah for ring-side seat. Worries if they will make fun of my Texas accent.]

8:30 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

The Manc accent is awful (e.g. Terry Christian).
Mine's more Lancashire - eeh bah gum!

Does canada have a Deep South?

If there's one thing we were always taykin ver piss offov it was kids who had elocution lessons.
Best just to shoot the buggers.

Now 'yore' really from the Deep South - ain't blogging wonderful eh?

Hello Mr London Street:
I'm worried now - do you think my cockernee in Manchester was the start of an invasion?

I suspect you batter your bread as well.

8:39 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

What a lovely sight - you three girls curled up on the sofa - Hold on I'll just refresh your G &Ts.

Brummie is impossible not to imitate.
I used to watch that Beryl Reid Marlene sketch and would be a Brummie for the rest of the day.

Midlands? Wolverhampton?

Sorry - I had to google Medway - now I know where it is I can avoid avin me fackin teef kicked in.
Phew. Respect!

Mr London Street:
That Liz - obviously no better than she should be :)

Naah - you'd never see Bill Bryson singing "Chim Chim Cher-ee".

Sounds like you'll be having a fine time.
Did we make fun of JR?
er ... well perhaps?

8:42 pm  
Blogger tony said...

Dobry wieczor thow nose.......

8:47 pm  
Blogger Mr London Street said...

They're too busy invading Magaluf to bother with Manchester, don't you worry.

9:13 pm  
Blogger Liz said...

Kaz; I know what you mean about the Brummie accent. Do you remember a kids TV programme called Pipkins from the late 70s? It featured a neurotic hare called Hartley and a pig with a Brummie accent. Me and my Mum and brother always used to talk like Pig after Pipkins had been on.

9:26 pm  
Blogger Kevin Musgrove said...

"The Manc accent is awful" -!?!
Terry Christian's just got one of those leery character voices (the Manc equivalent of Mockney). I reckon we were born half a mile apart, it could be a thousand. The North Manc "ogh" (as in Manchestogh) seemed to have migrated south in the mean time.

10:39 pm  
Blogger Mopsa said...

La-di-dah! Coming from London I was called "that posh tart" when I worked in the Midlands. So why did the people in "the big house" think I was a skivvy? More to do with the clothes (old, tatty, muddy) than the voice I reckon.

11:13 pm  
Blogger Arabella said...

I place Steve on the Warley/Halesowen border when there's a southerly blowing.

I thought I gave up watching Dr Who when I tired of Mr Tennant acting with his eyebrows (down = angry Doctor, up = happy Doctor)but really it was all those teenagers with matching accents. Don't casting agents ever visit northern stage schools?

11:18 pm  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

Kaz, Canada has Newfoundland... you can probably understand those East Coasters better than those of us from Western Canada. I work with one at the hospital (he's a patient) - between his thick Newfie accent, mumbling monotonally without his dentures, and a beard that rivals the guys from ZZ Top, it's a wonder anyone ever understands a word he says!

@XL: I lived in Texas for two years... I can fake a half decent Texas twang! ;-)

12:40 am  
Blogger Dave said...

When I lived in Lincolnshire, staff in the office used to criticise my posh southern accent. When I'm tired I find I slip back to my Norf Ken' (Graysen') accent, particularly missing the odd le'er.

7:21 am  
Blogger Steve said...

Yow've - Midlands/Wolverhampton both.

7:25 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

I know you speak my language (not the Polish) 'cos I've seen the video.

Mr London:
Are you sure?
The Manchester climate is so much better.

I missed that one - but You Tube just obliged.
I love the Hare - he looks like he came from a jumble sale.

When I first started teaching in Manchester I was amazed to hear an Asian girl introduce herself as Gee'ogh (Geeta).
It's so different from the traditional Lancashire.

We Northeners equate 'posh' with anyone who doesn't use flat vowel sounds.
La - di - dah? Do you remember Annie Hall saying that?

9:28 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

The Midlands is a bit of a mystery to me.
If you go to a northern stage school - you get Coronation St. If you're lucky.
The North South divide is alive and well.

If you compare the size of Britain and Canada you might think we were all too close together to have a communication problem. No wonder you have probs with your Newfie.

You can be Sue Ellen to XL's JR.

In both accents you'd have a baaaaath I presume. So it's all posh to me.
Does Rog speak 'Norf Ken' as well?

Not a very pretty sound is it?

9:29 am  
Anonymous NiC said...

Heh, heh...excellent polyglot community you have there Kaz.....sorry about the cockernees spoiling it.

Sorry to disappoint you about my accent though. London's been home for over half my life now and if both my ears worked properly I might even be able to hear Bow Bells but though there may be the occasional dropped consonant I'm afraid I've retained my home counties accent. Though of course that means I don't really have an accent ;)

9:58 am  
Blogger Mr London Street said...

Cockneys prefer Magaluf because it's easier to get the foreign lifestyle, by which I mean a freshly printed copy of the Sun and chicken and chips for 3 euros.

12:06 pm  
Blogger Scarlet-Blue said...

My mum was born within the sound of the Bow Bells... and then migrated to North Kent.
*Smacks Mr London Street around the head with a copy of The Independent, then has a tantrum before heading south for a bucket of jellied eels*

1:27 pm  
Blogger Mr London Street said...

Scarlet-Blue - Please don't hit me with the Independent. It's far too po faced for me. Plus I already have a copy. Shall we roll them up and fence?

Oh, and what do you mean by North Kent? Because Medway is even worse than the East End.

1:59 pm  
Blogger zIggI said...

here at leat we rhyme the grass with our arse not a donkey

2:41 pm  
Blogger Wendy said...

No accents like this where I am, but we have some equally horrid ones I can assure you!

2:42 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

'Home Counties' always makes me think of the Home Service and those traditional English values to which we should all aspire.
Hope you can live up to all this NiC.

Mr London:
And you didn't mention the laaager.

It's all dahn sahf to me.
*Kaz administers first aid before eating a plate of hotpot and an eccles cake*.

Mr London:
I'll leave you and Scarlet to fight this one out.

Not the way I say arse you don't :)

Hello Wendy:
Equally horrid and many more of them I'm sure.

3:30 pm  
Blogger Scarlet-Blue said...

We have hard 'Rs' here...
Luckily I was nearer to Dartford than Chatham.

8:30 pm  
Blogger Madame DeFarge said...

Kaz - I am indeed saying 'jings, crivens, helpmabob' as befits a Glaswegian girl. I am a walking glottal stop.

10:07 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Hard R as in arse?

Helpmabob - you made that up!
Sounds like something from The Waltons.

4:19 am  
Blogger zIggI said...

what were you doing up at 4:19am Kaz?

11:52 am  
Blogger zIggI said...

this idling's harder than it looks isn't it?


what shall I do now?

11:53 am  
Blogger Betty said...

Having migrated to Saaaaaaaaarff Laaaaaaahndan from Staffordshire, I've now given up trying to explain to locals that I'm not a Brummie, because they'll still convince themselves I'm a Brummie. I usually have to have a translator on hand because people from Saaaaaaaaarff Laaaaaaahndan only understand other people from Saaaaaaaaarff Laaaaaaahndan.

3:13 pm  
Blogger Istvanski said...

A cockernee in Manchester?
Must've been a tourist - you've heard of Cockney Reds haven't you?

4:25 pm  
Anonymous NiC said...

I'm doing my best Kaz.....doing my best.

6:30 pm  
Blogger Donn Coppens said...

Blimey you're really opened up a can of worms here eh?

As a blissfully ignorant lad growing up in the Colonies I was only aware of 3 types of British Anglysche.

The Lower class street cockney spoken by Lizer Doolittle and Poppin's Bert. I do so enjoy exchanging the th's for f's.

Secondlt there was the angst ridden BBC proper from Newsreels "Tis is BBC London calling Mawltah!"

I suspected that the vast majority of English people spoke the Upper Clawhss posh twittering of the Royal Germans in Buckingham.
Yes, quite.

My Word! I wasn't aware that this was such a big to-do? So much for my dream of having Inglush as the one universal langwidge on Earth.

7:14 pm  
Blogger KAZ said...

Not much gets past you does it?

Ziggi 2:
Idling demands 100% commitment and fitness.
You're just a part timer who is not well.

It must be a nightmare for you having lived amongst aliens for so long!
I've always lived up North - but when I was in Sheffield my Chorley vowels were mocked mercilessly.

Cockney Reds seem to be universally hated!
The younger ones often apply to Manchester Universities and pollute our language and culture.
One of them has even married my friend's son.

Splendid ! Top hole!
England expects and all that!

England is still class ridden and divided by accents and dialect.
A city like Manchester has many different accents - all frowned upon by the establishment. And we're just down the road from Liverpool where they are unintelligible. (N.B The Beatles spoke posh Scouse.)
But to get on in UK you still need the BBC vowels.

8:05 pm  
Blogger zIggI said...

I can't afford it either Kaz, the urge to order stuff on-line is overwhelming - if another little parcel arrives I shall be divorced as well as broke and broken!

Still Amazon must love me!

11:24 am  
Blogger KAZ said...

You must start selling those free range eggs.
I'll take a dozen to help you out.

4:27 pm  

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