Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Biscuit Dialects

Students at Cambridge have developed a new App, called English Dialects, that tries to determine where you come from by your dialect. You don't need to speak into the App, but merely answer some questions for which there's a voice prompt using different dialects. Feedback is encouraged in order to fine tune the App. My result as follows:

Not too far out seeing as I was brought up predominantly in Southport, moved to Leyland, then London, Reading and finally Old Sodbury (the impact of which is negligible). Northern with a southern swing, but I registered my recording as Southport. Hay's result was even closer, although I neglected to screenshot it.

One part of the App allows you to record some phrases and upload them. Another bit lets you listen to recordings from the 1950s and 60s for various towns and cities, as well as other users' recordings. Guess the dialect would be a good party game. However, given you're asked to read a prepared script, it must surely focus more on accent than dialect.

From listening to some of the user clips, it sounds to me like regional accents are dying out in the middle classes - they've homogenised over the last 60 years. Perhaps this is down the migration patterns in seeking jobs and students going off to universities at the other end of the country. Very few of the current day recordings sound like you'd think they should, except for Wigan and Ormskirk.

Saw an advert yesterday for BelVita. It purports to be an energy-giving breakfast food providing essential carbohydrates. IT'S A BLOODY CHOCOLATE BISCUIT - ALL BISCUITS ARE CARBS! I can see the marketing people now saying; "How can we persuade those thick bastards to eat a chocolate biscuit for breakfast instead of something healthy?"

You may as well eat a McVitie's chocolate digestive and fool yourself into thinking you're eating breakfast. Things like this make me in favour of a sugar tax.

1 comment:

  1. Does it work in Scotland?