Saturday, June 05, 2004

And now for something very daft...

Oh, once more, I must sing a hymn of glorious praise to the wonders of technology. I would like to read a serious newspaper every day, but I don't - well, except at the weekend, when I read it cover to cover. But it is, of course, important for a citizen of the world to keep abreast of current affairs and so The Guardian's email news service "The Wrap" is perfect. This is a 1000 word summary of the key stories from across the full range of daily newspapers - not too much, not too little, and links to the full stories if you want to read more.

But the best thing about "The Wrap" is that the journalists who compile it have an excellent sense of the quirky wit of their audience, and therefore include some of the funnier items from the red tops. And so, this week, I am able to bring you the story from The Sun of the latest research into the regional accents of Britain's duck population. Yep, you read it right the first time - Britain's ducks!!

What is interesting, in a mildly surreal way, is that in the human population there is considerable research evidence to suggest that accents and dialects are "levelling". That is, the differences between them are becoming less significant. There is much debate about whether Estuary English is replacing Received Pronunciation as the powerful spoken variety of English. Yet none of these debates are explored in relation to ducks!

Check out the link to The Sun, check out the link to Paul Kerswill's discussion of accent and dialect issues on Andrew Moore's website, then come back and tell me this:

Will the ducks of the future be quacking in Estuary English or not?........

Duck quack has an accent

The following link will take you to Andrew Moore's homepage. Once there, click on English Language A Level at the top; then click on Language and Society at the top; then click on "go to paper on dialect levelling and received pronunciation by Paul Kerswill"

Dialect levelling and Received Pronunciation


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