Fi­nal word on what we say across Gradely Manchester

Middleton Guardian - - TRAVEL - BY LUCY LOVELL

IT is a de­bate which has gripped Greater Manchester for decades: how ex­actly do you pro­nounce the word ‘Bury’?

And a team of language ex­perts have found it is just one of dozens of words pro­nounced dif­fer­ently by res­i­dents liv­ing just a few miles apart.

From Wi­gan to Mid­dle­ton, lin­guists from Manchester Metropoli­tan Univer­sity have spent months in­ter­view­ing dozens of peo­ple to record how they pro­nounce words and also col­lect ex­pres­sions and phrases which are unique to the re­gion’s towns, vil­lages and dis­tricts.

From ‘ barm’ in Manchester, ‘lickle’ in Bolton, ‘cruck­led’ in Rochdale and ‘areet’ in Wi­gan, there’s more than meets the ear to the Greater Manchester ac­cent.

Last sum­mer, so­ci­olin­guists Dr Erin Car­rie and Dr Rob Drum­mond be­gan their tour of the en­tire city-re­gion in an ‘Ac­cent Van’ to recorded more than 100 in­ter­views with peo­ple on how they speak.

For­get the ‘Manc’ twang com­monly as­so­ci­ated with the Gal­lagher broth­ers; res­i­dents told re­searchers that it is stereo­typ­i­cal and not re­flec­tive of the rich ta­pes­try of voices across the re­gion.

And the re­searchers un­cov­ered dozens of words which were unique not just to Greater Manchester - but of­ten to par­tic­u­lar cities and towns.

Gradely (nice or good) was most heard in Tame­side, as was gin­nel-gag­gle (al­ley), but skrik­ing (cry­ing) and thessle (fire­place) was heard in Old­ham.

How­ever, pride in their re­gional ac­cent was one thing that ev­ery­one had in com­mon, re­searchers said. Dr Car­rie said: “Peo­ple seem to be re­claim­ing words that have been used nega­tively in the past.

“For ex­am­ple a girl in Rochdale said that she felt her ac­cent was com- mon and broad, but she was re­ally proud of it. “So that sense of tak­ing pride in it even if some peo­ple might see it nega­tively came through.” P ronu n c i a t i o n was another re­cur­ring is­sue - with peo­ple of­ten tak­ing great pride in how they enun­ci­ated par­tic­u­lar words. De­scrib­ing the pro­nun­ci­a­tion of the Lan­cashire town, Dr Drum­mond said: “There’s a wo­man from Bury swear­ing cat­e­gor­i­cally that it’s not Bury (to rhyme with cherry) but it’s Bury (with a more pro­nounced ‘u’ than flurry).

“You can still be a north­erner and still say Bury (to rhyme with curry),” he ex­plains.

Some peo­ple even ex­ag­ger­ate their ac­cent depend­ing on where they are, the study found.

“Some peo­ple would be down south and they found them­selves strength­en­ing and making them­selves more broad,” says Dr Drum­mond.

“And another wo­man from Bolton said she went to Lon­don and went swim­ming and she said: ‘ Two fer’t baths.’ They didn’t un­der­stand her, and she said ‘ TWO FER’T BATHS’ – she wouldn’t adapt it at all – she knew what she wanted to say.”

The re­searchers are now show­ing off their find­ings in a new ex­hi­bi­tion which launched last week in Manchester.

The Manchester Voices dis­play will be run­ning at Manchester’s Cen­tral Li­brary from to­day un­til Thurs­day, Au­gust 31.

To fol­low fu­ture de­vel­op­ments and to find out how you can add your own voice to the study, visit manch­ester­voices. org.

Dr Erin Car­rie and Dr Rob Drum­mond have been in­ves­ti­gat­ing dif­fer­ent di­alects in Greater Manchester

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