Letter: Dialectics

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Sir: The controversy surrounding the removal of northern English accents from the characters Wallace and Gromit to those of Middle England in order that foreign students can more easily learn English from them, shows a fundamental misunderstanding of language ("Cracking northern accent, Gromit", 3 August). In fact French and Spanish students have expressed a view to me that English spoken with a light regional accent is easier to understand than so-called standard English because the vowel sounds are fully spoken in such regional accents.

The suppression of vowel sounds in establishment English is an apparent attempt to distinguish English from its German and French roots. This had the comical effect during the recent World Cup of a television commentator declaring that the Geordie accent from Tyneside as being indecipherable, when in reality this dialect is one of the forms of English least adulterated by the influence of Norman French.

The unfortunate result of this cosseting of the English language is that it is often claimed that English people are arrogant towards other languages, when in reality they find the uninhibited speech of other languages exaggerated and comical.



South Wales