The EastEnders Expansion: Are Glasgow’s mockney children disloyal or just culturally immersed?

Changing your accent isn't an affectation - it reflects the truth of the world you live in

Share

This must be how the Emperor Domitian felt when news reached him of the Roman army’s victory over the Caledonians. According to linguistic experts at Leicester University, my people (the mockney media London types) have successfully extended our cultural empire beyond the Scottish border, thanks to EastEnders. Glaswegian fans of the BBC soap are now saying “fink” instead of “think” and using  a vowel sound like that in “good” in place of the “i” in words like “milk”. Operation Faaahmly can be counted a resounding success.

The parents of those primary-age Glaswegians who now  talk like Phil Mitchell are probably less pleased, and with good reason. In this country, accents are the record of where we come from, both geographically and socially, so an accent that changes at best justifies ridicule and at worst evidences an outright betrayal of your roots. Although, as this research also shows, an evolving accent is less likely to be conscious affectation, than an unconscious reflection of the world around us.

My new Scottish siblings-in-soap might be interested to note, for instance, that the accents in Albert Square aren’t really reflective of how people talk in the contemporary East End. Another piece of recent academic research revealed that the true cockney accent has long since migrated to Essex. When I was growing up, the dialect in my native borough was a Caribbean-inflected cockney my dad (a displaced Geordie) waggishly referred to as “Jafaican”. But since the area was home to a significant community of second, third and fourth generation Caribbean immigrants, there’s nothing “fake” about a dialect which reflects that.

What’s true of a region’s accent is also true of an individual’s. Most of us unconsciously modify our speech patterns to suit the situation. You might have a posher telephone voice, for instance, or vowels that get a little shorter with each northbound mile on the M6. And if you don’t, does that mark you as a laudably loyal local? Or just a bit culturally deaf?

Tweets, mics: plus ça change

Oopsie! Newsnight editor Ian Katz, is the latest high-profile somebody to confuse the fundamentally public forum Twitter, with the privacy of his living room. In a since-deleted tweet, he called Labour MP and Newsnight guest  Rachel Reeves “boring snoring”.

In Katz’s defence, while Twitter might not be the best place, workers do need a space to let the professional mask slip. Waitresses have the kitchen, office workers internal email, and even MPs have been known to express a geniune opinion or two. Speaking of which, Labour’s spin team may want to stop drafting apology demands to Katz and reflect on the time Gordon Brown was recorded calling a voter a “bigoted woman”. Microphone on/off switches, much like Twitter buttons, can be incredibly fiddly. 

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Recruitment Genius: HVAC & Mechanical Service Estimator

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Yorkshire based firm looking to...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Michael Brown was shot and killed by police in August  

Ferguson: The sad truth is that Michael Brown was killed because he was a black man

Bonnie Greer
A protestor poses for a  

Ferguson verdict: This isn't a 'tragedy'. This is part of a long-running genocide of black men in America

Otamere Guobadia
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital
In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty