What is accent? What kind of accent do you have? How are issues such as gender, age, ethnicity, social class revealed through people’s accent?
Explain how and why accent is represented in this quote:
“And ‘a can play the peanner, so ’tis said. Can play so clever that ‘a can make a psalm tune sound as well as the merriest loose song a man can wish for.”
“D’ye tell o’t! A happy time for us, and I feel quite a new man! And how do she pay?” (Hardy, 2016, p. 65)
Noun. A distinctive way of pronouncing a language, especially one associated with a particular country, area, or social class.
Accent is the way people pronounce their words and is not to be confused with dialect which is the distinctive words and syntax that people use within local areas.
Students love listening to recording of different accents and discussing what they reveal about the speaker.
Written language really struggles to represent accent, very few writers have succeeded in representing it faithfully without creating unintentional or intentional comedy. Thomas Hardy who grew up in rural Dorset was one of the few writers who succeeded in revealing the accent of his local speakers without representing them as stupid figures of fun.
Tom Leonard’s this is the news is a great starting point for discussing accent and power. At the time of writing, the poem is quoted on this blog with an informative commentary about it: https://s2mskirkwood.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/six-oclock-news-by-tom-leonard/
Linguists represent accent using the International Phonetic Alphabet: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Phonetic_Alphabet