More Regional Accents Please

There’s an article by Alison Graham in this week’s Radio Times about regional accents in the media. She thinks that you need to ditch your accent (as she has done) otherwise you will alienate the audience. The piece is a riposte to a recent one by business correspondent Stephanie McGovern in defence of her own northern accent, and I profoundly disagree with it.

I want to see more regional accents on the media, not less. They are one of the things that gives the English language richness and colour, and the media should reflect this. It should not be promoting a homogeneous dumbed down version of RP, or worse, the now seemingly ubiquitous “mockney”. If you have a coarse accent you will be judged by your audience says Ms Graham. Well, that says rather more about the audience (and Ms Graham). To label an accent “coarse” is not only lazy, it’s insulting. Who says it is? That, surely, is in the ear of the beholder. Statements like this also demonstrate an ignorance and snobbery that people should be educated out of, as well as a southern bias. If such accents are disliked by folks “darn sarf”, I would retort as follows: their own accent is hardly melodious, and I fail to see why the media should pander to it. And the cause is done no good at all by northerners like Ms Graham ditching their accent the moment they come south. More power to you Stephanie!



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One Response to “More Regional Accents Please”

  1. David Martin Says:

    No one would doubt that Alison Graham’s comment says more about the audience. That is the point. If communicating is the aim, too many will always not hear or not listen. You won’t change that by promoting the accent as an act of PC, no matter how laudable the intention or wrong-headed the prejudice. I think Alison Graham was both right and brave to say it.

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