----- Original Message -----
From: "John Wood" <[log in to unmask]>
> Mike Weatherley says, "to paraphrase the Jesuits: the region in which
> someone grows up until the age of five will dictate their accent."
> It ain't necessarily so. For example...
Ah, but it is, John...... *at the age of five*. If you read it carefully,
I didn't continue that paraphrase of what the Jesuits say to
include the ultimate statement: ".....for life." What I was saying is
that, at such a young and impressionable age, we aren't free
simply to 'choose our own accent'. It's chosen for us by our
environment (the majority accent around us). Though, sadly,
these days the environment often includes the T.V. (and kids
are more likely to copy the speech of Snoop Doggy Dog
from the telly than Trevor McDonald......)
> I am currently working with someone who was born and brought up in
> Lincolnshire but you wouldn't know it to talk to him, he sounds completely
> local to this area.
That's absolutely right. If somebody moves to another region
(where the majority accent is something else) then that new
environment may modify their native accent. In fact, by this
process, we are seeing that it precisely is our environment
which affects our accent (unless we make a determined effort
to resist it). Consequently, if you move into a region
where the accent is radically different to yours, you may
actually find yourself unconsciously adopting this new
accent in part, and thereby contributing to the preservation
of that particular regional accent for future generations
brought up in that area :o)
> We also have a girl here in Cromarty, now a teenager,
> born and bred here of Liverpudlian parents who has lived here all her life
> but has a strong Liverpool accent!
Well there you go. Maybe she has a strong bond with her
parents, or spends a lot of time indoors. But her environment
(or 'micro-region' if you like) obviously includes two
Liverpudlians (who haven't lost their accents?).
> More interestingly there are other children here who spoke with middle
> English accents until they got to about 10 or 11 then started adopting a
> local accent through peer pressure.
That's true. The tug-of-war going on between the accent
spoken at home and that in 'the street', both of which
constituting their environment. No wonder the poor kids
are so confused :o) I'll admit that my previous example was
a little simplified; but it was based on a uniformity of
accent among one's interlocutors. Individuals' circumstances
do, of course, vary. The main point was, though, that if you
are born in one region you won't grow up speaking with
the accent of a completely different region spontaneously.
There has to be an environmetal cue to cause the adoption
of one accent over another. So yes, accents are indeed
linked to geographical regions (if they are indeed linked
to anything at all, that is). Wasn't that the question that
was originally asked?
Mike (whose ancestors were part Scots - d'ye no ken
the McWeatherleys of Auchermuchtie?:o)