Black Country spakers wanted for research project

First published in Local
Last updated

A BLACK Country-born phonetics lecturer based in France is appealing to people who spake the local dialect to get in touch so he can record their accents for posterity.

Dr Steven Moore, who works in the English department at the University of Toulouse 2 in France, gives classes on phonology and phonetics - and as part of an international research project into spoken English across the world he wants to record examples of the Black Country accent to create a lasting record.

Dr Moore, who grew up in Halesowen and studied at the old Halesowen Grammar School – now Earls High, said: “I have colleagues working on varieties of English all over the world.

“I chose to work on Black Country English because as I've come back to the Black Country over the years to visit family and friends I've realised the language I heard when I was a child is becoming rarer and rarer, and I felt it was important to leave a permanent record for future generations of how English was spoken in the Black Country in the past.”

He added: "I am anxious to record as many Black Country speakers as possible of all ages.

“I already have 20 recordings, and need at least another 20 to make the survey one that scientifically holds water.”

The recordings, Dr Moore said, would form part of a research programme called Phonology of Contemporary English – the aim of which “is to record people from all over the world in exactly the same way, which gives us data enabling us to make easy comparisons between particular varieties of spoken English”.

He added: “The recording sessions involve reading two short lists of words, and a short passage of English, and then having a conversation with the person making the recording, or with another Black Country speaker. All recordings remain completely anonymous.”

Anyone interested in having their Black Country accent preserved for future generations to hear can contact Dr Moore emailing or calling 0033 631 322909.

Dr Moore, who will be back in the Black Country later this month, said: “I will ring anyone contacting me back immediately.”

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