Just when we were sitting pretty thinking the Yorkshire accent was elite, some smarty pants at the University of Manchester has decided that Northern accents are becoming “more similar”… At least, according to a study anyway.
Suggesting that the accents of the North of England are beginning to blend into one, Linguistics expert Dr Patrycja Strycharczuk and colleagues from the university set out on a mission to uncover whether there was such thing as ‘General Northern English’ – which is apparently what they call a general accent spoken by middle-class folk residing in the North.
Speaking of the study, Strycharczuk said: “I often hear statements like “I’m from Liverpool / Manchester / Sheffield, but I don’t have the accent” – however, there is very little systematic evidence that General Northern English really is a coherent variety, so that’s the question we asked ourselves,”
Using a fancy machine to study the accents of people from big cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and more, the results of the study found that the machine struggled to find much difference between the accents, only finding the accents of those from Liverpool and Newcastle to remain much more distinct.
The study also found that much of our traditional dialect didn’t seem to be present anymore, with most people only retaining typical characteristics of a general Northern accent – such as the shortening of words like ‘glass’ and ‘bath’ and the enunciation of vowels such as ‘O’.
Strycharczuk added: “It may seem as though local accents are dying out, but we believe we’re actually seeing a new variety becoming established – educated, urban and northern. I think its prestige has increased, and people are now less tempted to lose their accent if they’ve been to university or they do a lot of public speaking.”