Hello there. Hope you’re feeling well today.Firstly an apology. I said in a recent post that Wales Scotland in this year’s Six Nations fixture was going to be played in Cardiff. Well I honestly thought this was the case but I was wrong. It’s being played in Edinburgh. As regular readers know I’m never afraid to reveal when I’ve made a mistake and that was the case here.
But as mistakes go…..
Yesterday something very odd happened at work. It was about six thirty in the evening. I was chatting to an Englishman I’d never met before and he asked me whether I knew the result of the Wales England Six Nations game. Politely I gave him a look and an explanation which the subtext was “I’m here working how do you expect me to know the result of the game?”
He said he wouldn’t tell me not to spoil it later. That was kind of him but given that International rugby is something I let wash over me I asked what the result was.
“Well..” he said “Your team won…”
And for a moment I was stunned. The guy had listened to my voice and had thought I was Welsh. He was the one stunned when I subsequently told him I was born in the East End of London.
It left me intrigued. After all whilst I must admit that morning I’d caught myself saying “Cerdiff” my accent though not East End is unquestionably still English. Or so I thought.
On asking the wife she (after trying and failing to contain her laughter) told me it was still English. So how could it have been confused?
I have a theory, no more than that, but here goes…..
To my ears my accent is English.
To Welsh ears my accent is English.
To English ears when I’m in England my accent is English.
To English ears who are living in Wales my accent is English.
But to English ears who are visiting Wales my accent is Welsh.
Not full on “We keep a welcome in the hillsides” Welsh. But any slight intonation in my voice after twenty one years of living here is automatically assumed to mean I’m from the West side of the Geraint Thomas bridge.
It comes back to the panned BBC Wales drama Pitching In and my notion that the casting director was English living in England. For if I’m correct in that opinion (which as I’ve said before I haven’t checked because it seems like digital stalking to me) then it explains the wide variety of Welsh regional accents in a show set in a particular spot in North Wales (where it didn’t say though it was filmed in Anglesey) for the person would not hear a regional accent just a Welsh one.
And whilst I’m obviously talking generally through the prism of UK TV my ears probably have the same issue with the Scots and Irish accent as well. You hear a general Celtic accent but don’t notice a regional one.
So you would say why does it matter? Wouldn’t that be the case with regard to hearing a French accent or a German one. Well no. Because UK TV is perfectly happy to show English regional accents. As an example EastEnders and Coronation Street have clearly defined locations where the voices of most of the cast reflect that. EastEnders does not have a group of Geordies pretending to be from the East End of London and yet a Welsh drama (produced by an English company it should be noted) has accents from all over the place.
And it should be noted that through UK TV most people in England probably have a greater idea through films of American regional accents than their Celtic neighbours.
The notion then that Welsh Scottish and Irish should just have one accent each seems (again generally speaking) inbred into UKTV and action should be taken to highlight it’s differences…or just have independence and don’t give a damn what would be then English TV says.
One of the two.
Until the next time.