Wednesday, 18 January 2012

I is bare cool, init?

Today, in English we started our Spoken Language element of our GCSE language coursework. Now, usually hate English with a passion, I wouldn’t even think about it outside the context of our classroom, but today I was compelled to write this blog post about it. Bizarrely enough, I actually found what we were studying really quite interesting (I can’t believe I’m saying this, what has the world come to?!).

We commenced by exploring what actually is spoken language. It is not just when you have a conversation with someone or if you give speech, but then could also be an online conversation. That means that it’s anything which is intended to be said out loud first rather than written down and edited. In that aspect, I suppose my blog is spoken language, considering that I simply just write down whatever the train of thought is in my head. Some of my friends at school even mentioned today that when they read my posts, they read it with my voice in their head.

Next, we moved onto accents. People associate them with foreign people and dull (what is the opposite of funny and witty?) comedians, but everyone has an accent. Even in our class there were a variety accents, however there were a few which were most prevalent and reflective of our entire year group (all images copyright WANG)

1.       The majority of the people just have a southern estuary accent; however laziness in annunciation is common.

2.       Some people have Home Counties accents with perfect diction and speak eloquently, but are slightly audacious and arrogant. It is clear that their parents probably whipped them every night to make sure they don’t drop their T’s.

3.       Other people have been whipped by their parents to speaking in Received Pronunciation, due to peer pressure, attempt to add in slang, (such are “bare” and “allow”), thus sounding rather ridiculous.

4.       The FOBs. FOB stands for fresh off the boat, i.e. they have just moved to this country from another. Most common FOB accents in our school include American and Australian accents.

5.       A few people have a London “youth accent” in order to seem “hard”. I don’t get it either. (sorry the picture is a bit stereotypical!)

As I was writing these categories for my school, it struck me that an accent is not only the way you speak or where you come from – it can also suggest social status and stereotypes. It’s amazing how something so intrinsic can have just a prominent affect on how you are perceived to be like. However, this is not always a negative; everyone has their own unique accent and style which is almost like a vocal fingerprint. The English language is constantly developing and accents can often offer meaning beyond just the letters. If everyone had to speak in RP, what a monotonous world it would be.  I think regional accents provide personality.

So, what category do I fit in?

Being a BBC (British born Chinese), my parents hardly ever communicate to me in English, thus they would not have influenced my accent in anyway. This must mean that my accent has been mostly affected by my schooling.

1.       I always drop my T’s, probably because almost everyone around here does. After our English teacher pointed this out, I attempted to perfectly pronounce my T’s, but in the end, I thought I sounded slightly silly.
2.       I used to always say “f”, when it’s supposed to be “th”. For example, I used say “f”ursday, instead of “th”ursdays, probably because this is a trade mark of being brought up in “emel. I remember my sister always used to tease me about it, so I tried to change it. Another reason could be because, in the Chinese language (Mandarin), there is no “th” sound at all, so I probably grew up not using it in both languages, since it wasn’t used in one. I still find it slightly hard to pronounce to this day and sometimes the devilish “f” does still creep in out of habit.

So yes, in conclusion, I believe that spoken language is something which should equate to more than a measly 10% of a GCSE. The way you speak/talk is just so imperative to every walk of life – that is unless you decide to move to another country and never utter another word in English ever again. Apart from grades and what is written down on your CV, the second most important factor when in an interview situation is the way you converse and portray/sell yourself with your words. Therefore, English teachers, I think you should teach us less about pointless poetry and make us write fewer critical essays, and teach us the skills that will be invaluable all throughout our life.

Here is a hilarious video of this one guy attempting 24 English accents. By the way, it contains lots of swearing.

Wow, I can’t believe I wrote an entire post about English.

“F”anks for reading!

Rebecca x

P.S. I am planning to blog every other day this month! So far, I have managed to stick to this goal, and it’s something I really do want to keep to throughout the year, so check back regularly for more content!
P.P.S. I have far too much fun using MS paint...


  1. Your paint skills are second to none xD

  2. ah cheers Wandi, it was quite fun drawing them! My touchpad on my laptop wasn't working properly, so i had to use my actual mouse, which is way harder, so they're not as good as they could be! :)

  3. i is bare cool init
    i am bare cool........................XD

  4. ahaha, okay, I'll change that immediately! BTW who is this :)?

  5. Might wanna add blud at the end......

  6. ahah, its only suppose to be a posh person trying to use slang, it doesnt have to be 100% correct!!! ;) hmm guan guan wonder who it is...

  7. Im from Hackney in London u don't no me

  8. Replies
    1. thanks! Just had a look at your blog, your photographs are so amazing, plus your hair is pretty awesome! :)


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