Monday, January 16, 2023

A Dialect Map of England

The University of Leeds' Dialect and Heritage Project has released a Sound Map of English dialects. The map features archived audio recordings of native English speakers from the different regions of England. 

In the 1950s and 1960s the Survey of English Dialects undertook to complete a survey of the regional dialects of England. The survey was conducted in over 300 different towns and villages. In each location a local person was asked about the words they used for everyday objects and about their local customs, culture and way of life. The survey included a questionnaire of over 1,300 questions and the surveyors used a special notation to record accents and pronounciation differences.

As the survey progressed the surveyors also began to use recording equipment in order to capture actual recordings of natives speaking their local dialects. You can listen to some of these recordings directly from the Sound Map. 

If you want to listen to accents from north of the border then you can refer to the Scots Syntax Map. The Scots Syntax Atlas is an interactive map which features recordings of some of the many dialects spoken across Scotland.

To create the map researchers visited 145 communities in Scotland interviewing local people and recording their answers. In these interviews the researchers were particularly interested in syntax of local dialects and in the ways that sentences are constructed in the different areas of Scotland.

If you click on the markers on the map you can listen to interesting examples of Scottish syntax which were recorded in different parts of the country. You can also discover where these different types of Scottish syntax are spoken by selecting the 'who says what where' button. This option shows you where different types of syntax are spoken in Scotland. The 'stories behind the examples' button provides a grammatical explanation of the recorded examples of Scotish syntax and information on how Scottish syntax differs from more 'standard' English.

If you live in the United States then you may wish to peruse the New York Times's 2013 study How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk. This interactive feature asks you a series of questions about your pronunciation and use of certain words and, from your answers, creates a personal dialect map. The resulting heat-map shows you which areas of the US have dialects similar to you.

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