Research shows a new multicultural accent in east London

First published in News
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The traditional cockney accent and dialect is now more likely to be heard in Essex than east London, according to a new study.

Dr Sue Fox, a linguistic expert at Queen Mary, University of London in Mile End, said a new form of 'Multicultural London English' now dominates in the East End, while those with a classic cockney accent have moved out of London. 

She said: "In the last five decades ‘Cockney’ has probably undergone more rapid change than at any time in its long history. 

"Without doubt the speech forms associated with Cockney can still be heard, but with the multi-cultural diversity we now see in the east end the Cockney label would seem to be becoming less and less relevant to the people living there."

The prevalence of white working class families in the East End in the early part of the 20th century has steadily diminished, while immigrant communities have laid down roots, leading to new variations on traditional east London accents.

This has coincided with the increasing urbanisation of parts of south Essex. 

Dr Sue Fox added: "The sheer number of people who have moved from the traditional east end into the surrounding areas of London, and in particular Essex, have ensured that the influence of Cockney is still exerted in these areas and it is there that many features of the dialect can still be heard.

"It is probably more accurate to say that Cockney has now become more synonymous with white working class speakers from a much larger geographical region of south east England and is not generally a term applied to speakers of minority ethnic backgrounds even if they have been born within the traditional Cockney area."

To listen to Dr Fox talking in more detail about her findings visit https://soundcloud.com/qmul/cockney-speech

Comments (1)

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11:56am Fri 26 Jul 13

stowjoe says...

Walking through Shoreditch I once encountered a group of young women in full burka's speaking 'Multicultural London English' - and pretty colourful it was too! All my cultural assumptions were challenged - which can only be a good thing.
Walking through Shoreditch I once encountered a group of young women in full burka's speaking 'Multicultural London English' - and pretty colourful it was too! All my cultural assumptions were challenged - which can only be a good thing. stowjoe
  • Score: -1

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