Hearing the Bristolian accent in Skins

Pandora

Yes I know Skins is made for 30 somethings who want to believe a teenagers life in 2009 is just like this. But you know what I kind of like it. Part of my enjoyment is it being set in Bristol and boy oh boy those 'cut your throat down after a bottle of cider at chasers' accents. Yes there really rough and some very ropey but they do remind me of home, specially now living in Manchester.

What I love about the Bristolian dialect is the interesting usage of words such as.

  • A'write me Lover.
  • Right you are my love.
  • Gurt lush
  • Smittin

There's a shop in Bristol where you can buy T-shirts with the interesting phrases on it. Actually looking at Wikipedia.

A dialect of English is spoken by some Bristol inhabitants, known colloquially as Bristolian, or even more colloquially as “Bristle” or “Brizzle”. Bristol is the only large English city with a rhotic accent, in which the r in words like car is pronounced. The unusual feature of this dialect, unique to Bristol, is the Bristol L (or terminal L), in which an L sound is appended to words that end in an 'a' or 'o'.Thus “area” becomes “areal”, etc. This is believed to be how the city's name evolved from Brycgstow to have a final 'L' sound: Bristol. Further Bristolian linguistic features are the addition of a superfluous “to” in questions relating to direction or orientation (a feature also common to the coastal towns of South Wales), or using “to” instead of “at”; and using male pronouns “he”, “him” instead of “it”. For example, “Where's that?” would be phrased as “Where's he to?”, a structure exported to Newfoundland English.

Stanley Ellis, a dialect researcher, found that many of the dialect words in the Filton area were linked to work in the aerospace industry. He described this as “a cranky, crazy, crab-apple tree of language and with the sharpest, juiciest flavour that I've heard for a long time”

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.