Amanda recalls family holidays in Cornwall and describes her first trips abroad.
Amanda Ackehurst (b.1972/04/10; female, catering assistant)
C900/07599 © BBC

Transcript for Canterbury

Joachim: Where did you go when you went on your first holiday with your parents?

Amanda: Uhm, Cornwall, and we went there nearly every year actually. Cornwall: we went to a place called Hayle and it was absolutely lovely; really, really nice. We used to stay, stay in a, uhm, chalet and, uhm, it was just by the, this absolutely gorgeous beach and, uh, brilliant. We used to have brilliant holidays; every year we went down the same place and it was brilliant, really was.

Joachim: What did you do down there?

Amanda: Well, [coughs] we’re all sun-worshippers, so if the weath, if the sun was shining, we was on the beach every single day and my dad, uhm, had a surf-ski, so we were alway, me and my dad always in the water, in the dinghy; loved it, absolutely loved it. Uhm, and in the eve, I mean, we used to go out on day trips: there was, what, pony-trekking and there was always places to visit. And in the evening we used to, they used to take us to, like, uhm, pubs with discos, with children’s discos and that; I can remember that; really good holidays. And a couple of times my friend, C, uh, Carla, came with us, uhm, which was nice as well, so and our ca, our car was, was absolutely packed with stuff on the way down there; how it moved I don’t know.

Joachim: Would you take your children down there?

Amanda: Yeah, I would, definitely, definitely. I would; it would be nice and to go with my mum and dad as well would also be nice, which I could see us doing, definitely.

Joachim: That looks like quite a children-friendly place that down there, actually, doesn’t it?

Amanda: I think it’s, it’s really popular with, like, uhm, families, yeah; especially where we stayed; lot, yeah, very nice. And there was, and there was a caravan park just, uhm, nearby, which, uh, obviously is still there, which had the swimming pool and all the entertainment and everything, so, great, you know, really nice.

Joachim: Where do you go now when you go on holidays? What, do you go on holidays still?

Amanda: Yeah, well, I’ve be, my first holiday abroad, that was, that was to Spain when I was eighteen – was I eighteen? That was with my friend and, actually and my boyfriend’s family, uhm, so that was a, but, but my first real holiday was with my best friend Suzanne, uhm, that was to Faliraki in Rhodes on a Twenties’ holiday, which was absolutely fantastic. I mean, it was the fir, we were basing, going, it was our first, sort of, like, time away on our own and that was absolutely brilliant.


Joachim: What did you do, may I ask?


Amanda: We, well, we sunbathed all day. I, we was, like, beach all day and then typical go, get ready, go out and get very drunk and dance all night and really enjoy ourselves. I mean, we really let our hair down, I mean, it was the first time we’d been away properly on our own and it was just full of, sort of, seventeen-year-olds to twenty-well-nine, thirty-year-olds and it was fantastic and cause we went on a Twenties they had organised evenings which were just, we made so many friends and had a absolute scream.

Joachim: Do you s, did you still keep in touch with people after that holiday, that you met?

Amanda: Uhm, we did for a couple of years, but, uhm, then I suppose it’s the same thing: “Well, I’ll keep in touch, I’ll keep in touch,” and it, we, never happened, so, uhm. We kept, I mean, we went away when we went on our honeymoon last year we went to Mexico and we, we kept in contact with a couple we’ve, and they’ve been down to see us and we’re going up to see them next month, so that’s, that’s nice; they’re a really nice couple. Uhm, we went, where did me and Paul went? We went to Gran Canaria the first, the second year we’d been going out; that was nice. Uhm, where else have I been? I’ve been to, uhm, Kavos in Corfu. Uhm, where else have I been? Germany, uhm, tut, tut, tut, tut; think that’s about it; uhm, Torremolinos in Spain; uhm, yeah, so I’ve been quite a few places, you know. I would, I don’t know if we were going away this year, but it would be nice.

Joachim: Do you think the world is becoming smaller, because travel is more easy?

Amanda: Yeah, I mean, like, when I, when we went to Mexico, I couldn’t believe I was there, you know, it was, I su, yeah. I mean, if, if we had the money, the opportunity I mean, I could really and go to Hong Kong. I g, my, I’ve got relat, I have got relatives in America and it’s just, like, I’m, it’s one place I’d love to go. And, but it, again it all comes down to money, you know, I mean, and I do like my holidays and I would love to be going away this year, but again: money; we’ll have to wait and see. Well I am, uh, we’re going to Wales for the weekend, so at least it’s somewhere.

Commentary for Canterbury

In saying we was on the beach all day and we was like: beach all day Amanda uses a form of the verb ‘to be’ that is unmarked for person. Speakers in many parts of the UK, perhaps particularly in southern England, mark the past tense of to be by saying I was, you was, he, she and it was, we was and they was, whereas speakers of other dialects differentiate by using you were, we were and they were. This non-standard pattern is in fact more regular and indeed mirrors the model for every other verb in English — consider I played, you played, I went, you went and so on. Likewise she uses was with a plural complement in the phrase there was always places to visit, where Standard English would require there were always places to visit or there was always a place to visit. This construction and the present tense equivalent there’s thirty kids in our class — in contrast to Standard English there are thirty kids in our class — seem to be gaining in popularity.

Although these all-purpose forms offend some commentators who claim they defy logic — maintaining that a plural noun requires a plural verb — they actually imitate expressions in other European languages. French il y a and German es gibt, for instance, do not have plural forms, and are used to mean both ‘there is’ and ‘there are’.

Popular pronunciation

Amanda also uses an intriguing pronunciation for several words that feature <r> at the start of a syllable. Listen carefully to the way she pronounces the following words and phrases: every year, really, really nice, brilliant, very nice, caravan park, great, abroad, Faliraki in Rhodes, ready, very drunk, properly, scream, Torremolinos and America. Unlike most consonants in English the pronunciation of <r> can vary quite dramatically. The most common pronunciation involves producing a continuous sound with the tip of the tongue raised to the roof of the mouth and the sides of the tongue curled upwards and inwards. Here, however, Amanda produces the <r> sound by placing her top teeth on her bottom lip — a sound somewhere between a <v> and a <w>. At one time this pronunciation was associated with a rather affected form of upper class English, but nowadays it appears to be on the increase among younger speakers across the whole of the UK and particularly widespread in South East England.