Shropshire accent: Darren describes his home



This recording is an example of a Shropshire accent.

There are a number of affectionate terms used for members of the family that distinguish speakers in different parts of the country. Darren is typical of a number of speakers in the West Midlands in using mom to refer to his mother in the statement mom’s is there – it's, it's being decorated at the moment and later again when he says his mom is doing most of the decorating. Many people associate this term with speakers in the USA, but it has long been the favoured alternative in places such as Birmingham and the surrounding area. Elsewhere in the UK – particularly in northern England and parts of Wales, Scotland and Ireland, mam is the preferred alternative, while mum is perhaps more common in southern England.

Neighbouring influences

Darren’s accent is also extremely characteristic of this part of the West Midlands, with echoes of traditional vowel sounds from the area and more recent pronunciations that reflect the close proximity to Birmingham. Listen particularly to the vowel sounds he uses in the following three sets:

  1. quite, by, like, nice, side, motorbike, might, outside, find, I, dining room, mine's, pine and sometimes
  2. house, about, found, now, down, round, naught, outside, around and out
  3. OK, information, survey, Danesford Grange, eighteen, date, late, case, same, straight, fireplace, say, place, name, occupation, fascinating, hallway, decorated, painted andmainly

The vowel sounds Darren uses for words in the first two sets echo the traditional Shropshire pronunciation, while the vowel sound he uses for words in the third set is arguably a more recent development resulting from the influx of large numbers of speakers relocating from Birmingham and bringing their speech patterns with them.

About the speaker

Darren Lee Fountain (b.1987/07/06; male; school pupil)



Chris: Tell me about where you live, then. What's this house?

Darren: Uhm.

Chris: You can show me the pictures if you like.

Darren: OK. Well it's a toll-house. It was, my dad researched it, quite a bit, and he got someone in to look for information about it. Uhm, we've never actually found a map with our old house on, as it was a toll-house. We can get Ordnance Survey[1] maps with it on now, but we can't get it from when we want it to be. Here's, the, where we are now, just in that little 'V'. Here's Danesford Grange.

Chris: So it was a toll-house be, to enter Bridgnorth[2], was it?

Darren: No. This is the road down here, which the, it's called the Old Worcester Road.

Chris: Worcester Road, yeah.

Darren: Yeah, and it carried on. This was built quite a bit after the Old Worcester Road was there. And first of all it was to take toll it's, tolls on this road and after on both.

Chris: So the back door, if you like, was the toll door?

Darren: Yeah.

Chris: And then the new road was built in front later on?

Darren: Yeah.

Chris: The Kidderminster to Bridgnorth road?[3]

Darren: Yeah.

Chris: So how old is the house, approximately?

Darren: Hmm. We think it's between eighteen-twenty and eighteen-thirty. We don't know the exact date of being built.

Chris: And when would it've stopped being a toll-house, Darren?

Darren: Late eighteen, late eighteen-hundreds and then, we, the toll-house was owned by the chur, well, it was owned by different people, but we do know for each toll-keeper they only kept them ten years. So we don't know, in case they thought they could go a bit funny with collecting the money or anything like that. And we used to own the yard over the road. We didn't, but the, some of the past occupiers did.

Chris: Is it good to live in a really old building?

Darren: Yes, it's nice.

Chris: It's quite strange, isn't it? Describe how it's laid out.

Darren: Well, anyone thinks that both rooms are the same side [sic], but if you look, that one's straight on this wall and that one's on an angle.

Chris: But there are three sitting rooms; three small sitting rooms.

Darren: There's this one, that one and that one and, there in there, and that one in there was the bedrooms. That in there was, like, the little kitchen and probably had an, like, nice, open-cast fire in it for meals. We put the fireplace in a few years ago. And we have got some pictures, if you want me to get them, of some crashes which've happened, if you want me to get them.

Chris: I'll look at those later on perhaps.

Darren: OK. Like a, we, it has been known that a motorbike has come round the corner and ended up on the roof.

Chris: On the roof of the house?

Darren: Yeah, and a Mini[4] back quite a bit ago come round this corner here and ended up here, but nothing

Chris: Is that in the front room?

Darren: yeah, but noth, naught since we've been living here. And you might see a crash barrier outside.

Chris: Oh, yeah?

Darren: They've put that there now to stop it.

Chris: It's very noisy, the road, isn't it?

Darren: It can be, yes.

Chris: Does it keep you awake?

Darren: Hmm, no, I wouldn't say so.

Chris: No.

Darren: And we've

Chris: Some of the, you've got some of the old

Darren: Well these are photocopies.

Chris: Of what?

Darren: Of some, if I can find a clear one, like there you can see probably place, names and employment of the different toll-keepers. These could've been some of the charges, but you can't see them very well.

Chris: But that's, he, he's keeping a record of the horses and carts that come through the

Darren: Well, yes.

Chris: road.

Darren: I would say so, like, when he was. These are, like, different persons, where born and occupation.

Chris: Where do all these documents come from, Darren?

Darren: Shrewsbury, Shire Hall.[5] The Shire Hall.

Chris: How did you get hold of them?

Darren: Well my dad got someone in to research and we wrote there, different sorts like that. Uhm. There's different things about toll-houses round here.

Chris: Yeah, that's great. So is, is history a particular interest of yours, then?

Darren: Yes, I do like history.

Chris: Why is that?

Darren: Oh, I just find it fascinating, like, it probably is cause I live in a, live in an old house. It's, sort of grows up around me.

Chris: Is it because you, there are questions to be answered?

Darren: Yes, there's different things to be answered from, like, this and a lot of other things in history.

Chris: What other things do you enjoy at, uh, school?

Darren: Hmm, sport: I like quite a lot of sport. I like history as, and maths – that's, that's what I like.

Chris: Before we talk about your, your school, let's talk a bit more about the house.

Darren: Yeah, OK.

Chris: Where, uh, don't, don't take me there, but just describe to me what, about your bedroom. Where's your, where's your bedroom here?

Darren: Well, it was extended quite a bit ago and had the kitchen, the bathroom, the dining room and the two bedrooms and hallway up the top. And as you walk through the door, mine's in front of you. Mom's is there – it's, it's being decorated at the moment and done all in pine and, and only nicely done out, like, border and painted and

Chris: Did you have any say in that?

Darren: Yes, quite a bit. You know The Pine Factory in Shrewsbury? We bought it from there, my pine furniture.

Chris: And who dec, who did the decorating?

Darren: My mom.

Chris: Did you help?

Darren: Well, we haven't started decorating, we've just been clearing it out mainly.

Chris: Uh, did your bedroom take quite a bit of clearing out, then?

Darren: Yeah.

Chris: Are you tidy?

Darren: Sometimes.


[1] Ordnance Survey refers to the UK Mapping Agency.

[2] Bridgnorth is a small town just to the northwest of Danesford.

[3] Kidderminster is a town to the southeast of Danesford.

[4] The Mini refers to the car first produced in 1959 by Morris Motors.

[5] Shrewsbury is a market town to the northwest of Danesford.

Shropshire accent: Darren describes his home
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