EUROPHILE BRITONS PUT LOCAL DIALECTS IN DANGER
14th Oct 2008
It's official! Brits are becoming more Europhile by the day as they turn their back on regional British dialects. 85% can decipher foreign phrases, but over half can't understand Britain's diverse dialects. Local phrases and sayings - from the Geordie expression 'haddaway, man' to Cockney slang like 'have a butchers' - should trip off the tongue more readily than the language of our continental neighbours. However in a survey by budget hotel chain Travelodge, twice as many of the 3,000 UK respondents could provide the correct definition for 'Piazza' 'Hasta la Vista' and 'Carte Blanche' than they could for regional terms such as 'Scran', 'Oggy' and 'Tutty Pegs'.
Findings revealed that 85% of Brits knew that a German 'Weiner' was a sausage, 90% of adults could translate the Spanish phrase 'Hasta la Vista' - meaning 'See you later' and 70% of Britons knew that an Italian 'Piazza' was a town square. But when it came to identifying British regional phrases, respondents struggled. Almost half thought an 'oggy' - a pie - was either a football chant or a cream tea, while one in five mistook 'tutty pegs' - teeth - to refer to gossiping women.
Fifty per cent of adults thought a London 'Wolly' - a pickled gherkin served in fish and chips shops across the capital, was a Scottish delicacy, while eighteen per cent of respondents thought the Yorkshire term for a cheeky child - a 'Scopadiddle' - referred to a spicy sausage and one in ten adults thought it meant a playground. Over half thought a Lancashire 'chitty' (meaning a young girl) was either a shopping list or another word for the 'powder room'.
Greg Dawson, Travelodge Director of Communications said: "The British traveller is often accused of not understanding the local culture when traveling abroad but their lack of knowledge when holidaying in this country is even more stark. Each region of Britain has a very different culture which should be celebrated. We spend so much time and money traveling abroad that we often ignore what is on our doorsteps".
In a bid to help the nation learn more about our regional dialects, Travelodge has developed a free guide to "busting" British regional dialects for the ten popular cities and regions across the UK. Words such as 'Bap', 'Cob', 'Mardy', 'Blue Nose' and 'Cludgie' are explained.
Dawson said: "Our customers sometimes return to the hotel scratching their heads when told words such as 'Brass', 'Snap', 'Fibta' and 'Billy'. These guides are a fun way for our customers to bust the British local lingo".
Professor Paul Kerswill, linguistics expert from Lancaster University said: "The diversity of regional dialects in the UK should be celebrated but this research shows that theyre teetering on the brink of extinction. Britons should be encouraged to experience the rich diversity of accents and language in their own country to help keep the idiosyncrasies of the English language alive".
Notes to editors:
Listed below are other keys findings from the research:
·A quarter of Britons thought their term for tourists 'Emmets' came from Spain or Greece
·Over a third of adults (35%) thought the Scouse word Loop-di-loop (meaning soup) originated from Holland or Norway
·Almost a fifth of respondents thought the Yorkshire term for a silly person - 'a daft ha-porth' was a foreign phrase from Denmark or Poland.
·A quarter of Brits thought the Newcastles famous Brown Ale or 'Broon' was a signature drink from Brussels or Munich
·Study of 3,000 British adults conducted by One Poll in September 2008
·The Travelodge "Lingo Busting Guides" can be downloaded from www.travelodge.co.uk
under the news and offers section. Guides are available for the following locations / regions: Scotland, Newcastle, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Liverpool, Midlands, London, Cornwall, Bristol and Ulster.
Head of Consumer PR
T: 01844 35 8638