In addition to being a local history nerd, I am also a local dialect nerd... I'm just a bit of a nerd in general, I might as well admit it. I did my A2 coursework on the Brummie accent, and I love quizzing people on if they know what a gambol is - it's a forwards role to all you non-Brummies out there. When I moved to Manchester last year, I was excited to learn more about northern dialect and accents. I met my Boltonian boyfriend, Tom, in Manchester, and his sayings have been of much interest to a nerd like me. Here are a few dialect differences that have particularly stood out...
1) Mom vs Mum
Pretty much everyone in Birmingham says mom. We write it as "mom", we say it like mom, and we get very annoyed when Mother's Day rolls around. Hop on a Birmingham bus and all you will hear is huffing and puffing Brummies complaining about not being able to find a card without "mum" plastered all over it. So many people have said to me "why are you trying to sound American?", but it's not like that at all. It's just the way Brummies say it, grandparents say mom and toddlers says mom, it's just how it is. But in Manchester and Bolton, it's strictly mum. I even find myself resorting to saying it in order to avoid strange looks. My Brummie dialect stands out like a sore thumb.
2) Pants vs Trousers
Although I was well aware that only Brummies say mom before moving to Manchester, I had no ideas that Boltonians and Mancs use the word pants to describe what I would call trousers - how American - see what I did there?! No but in all seriousness, just as northerners may think I have been influenced by Americanisms, I thought pants was only used for trousers in the US. How wrong I was!
3) Dinner vs Lunch
This is an interesting (and rather confusing) one. Although to my family, lunch is what you have at midday, and dinner is an evening meal, dinner money, school dinners and dinner ladies all refers to the midday meal. It took me a while to get used to Tom calling 12pm dinnertime, but it is very conflicting, because at school, lunchtime was often labelled as dinnertime... confusing! On the recent BBC series, 24 Hours in the Past, they called the midday break from industrial, Victorian jobs their dinner, so maybe it stems from there, or used to be much more common? Anyway, I tend to call midday "dinnertime" myself when I'm with Tom to avoid mix-ups! I'd be interested to know whether you say dinner or lunch...
So there are my top three dialect discoveries. England is amazing, for such a compact country we have countless accents, and each area has its own unique dialect - I just find it fascinating!