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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: June ::
Lancashire Accent
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1448  Monday, 11 June 2001

From:           Gabriel Egan <
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Date:           Saturday, 9 Jun 2001 11:54:16 +0100
Subject:        Lancashire Accent

Brome and Heywood's play _The Witches of Lancashire_ (published as _The
Late Lancashire Witches_ in 1634) has two characters, Parnell and
Lawrence (wife and husband), whose speech is represented by non-standard
spelling which seems intended to indicate their northern accents.
Although all the characters in the play are from Lancashire, only these
two servants have this non-standard spelling and it probably isn't
intended to be precisely Lancastrian but rather simply a generic 'funny'
northern accent. An example is:

LAWRENCE What is the matter con yeow tell?
Yie whick way con yeow tell, but what the foull evill doone yee, heres
sick
an a din.

(Sounds more Tyne and Wear than Lancashire, doesn't it?)

Which could be modernized to

LAWRENCE What is the matter, can you tell?
Yea, which way, can you tell? But what the foul evil do you, here's such
a din?

The modernized speech has lost the indication of accent. To put it back
I'd like to find a modern novel which indicates such an accent with
non-standard spellings and to apply those to the modernized text of
Lawrence and Parnell's speeches. Does any SHAKSPERian know of a suitable
modern novel?

Gabriel Egan

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