The Info List - Cockney

The term cockney has had several distinct geographical, social, and linguistic associations. Originally a pejorative term applied to all city-dwellers, it was gradually restricted to Londoners and particularly to "Bow-bell Cockneys":[1] those born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow[2] in the Cheapside
district of the City of London. It eventually came to be used to refer to those in London's East End, or to all working-class Londoners generally.[3][4][5] Linguistically, cockney English refers to the accent or dialect of English traditionally spoken by working-class Londoners. By the 1980s and 1990s, many aspects of cockney English had become part of general South East English speech, producing a variant known as Estuary English.[6]


1 Etymology 2 Area 3 Notable cockneys 4 Use in films 5 Migration and evolution 6 Speech

6.1 Typical features 6.2 Perception 6.3 Spread

6.3.1 Scotland 6.3.2 England

7 See also 8 References 9 Bibliography 10 External links


A costume associated with cockneys is that of the pearly King or Queen, worn by London
costermongers who sew thousands of pearl buttons onto their clothing in elaborate and creative patterns.

The earliest recorded use of the term is 1362 in passus VI of William Langland's Piers Plowman, where it is used to mean "a small, misshapen egg", from Middle English
Middle English
coken + ey ("a cock's egg").[7] Concurrently, the mythical land of luxury Cockaigne
(attested from 1305) appeared under a variety of spellings—including Cockayne, Cocknay, and Cockney—and became humorously associated with the English capital London.[8][10] The present meaning of cockney comes from its use among rural Englishmen (attested in 1520) as a pejorative term for effeminate town-dwellers,[12][7] from an earlier general sense (encountered in "the Reeve's Tale" of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
Canterbury Tales
c. 1386) of a "cokenay" as "a child tenderly brought up" and, by extension, "an effeminate fellow" or "a milksop".[13] This may have developed from the sources above or separately, alongside such terms as "cock" and "cocker" which both have the sense of "to make a nestle-cock... or darling of", "to indulge or pamper".[15][16] By 1600, this meaning of cockney was being particularly associated with the Bow Bells area.[1][17] In 1617, the travel writer Fynes Moryson stated in his Itinerary that "Londoners, and all within the sound of Bow Bells, are in reproach called Cockneys."[18] The same year, John Minsheu included the term in this newly restricted sense in his dictionary Ductor in Linguas.[22] The use of the term to describe all Londoners generally, however, survived into the 19th century[8] before becoming restricted to the working class and their particular accent. The term is now used loosely to describe all East Londoners, although some distinguish the areas (such as Canning Town) that were added to London
in 1964. Area[edit]

Example of a cockney accent

Voice of Michael Caine
Michael Caine
who grew up in Southwark, London, recorded September 2010 from the BBC
Radio 4 programme Front Row

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The region in which cockneys are thought to reside is not clearly defined. A common view is that in order to be a cockney, one must have been born within earshot of Bow Bells, the bells of St Mary-le-Bow.[23] However, the church of St Mary-le-Bow
St Mary-le-Bow
was destroyed in 1666 by the Great Fire of London
and rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren. Although the bells were destroyed again in 1941 in the Blitz, they had fallen silent on 13 June 1940 as part of the British anti-invasion preparations of World War II. Before they were replaced in 1961, there was a period when, by the "within earshot" definition, no "Bow Bell" cockneys could be born.[24] The use of such a literal definition produces other problems, since the area around the church is no longer residential and the noise of the area makes it unlikely that many people would now be born within earshot of the bells,[25] although the Royal London
Hospital, Guy's Hospit, Lying In Hospitall and St Thomas' Hospital
St Thomas' Hospital
are within the defined area covered by the sound of the Bow Bells. The closest maternity units would be the City of London
Maternity Hospital, Finsbury Square, but this hospital was bombed out during the World War II
World War II
Blitz, and St Bartholomew's Hospital (or Barts), whose maternity department closed in the late 1980s. The East London
Maternity Hospital in Stepney, which was 2.5 miles from St Mary-le-Bow, was in use from 1884 to 1968. There is a maternity unit still in use at the Royal London
Hospital in Whitechapel. Home births were very common until the late 1960s.[citation needed] A study was carried out by the City in 2000 to see how far away Bow Bells could be heard,[26] and it was estimated that the bells would have been heard up to six miles to the east, five miles to the north, three miles to the south, and four miles to the west. According to the legend of Dick Whittington
Dick Whittington
the bells could once be heard from as far away as the Highgate Archway (4.5 miles north). The association of cockneys with the East End in the public imagination may be due to many people assuming that Bow Bells
Bow Bells
are to be found in the district of Bow, rather than the lesser known St Mary-le-Bow
St Mary-le-Bow
church in Cheapside in the City of London. Thus while all East Enders are cockneys, not all cockneys are East Enders.[citation needed] The traditional core districts of the East End are Bethnal Green, Whitechapel, Spitalfields, Stepney, Wapping, Limehouse, Poplar, Clerkenwell, Aldgate, Shoreditch, Millwall, Cubitt Town, Hackney, Hoxton, Bow and Mile End. "The Borough" to the south of Waterloo, London
and Tower Bridge were also considered cockney before redevelopment all but extinguished the local working-class areas, and now Bermondsey
is the only cockney area south of the River Thames, although Pearly Kings and Queens
Pearly Kings and Queens
can be found as far out as Peckham and Penge. The area north of the Thames gradually expanded to include East Ham, Stratford, West Ham
West Ham
and Plaistow as more land was built upon. The Becontree
estate near Dagenham
in Essex
was built by the Corporation of London
to house poor residents of London's East End on what was previously a rural area of Essex, and Peter Wright wrote that most of the residents identified as cockneys rather than as Essex folk.[27] Notable cockneys[edit]

Danny Baker
Danny Baker
(broadcaster, born in Deptford) Michael Caine
Michael Caine
(actor, born as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr., 14 March 1933 in Rotherhithe)[28] Chas and Dave
Chas and Dave
(pop duo with a cockney pub singalong style known as "Rockney") Danny Dyer, (actor, born in Newham) Steve Harley
Steve Harley
(musician, frontman of the band Cockney
Rebel, born in Deptford) Bob Hoskins
Bob Hoskins
(actor, well known for his cockney accent despite being born in West Sussex) Hoxton
Tom McCourt, musician, face, born in Shoreditch
and lived in Hoxton Lenny McLean, bare knuckle/unlicensed boxer, actor, born in Hoxton Claude Rains, the actor born in Camberwell
in 1889 became famous after abandoning his heavy cockney accent and developing a unique Mid-Atlantic accent described as "half American, half English and a little Cockney
thrown in". Harry Redknapp
Harry Redknapp
(former footballer and manager born in Poplar) Tommy Steele
Tommy Steele
(1950s pop and film artist, born in Bermondsey) The Kray Twins, Villains, born in Hoxton
and lived in Bethnal Green Barbara Windsor
Barbara Windsor
actress born in Shoreditch, London Ray Winstone
Ray Winstone
(actor, born in Homerton)[29] Ian Dury
Ian Dury
(musician with cockney accent and lyrics based on the East End and Essex. Claimed to be from Upminster but actually from Middlesex) Bobby George
Bobby George
(Darts Champion born in Manor Park) Eric Bristow
Eric Bristow
(Darts Champion born in Hackney. Nicknamed the "Crafty Cockney" while playing in an american bar with that name) Steve Davis
Steve Davis
(Darts Champion born in Romford)

Writing in 1981, the dialectologist Peter Wright gave some examples of then-contemporary Cockney

Harry Champion, music-hall singer and comedian Henry Cooper, boxer Jack Dash, trade unionist Warren Mitchell, known for playing Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part. Wright wrote that "the dialect is quite genuine" in the series.[30]

Use in films[edit]

Many of Ken Loach's early films were set in London. Loach has a reputation for using genuine dialect speakers in films:

3 Clear Sundays Up the Junction Cathy Come Home Poor Cow

Alfie Bronco Bullfrog The Long Good Friday. The DVD of this film has an extra feature that explains the rhyming slang used. My Fair Lady A Clockwork Orange

Migration and evolution[edit] A dialectological study of Leytonstone
in 1964 (then in Essex) found that the area's dialect was very similar to that recorded in Bethnal Green by Eva Sivertsen but there were still some features that distinguished Leytonstone
speech from cockney.[31] Linguistic research conducted in the early 2010s suggests that today, certain elements of cockney English are declining in usage within the East End of London
and the accent has migrated to Outer London
and the Home Counties. In London's East End, some traditional features of cockney have been displaced by a Jamaican Creole-influenced variety popular among young Londoners (sometimes referred to as "Jafaican"), particularly, though far from exclusively, those of Afro-Caribbean descent.[32] Nevertheless, the glottal stop, double negatives, and the vocalisation of the dark L (and other features of cockney speech), along with some rhyming slang terms are still in common usage. An influential July 2010 report by Paul Kerswill, Professor of Sociolinguistics at Lancaster University, Multicultural London English: the emergence, acquisition and diffusion of a new variety, predicted that the cockney accent will disappear from London's streets within 30 years.[32] The study, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, said that the accent, which has been around for more than 500 years, is being replaced in London
by a new hybrid language. " Cockney
in the East End is now transforming itself into Multicultural London
English, a new, melting-pot mixture of all those people living here who learnt English as a second language", Prof Kerswill said.[32] Conversely, migration of cockney speakers has led to migration of the dialect. In Essex, planned towns that grew from post-war migration out of London
(e.g. Basildon
and Harlow) often have a strong cockney influence on local speech. However, this is, except where least mixed, difficult to discern because of common features: linguistic historian and researcher of early dialects Alexander John Ellis
Alexander John Ellis
in 1890 stated that cockney developed owing to the influence of Essex
dialect on London
speech.[33] The dialect eventually moved out of inner-city London
towards the outskirts of suburban London
and into the Home Counties. Today cockney-speaking areas include parts of Dagenham, Barking, Billericay, Brentwood, Romford, Chigwell, Cheshunt, Brimsdown, Loughton, Harlow, Basildon, Thurrock.[citation needed] Speech [edit]

Example of a Cockney

Voice of Danny Baker, recorded July 2007 from the BBC
Radio 4 programme Desert Island Discs

Problems playing this file? See media help.

speakers have a distinctive accent and dialect, and occasionally use rhyming slang. The Survey of English Dialects
Survey of English Dialects
took a recording from a long-time resident of Hackney, and the BBC
made another recording in 1999 which showed how the accent had changed.[34][35] John Camden Hotten, in his Slang Dictionary of 1859, makes reference to "their use of a peculiar slang language" when describing the costermongers of London's East End. In terms of other slang, there are also several borrowings from Yiddish, including kosher (originally Hebrew, via Yiddish, meaning legitimate) and stumm (/ʃtʊm/ originally German, via Yiddish, meaning quiet),[36] as well as Romany, for example wonga (meaning money, from the Romany "wanga" meaning coal),[37] and cushty (Kushty) (from the Romany kushtipen, meaning good). A fake cockney accent is sometimes called mockney. Typical features[edit]

Closing diphthongs of Cockney
on a vowel chart (from Mott (2012:77)). This chart gives only a general idea of the closing diphthongs of Cockney, as they are much more variable than the realizations shown on the chart. There are also three closing diphthongs that are missing, namely /ɪi, ʊʉ, oʊ/.

Centering diphthongs of Cockney
on a vowel chart (from Mott (2012:77))

As with many accents of the United Kingdom, cockney is non-rhotic. A final -er is pronounced [ə] or lowered [ɐ] in broad cockney. As with all or nearly all non-rhotic accents, the paired lexical sets COMMA and LETTER, PALM/BATH and START, THOUGHT and NORTH/FORCE, are merged. Thus, the last syllable of words such as cheetah can be pronounced [ɐ] as well in broad cockney.[38][39][40] Broad /ɑː/ is used in words such as bath, path, demand. This originated in London
in the 16th–17th centuries and is also part of Received Pronunciation
Received Pronunciation
(RP).[41] T-glottalisation: use of the glottal stop as an allophone of /t/ in various positions,[42][43] including after a stressed syllable. Glottal stops also occur, albeit less frequently for /k/ and /p/, and occasionally for mid-word consonants. For example, Richard Whiteing spelt "Hyde Park" as Hy′ Par′. Like and light can be homophones. "Clapham" can be said as Cla'am (i. e., [ˈkl̥ɛʔm̩]).[44] The alveolar stops /t/, /d/ are often omitted in informal cockney, in non-prevocalic environments, including some that cannot be omitted in Received Pronunciation. Examples include [ˈdæzɡənə] Dad's gonna and [ˈtɜːn ˈlef] turn left.[45] H-dropping. Sivertsen considers that [h] is to some extent a stylistic marker of emphasis in cockney.[46][47] Diphthong alterations:[48]

/iː/ → [əi~ɐi]:[49][50] [bəiʔ] "beet" /eɪ/ → [æɪ~aɪ]:[51] [bæɪʔ] "bait" /aɪ/ → [ɑɪ] or even [ɒɪ] in "vigorous, dialectal" cockney. The second element may be reduced or absent (with compensatory lengthening of the first element), so that there are variants such as [ɑ̟ə~ɑ̟ː]. This means that pairs such as laugh-life, Barton-biting may become homophones: [lɑːf], [bɑːʔn̩]. But this neutralisation is an optional, recoverable one:[52] [bɑɪʔ] "bite" /ɔɪ/ → [ɔ̝ɪ~oɪ]:[52] [ˈtʃʰoɪs] "choice" /uː/ → [əʉ] or a monophthongal [ʉː], perhaps with little lip rounding, [ɨː] or [ʊː]:[49][53] [bʉːʔ] "boot" /əʊ/ → this diphthong typically starts in the area of the London /ʌ/, [æ̈~ɐ]. The endpoint may be [ʊ], but more commonly it is rather opener and/or completely unrounded, i.e. [ɤ̈] or [ɤ̝̈]. Thus, the most common variants are [æ̈ɤ̈, æ̈ɤ̝̈, ɐɤ̈] and [ɐɤ̝̈], with [æ̈ʊ] and [ɐʊ] also being possible. The broadest cockney variant approaches [aʊ]. There's also a variant that is used only by women, namely [ɐø ~ œ̈ø]. In addition, there are two monophthongal pronunciations, [ʌ̈ː] as in 'no, nah' and [œ̈], which is used in non-prominent variants.[54] [kʰɐɤ̈ʔ] "coat" /ɪə/ and /eə/ have somewhat tenser onsets than in RP: [iə], [ɛ̝ə][40][55] /ʊə/, according to Wells (1982), is being increasingly merged with /ɔː/ ~ /ɔə/.[40] /aʊ/ may be [æʊ][55] or [æə].[56] /ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/, /ɔə/ and /aʊ/ can be monophthongised to [ɪː], [ɛː], [ʊː] (if it doesn't merge with /ɔː/ ~ /ɔə/), [ɔː] and [æː] ~ [aː].[56] Wells (1982) states that "no rigid rules can be given for the distribution of monophthongal and diphthongal variants, though the tendency seems to be for the monophthongal variants to be commonest within the utterance, but the diphthongal realisations in utterance-final position, or where the syllable in question is otherwise prominent."[57] Triphthongal realizations [ɪi̯ɐ̯, ɛi̯ə̯, ɔu̯ə̯, æi̯ə̯] of /iə, eə, ɔə, æʊ/ are also possible, and are regarded as "very strongly Cockney".[58] Among these, the triphthongal realization of /ɔə/ occurs most commonly.[59] There is not a complete agreement about the distribution of these; according to Wells (1982), they "occur in sentence-final position",[50] whereas according to Mott (2012), these are "most common in final position".[59]

Other vowel differences include

/æ/ may be [ɛ] or [ɛɪ], with the latter occurring before voiced consonants, particularly before /d/:[40][60] [bɛk] "back", [bɛːɪd] "bad" /ɛ/ may be [eə], [eɪ], or [ɛɪ] before certain voiced consonants, particularly before /d/:[40][61][62][63] [beɪd] "bed" /ɒ/ may be a somewhat less open [ɔ]:[40] [kʰɔʔ] "cot" /ɑː/ has a fully back variant, qualitatively equivalent to cardinal 5, which Beaken (1971) claims characterises "vigorous, informal" cockney.[40] /ɜː/ is on occasion somewhat fronted and/or lightly rounded, giving cockney variants such as [ɜ̟ː], [œ̈ː].[40] /ʌ/ → [ɐ̟] or a quality like that of cardinal 4, [a]:[40][60] [dʒamʔˈtˢapʰ] "jumped up" /ɔː/ → [oː] or a closing diphthong of the type [oʊ~ɔo] when in non-final position, with the latter variants being more common in broad cockney:[64][65] [soʊs] "sauce"-"source", [loʊd] "lord", [ˈwoʊʔə] "water" /ɔː/ → [ɔː] or a centring diphthong/triphthong of the type [ɔə~ɔuə] when in final position, with the latter variants being more common in broad cockney; thus [sɔə] "saw"-"sore"-"soar", [lɔə] "law"-"lore", [wɔə] "war"-"wore". The diphthong is retained before inflectional endings, so that board and pause can contrast with bored [bɔəd] and paws [pʰɔəz].[65] /ɔə/ has a somewhat tenser onset than the cardinal /ɔ/, that is [ɔ̝ə].[55] /əʊ/ becomes something around [ɒʊ~ɔo] or even [aɤ] in broad cockney before dark l. These variants are retained when the addition of a suffix turns the dark l clear. Thus a phonemic split has occurred in London
English, exemplified by the minimal pair wholly [ˈhɒʊli] vs. holy [ˈhɐɤ̈li]. The development of L-vocalisation (see next section) leads to further pairs such as sole-soul [sɒʊ] vs. so-sew [sɐɤ̈], bowl [bɒʊ] vs. Bow [bɐɤ̈], shoulder [ˈʃɒʊdə] vs. odour [ˈɐɤ̈də], while associated vowel neutralisations may make doll a homophone of dole, compare dough [dɐɤ̈]. All this reinforces the phonemic nature of the opposition and increases its functional load. It is now well-established in all kinds of London-flavoured accents, from broad cockney to near-RP.[66] /ʊ/ in some words (particularly good)[67] is central [ʊ̈].[68] In other cases, it is near-close near-back [ʊ], as in traditional RP.[68]

Vocalisation of dark L, hence [ˈmɪowɔː] for Millwall. The actual realisation of a vocalised /l/ is influenced by surrounding vowels and it may be realised as [u], [ʊ], [o] or [ɤ]. It is also transcribed as a semivowel [w] by some linguists, e.g., Coggle and Rosewarne.[69] However, according to Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), the vocalised dark l is sometimes an unoccluded lateral approximant, which differs from the RP [ɫ] only by the lack of the alveolar contact.[70] Relatedly, there are many possible vowel neutralisations and absorptions in the context of a following dark L ([ɫ]) or its vocalised version; these include:[71]

In broad cockney, and to some extent in general popular London
speech, a vocalised /l/ is entirely absorbed by a preceding /ɔː/: e.g., salt and sort become homophones (although the contemporary pronunciation of salt /sɒlt/[72] would prevent this from happening), and likewise fault-fought-fort, pause-Paul's, Morden-Malden, water-Walter. Sometimes such pairs are kept apart, in more deliberate speech at least, by a kind of length difference: [ˈmɔʊdn̩] Morden vs. [ˈmɔʊːdn̩] Malden. A preceding /ə/ is also fully absorbed into vocalised /l/. The reflexes of earlier /əl/ and earlier /ɔː(l)/ are thus phonetically similar or identical; speakers are usually ready to treat them as the same phoneme. Thus awful can best be regarded as containing two occurrences of the same vowel, /ˈɔːfɔː/. The difference between musical and music-hall, in an H-dropping
broad cockney, is thus nothing more than a matter of stress and perhaps syllable boundaries. With the remaining vowels a vocalised /l/ is not absorbed, but remains phonetically present as a back vocoid in such a way that /Vl/ and /V/ are kept distinct. The clearest and best-established neutralisations are those of /ɪ~iː~ɪə/ and /ʊ~uː~ʊə/. Thus rill, reel and real fall together in cockney as [ɹɪɤ]; while full and fool are [foʊ~fʊu] and may rhyme with cruel [ˈkʰɹʊu]. Before clear (i.e., prevocalic) /l/ the neutralisations do not usually apply, thus [ˈsɪli] silly but [ˈsɪilɪn] ceiling-sealing, [ˈfʊli] fully but [ˈfʊulɪn] fooling. In some broader types of cockney, the neutralisation of /ʊ~uː~ʊə/ before non-prevocalic /l/ may also involve /ɔː/, so that fall becomes homophonous with full and fool [fɔo]. The other pre-/l/ neutralisation which all investigators agree on is that of /æ~eɪ~aʊ/. Thus, Sal and sale can be merged as [sæɤ], fail and fowl as [fæɤ], and Val, vale-veil and vowel as [væɤ]. The typical pronunciation of railway is [ˈɹæʊwæɪ]. According to Siversten, /ɑː/ and /aɪ/ can also join in this neutralisation. They may on the one hand neutralise with respect to one another, so that snarl and smile rhyme, both ending [-ɑɤ], and Child's Hill is in danger of being mistaken for Charles Hill; or they may go further into a fivefold neutralisation with the one just mentioned, so that pal, pale, foul, snarl and pile all end in [-æɤ]. But these developments are evidently restricted to broad cockney, not being found in London
speech in general. A neutralisation discussed by Beaken (1971) and Bowyer (1973), but ignored by Siversten (1960), is that of /ɒ~əʊ~ʌ/. It leads to the possibility of doll, dole and dull becoming homophonous as [dɒʊ] or [da̠ɤ]. Wells' impression is that the doll-dole neutralisation is rather widespread in London, but that involving dull less so. One further possible neutralisation in the environment of a following non-prevocalic /l/ is that of /ɛ/ and /ɜː/, so that well and whirl become homophonous as [wɛʊ].

has been occasionally described as replacing /ɹ/ with /w/. For example, thwee (or fwee) instead of three, fwasty instead of frosty. Peter Wright, a Survey of English Dialects
Survey of English Dialects
fieldworker, concluded that this was not a universal feature of cockneys but that it was more common to hear this in the London
area than anywhere else in Britain.[73] This description may also be a result of mishearing the labiodental R as /w/, when it is still a distinct phoneme in cockney. An unstressed final -ow may be pronounced [ə]. In broad cockney this can be lowered to [ɐ].[39][40] This is common to most traditional, Southern English dialects except for those in the West Country.[74] Grammatical features:[46]

Use of me instead of my, for example, "At's me book you got 'ere". It cannot be used when "my" is emphasised; e.g., "At's my book you got 'ere" (and not "their"). Use of ain't

Use of double negatives, for example "I didn't see nuffink".[75]

By the 1980s and 1990s, most of the features mentioned above had partly spread into more general south-eastern speech, giving the accent called Estuary English; an Estuary speaker will use some but not all of the cockney sounds.[76][77][78] Perception[edit] The cockney accent has long been looked down upon and thought of as inferior by many. For example, in 1909 the Conference on the Teaching of English in London
Elementary Schools issued by the London
County Council, stating that "the Cockney
mode of speech, with its unpleasant twang, is a modern corruption without legitimate credentials, and is unworthy of being the speech of any person in the capital city of the Empire".[79] Others defended the language variety: "The London
dialect is really, especially on the South side of the Thames, a perfectly legitimate and responsible child of the old kentish tongue [...] the dialect of London
North of the Thames has been shown to be one of the many varieties of the Midland or Mercian dialect, flavoured by the East Anglian variety of the same speech".[79] Since then, the cockney accent has been more accepted as an alternative form of the English language rather than an inferior one. In the 1950s, the only accent to be heard on the BBC
(except in entertainment programmes such as The Sooty Show) was RP, whereas nowadays many different accents, including cockney or accents heavily influenced by it, can be heard on the BBC.[80] In a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Coolbrands in the autumn of 2008, cockney was voted equal fourth coolest accent in Britain with 7% of the votes, while The Queen's English was considered the coolest, with 20% of the votes.[81] Brummie
was voted least popular, receiving just 2%. Spread[edit] Studies have indicated that the heavy use of South East England accents on television and radio may be the cause of the spread of cockney English since the 1960s.[82][83][84][85] Cockney
is more and more influential and some claim that in the future many features of the accent may become standard.[86] Scotland[edit] Studies have indicated that working-class adolescents in areas such as Glasgow
have begun to use certain aspects of cockney and other Anglicisms in their speech.[87] infiltrating the traditional Glasgow patter.[88] For example, TH-fronting is commonly found, and typical Scottish features such as the postvocalic /r/ are reduced.[89] Research suggests the use of English speech characteristics is likely to be a result of the influence of London
and South East England accents featuring heavily on television. For example, the popularity of the BBC
One soap opera, Eastenders.[82][83][84][85] However, such claims have been criticised.[90] England[edit] Certain features of cockney – Th-fronting, L-vocalisation, T-glottalisation, and the fronting of the GOAT and GOOSE vowels – have spread across the south-east of England and, to a lesser extent, to other areas of Britain.[91] However, Clive Upton has noted that these features have occurred independently in some other dialects, such as TH-fronting in Yorkshire and L-vocalisation in parts of Scotland.[92] The term Estuary English
Estuary English
has been used to describe London pronunciations that are slightly closer to RP than cockney. The variety first came to public prominence in an article by David Rosewarne in the Times Educational Supplement
Times Educational Supplement
in October 1984.[93] Rosewarne argued that it may eventually replace Received Pronunciation in the south-east. The phonetician John C. Wells
John C. Wells
collected media references to Estuary English
Estuary English
on a website. Writing in April 2013, Wells argued that research by Joanna Przedlacka "demolished the claim that EE was a single entity sweeping the southeast. Rather, we have various sound changes emanating from working-class London
speech, each spreading independently".[94] See also[edit]

Language portal London
portal Sociology portal

EastEnders Estuary English Languages of the United Kingdom List of British regional nicknames London
slang Mockney Possessive me


^ a b "Born within the sound of Bow Bells". Phrases.org.uk. Retrieved 18 January 2013.  ^  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Cockney". Encyclopædia Britannica. 6 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 627.  ^ Green, Jonathon "Cockney". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved April 10, 2017. ^ Miller, Marjorie (July 8, 2001). "Say what? London's cockney culture looks a bit different". Chicago Tribune. ^ Oakley, Malcolm (30 September 2013). "History of The East London Cockney". East London
History. ^ Matthews, P.H. (2014). Estuary English. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics (3rd ed. ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780199675128. CS1 maint: Extra text (link) ^ a b Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
(Second ed.). Oxford University Press. 1989. Archived from the original on 22 June 2011. Retrieved 24 March 2009.  ^ a b Hotten, John Camden (1859). "Cockney". A dictionary of modern slang, cant and vulgar words. p. 22.  Cockney: a native of London. An ancient nickname implying effeminacy, used by the oldest English writers, and derived from the imaginary fool's paradise, or lubberland, Cockaygne. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
(Second ed.). Oxford University Press. 2009.  access-date= requires url= (help) ^ Note, however, that the earliest attestation of this particular usage provided by the Oxford English Dictionary
Oxford English Dictionary
is from 1824 and consists of a tongue-in-cheek allusion to an existing notion of "Cockneydom".[9] ^ Whittington, Robert. Vulgaria. 1520. ^ "This cokneys and tytyllynges... [delicati pueri] may abide no sorrow when they come to age... In this great cytees as London, York, Perusy and such... the children be so nycely and wantonly brought up... that commonly they can little good.[11] ^ Cumberledge, Geoffrey. F. N. Robinson, ed. The Poetical Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Oxford University Press. p. 70 & 1063.  ^ Locke, John (1695). Some thoughts concerning education (Third ed.). p. 7.  ^ " ...I shall explain myself more particularly; only laying down this as a general and certain observation for the women to consider, viz. that most children's constitutions are spoiled, or at least harmed, by cockering and tenderness."[14] ^ Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "cocker, v.1" & "cock, v.6". Oxford University Press
Oxford University Press
(Oxford), 1891 ^ Rowlands, Samuel. The Letting of Humours Blood in the Head-Vaine. 1600. ^ "Bow Bells". London.lovesguide.com. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 16 August 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-05.  ^ " Cockney
(Grose 1811 Dictionary)". Fromoldbooks.org. Retrieved 18 January 2013.  ^ Grose, Francis. "A classical dictionary of the vulgar tongue". Project Gutenberg e-text. gutenberg.org. Retrieved 24 March 2009.  ^ "A Cockney
or a Cocksie, applied only to one born within the sound of Bow bell, that is in the City of London". Note, however, that his proffered etymology—from either "cock" and "neigh" or from the Latin incoctus—were both erroneous.[19] The humorous folk etymology which grew up around the derivation from "cock" and "neigh" was preserved by Francis Grose's 1785 Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue:

A citizen of London, being in the country, and hearing a horse neigh, exclaimed, Lord! how that horse laughs! A by-stander telling him that noise was called Neighing, the next morning, when the cock crowed, the citizen to shew he had not forgot what was told him, cried out, Do you hear how the Cock Neighs?[20][21]

^ "St Mary-le-Bow". www.stmarylebow.co.uk.  ^ J. Swinnerton, The London
Companion (Robson, 2004), p. 21. ^ Wright (1981), p. 11. ^ " Cockney
- Oxford English Dictionary".  ^ Wright (1981), p. 146. ^ "Screening Room Special: Michael Caine" (29 October 2007). CNN. 25 June 2015.  ^ "Ray Winstone: Me cockney accent won the role". WhatsonTV (13 November 2016). Retrieved 17 January 2017.  ^ a b Wright (1981), p. 23. ^ Werth, P.N. (1965). The Dialect of Leytonstone, East London (Bachelor). University of Leeds. p. 16.  ^ a b c " Cockney
to disappear from London
'within 30 years'". bbc.co.uk. 1 July 2010. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ Ellis (1890), pp. 35, 57, 58. ^ British Library (10 March 2009). "Survey of English Dialects, Hackney, London". Sounds.bl.uk. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ British Library (10 March 2009). "British Library Archival Sound Recordings". Sounds.bl.uk. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ "Definition of shtumm". Allwords.com. 14 September 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2013.  ^ "money slang history, words, expressions and money slang meanings, london cockney money slang words meanings expressions". Businessballs.com. Retrieved 18 January 2013.  ^ Wright (1981), pp. 133–135. ^ a b " Cockney
English". Ic.arizona.edu. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j Wells (1982), p. 305. ^ Wright (1981), pp. 136–137. ^ Sivertsen (1960), p. 111. ^ Hughes & Trudgill (1979), pp. 34. ^ " Cockney
accent – main features". rogalinski.com.pl – Journalist blog. 31 July 2011. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 21 September 2011.  ^ Wells (1982), p. 327. ^ a b Robert Beard. "Linguistics 110 Linguistic Analysis: Sentences & Dialects, Lecture Number Twenty One: Regional English Dialects English Dialects of the World". Departments.bucknell.edu. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ Wells (1982:322) ^ Hughes & Trudgill (1979), pp. 39–41. ^ a b Matthews (1938), p. 78. ^ a b Wells (1982), p. 306. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 307–308. ^ a b Wells (1982), pp. 308, 310. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 306–307. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 308–310. ^ a b c Mott (2012), p. 77. ^ a b Wells (1982), pp. 305, 309. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 305–306. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 306, 310. ^ a b Mott (2012), p. 78. ^ a b Hughes & Trudgill (1979), p. 35. ^ Sivertsen (1960), p. 54. ^ Wells (1982), p. 129. ^ Cruttenden (2001), p. 110. ^ Matthews (1938), p. 35. ^ a b Wells (1982), pp. 310–311. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 312–313. ^ Mott (2011), p. 75. ^ a b Mott (2012), p. 75. ^ Sivertsen (1960), p. 132. ^ Ladefoged & Maddieson (1996), p. 193. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 313–317. ^ "Phonological change in spoken English". Bl.uk. 12 March 2007. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ Wright (1981), p. 135. ^ Wright (1981), p. 134. ^ Wright (1981), p. 122. ^ "Rosewarne, David (1984). ''Estuary English''. Times Educational Supplement, 19 (October 1984)". Phon.ucl.ac.uk. 21 May 1999. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ "Wells, John (1994). ''Transcribing Estuary English – a discussion document''. Speech Hearing and Language: UCL Work in Progress, volume 8, 1994, pp. 259–67". Phon.ucl.ac.uk. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ "Altendorf, Ulrike (1999). ''Estuary English: is English going Cockney?'' In: Moderna Språk, XCIII, 1, 1–11" (PDF). Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ a b "5" (PDF). Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ " BBC
English". BBC
English. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ Irvine, Chris (September 2008). "RP still most popular accent". London: telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 18 March 2009.  ^ a b "Soaps may be washing out accent – BBC
Scotland". BBC News. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ a b "'We fink, so we are from Glasgow'". Timesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 21 January 2013.  ^ a b ""Scots kids rabbitin' like Cockneys" – ''Sunday Herald''". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 21 January 2013. [permanent dead link] ^ a b [1] Archived 30 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine. ^ Rogaliński, Paweł (2011). British Accents: Cockney, RP, Estuary English. p. 15.  ^ Is TV a contributory factor in accent change in adolescents? – ESRC Society Today ^ " Cockney
creep puts paid to the patter – ''Evening Times''". Pqasb.pqarchiver.com. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 21 January 2013.  ^ "'Talkin' Jockney'? Variation and change in Glaswegian accent". Journal of Sociolinguistics. 11: 221–260. 17 April 2007. doi:10.1111/j.1467-9841.2007.00319.x. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  ^ A Handbook of Varieties of English, Volume 1, p. 185. ^ "Joanna Przedlacka, 2002. Estuary English? Frankfurt: Peter Lang" (PDF).  ^ Upton, Clive (2012). "Modern Regional English in the British Isles". In Mugglestone, Lynda. The Oxford History of English. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 395.  ^ "Rosewarne, David (1984). ''Estuary English''. Times Educational Supplement, 19 (October 1984)". Phon.ucl.ac.uk. 1999-05-21. Retrieved 2010-08-16.  ^ Wells, John (17 April 2013). "estuariality". Retrieved 1 June 2014. 


Cruttenden, A. (2001). Gimson's Pronunciation of English (6th ed.). London: Arnold.  Ellis, Alexander J. (1890). English dialects: Their Sounds and Homes.  Hughes, Arthur; Trudgill, Peter (1979). English Accents and Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties of British English. Baltimore: University Park Press.  Ladefoged, Peter; Maddieson, Ian (1996). The Sounds of the World's Languages. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0-631-19814-8.  Matthews, William (1938). Cockney, Past and Present: a Short History of the Dialect of London. Detroit: Gale Research Company.  Mott, Brian (2012), "Traditional Cockney
and popular London
speech", Dialectologia, RACO (Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert), 9: 69–94, ISSN 2013-2247  Rogaliński, Paweł (2011). British Accents: Cockney, RP, Estuary English. Łódź. ISBN 978-83-272-3282-3.  Sivertsen, Eva (1960). Cockney
Phonology. Oslo: University of Oslo.  Wells, John C. (1982). Accents of English. Volume 1: An Introduction (pp. i–xx, 1–278), Volume 2: The British Isles (pp. i–xx, 279–466). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-52129719-2 , 0-52128540-2 . Wright, Peter (1981). Cockney
Dialect and Slang. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd. 

External links[edit]

Grose's 1811 dictionary Whoohoo Cockney
Rhyming Slang translator Money slang expressions Sounds Familiar? – Listen to examples of London
and other regional accents and dialects of the UK on the British Library's 'Sounds Familiar' website

v t e

Dialects and accents of Modern English by continent


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