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Cockney accent – main features

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·         The Cockney accent is used mostly by the Londoners, whose population is around 7.5 million people (plus the huge area of outer London, where about 12 million people live).
·         Cockney’s most characteristic feature is the extensive glottalisation e.g. cat [‘kæ?t], up [‘??p] and sock [s??k]. It can also be a bare /?/, which would realise the internal intervocalic sound /t/, e.g. in words like: Waterloo [‘wo:??l??], waiter [‘wai??], city [s???i], water [wo:??],butter [‘b???]. As a result, like and light can be homophones. Yet, glottaling is in the case of some words widely accepted. These are: Gatwick, Scotland, statement or network.
·         Monophthongisation is very common in Cockney. It concerns words with a diphthong /a?/, e.g. while the RP pronunciation of a word mouth is [ma?θ], in Cockney it is a monophthong [mæθ], [mæf] or [ma:f].
·         The other characteristic feature of Cockney is h-dropping at the beginning of some words. The usage of it is very much stigmatised at schools and by RP-speakers, yet /h/ is still not pronounced by many in: house, hammer or hat. As a result, the pronunciation of words: heart and art is the same: [?:?]. What is interesting, there are words in Cockney, where /h/ at the beginning is pronounced, e.g. hospital.
·         Very similar to h-dropping is g-dropping. It occurs in words like: talking [‘t?:k?n] or singing [‘s???n].
·         In other cases we can notice nt-reduction, like in: twenty [‘tweni] or want to [‘w?n?].
·         Cockney speech is full of vocalisation of /l/. A post-vocalic /l/ is dark and sounds like /?/ or /o/, e.g. in milk, terminal, wall, usual.
·         Next feature that Londoners use is th-fronting. It is nothing else but replacing dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ with labiodentals /f/ and /v/, e.g. thin [f?n], brother [br?v?], bath [b?:f], three [fr?i]three feathers [‘fr?i ‘fev?z].
·         The same happens with th-stopping, where the sound /ð/ in initial position becomes /d/, e.g. the [d?] or with this [wiv d?s].
·         Cockney uses yod-dropping (it can be heard for example in words: knew, tune, reduce).
·         Together with another feature – yod-coalescence – it creates a bit different pronunciation of: tune [t?u:n] or reduce [‘r?d?u:s].
·         Like many other accents in England, Cockney is non-rhotic and uses vowel lowering. Very open /?/ is present in words like dinner [‘d?n?] or marrow [‘mær?].
·         E.g. see you, uses weak form [‘si: j?].
·         Triphthongs also occur and are mostly in sentence-final position, like in: over here [‘œ?vr’?j?], floors [fl?:??z].
 
·         Mockney: Popularity of the Cockney accent brought widespread affectation of the working-class speech. The phenomenon created by middle and upper-middle class was based mainly on Cockney pronunciation, without adoption of non-standard grammatical forms. Such hybrid has been criticised and called Mockney (the word is a portmanteau of two words: mock and Cockney). However, the trend for using more “vigorous” language has not stopped and many famous singers and film stars decided to pronounce sounds in a Cockney way. These are for instance: Lily Allen, Kate Nash, Guy Ritchie or Mike Skinner.
 
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Paweł Rogaliński
Paweł Rogaliński jest politologiem, filologiem, rzecznikiem prasowym organizacji pozarządowej oraz twórcą Przeglądu Dziennikarskiego. Od 2015 roku należy do prestiżowej grupy Światowych Odpowiedzialnych Liderów Fundacji BMW Stiftung Herbert Quandt. Za swoje osiągnięcia nagradzany na całym świecie, m.in. w Londynie, Berlinie, Rio de Janeiro, Warszawie, Brukseli i Strasburgu. Ukończył następujące kierunki studiów na Uniwersytecie Łódzkim: stosunki międzynarodowe: nauki polityczne, zarządzanie oraz filologię angielską, osiągając przy tym ogólnokrajowe sukcesy naukowe (m.in. Studencki Nobel). Obecnie przygotowuje rozprawę doktorską w Londynie poświęconą popularności politycznej w krajach anglojęzycznych. Jego ostatnia książka pt. „Jak politycy nami manipulują. Zakazane techniki” (Wydawnictwo Sorus, Poznań 2013) z powodu dużej popularności doczekała się dodruku już w kilka miesięcy po wydaniu. Więcej na stronie oficjalnej: www.rogalinski.eu.

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