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Old 06-13-2019, 06:53 AM
PatrickLondon is offline
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: London
Posts: 3,442
Originally Posted by Acsenray View Post
It's the same with dialects and languages in general. Land area is not the important factor. Important factors are a stable population over time and relative isolation from surrounding areas.
Part of it might also have had to do with the range of ethnic origins of the population in different parts of the country - Celts, Anglo-Saxons, Jutes and Danes, and so on. More recently, the development of recorded and broadcast sound has had some interestingly contradictory effects, although it's only been about 3-4 generations.

There was a fascinating TV documentary about a recorded archive of accents, collected by a German language researcher from British POWs in WW1 (so before broadcasting and sound movies). The different variations were played and discussed,so that they could hear their relative's recording.

But when the BBC was set up, its initial local stations soon standardised on the middle-to-upper class "educated" (RP) accent, to the point that when in WW2 the news was read by Wilfred Pickles with a (to today's ears) barely noticeable Yorkshire twang in the voice, there were complaints.

But when commercial television was set up as competition to BBC TV, it was on regional franchises, so it became important to them to portray a distinctive regional identity, which necessarily favoured people speaking regional accents (though these tended perhaps to consolidate into something a bit more generic than had prevailed before recorded sound).

And nowadays, accents are still changing, with street language picking up intonations and slang from more recent immigration communities, and accents around London merging into a more generic "estuary" mixture, as RP-speakers adopt some sounds once considered "common" and downmarket (diphthong vowels and glottal stops, for example), and people whose ancestors would once have been "Gorblimey guvnor" cockneys adopt RP grammar and turns of phrase.