Cockney accent has moved from London to Essex, research shows
Would you Adam and Eve it? Cockney accent has moved from London to Essex, research shows
- Cockney rhyming slang is a dialect historically spoken in the East End of London
- Researchers have studied how the accent has evolved and relocated over time
The Cockney accent has moved from east London to Essex as a younger generation of Londoners no longer speak in rhyming slang and instead adopt elements of dialects from around the world, researchers say.
Cockney rhyming slang is a dialect historically spoken in the East End of London with famous phrases such as ‘Ruby Murray’ (curry), ‘Donald Duck’ (luck) and ‘bottle and stopper’ (copper).
Famous names known for their Cockney accent include actors Michael Caine, Danny Dyer and American actor Dick Van Dyke, famed for his Cockney accent in Mary Poppins.
Researchers have looked into how the accent has evolved – and relocated over the years.
Amanda Cole, a lecturer in sociolinguistics at the University of Essex told The Times: ‘What is now considered by many to be an Essex accent is actually very similar to Cockney.’
Left is actor Danny Dyer who is known for his Cockney accent and right is TOWIE’s Amy Childs known for her Essex accent
Other famous names known to speak in the Cockney accent include American actor Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins
Michael Caine, known for his distinctive Cockney accent
Historical photo of East London – pictured is Hackney Wick
The streets of Hackney, East London, in the 1990s – Cockney rhyming slang is a dialect historically spoken in the East End of London
People on the beach at Clacton, Essex, circa 1925. Researchers have studied whether the Cockney accent moved to Essex
TIME FOR A ROSIE LEE BREAK! TEST YOUR COCKNEY RHYMING SLANG
- Brown bread – dead
- Butcher’s hook – look
- Dog and bone – phone
- Adam and Eve – believe
- Trouble and strife – wife
- Ruby Murray – curry
- Donald Duck – luck
- Bottle and stopper – copper
- Bobby Moore – sure
- Merry-go-round – pound
- Apples and pears – stairs
- Rosie Lee – tea
- Didgeridoo – clue
A 2011 study by then professor of sociolinguistics at Lancaster University Paul Kerswill found people in the capital had begun to speak ‘multicultural London English’ – which he said combined elements of Cockney with dialects from around the world.
Ms Cole said this led to the belief the dialect was dying.
But Ms Cole has spent the last six years trying to understand if the Cockney dialect has moved to Essex with people who relocated there and if young people have adopted it.
She said her grandparents were some of many who were relocated by local authorities to Essex in the post-war period.
And her research has included interviewing middle-aged people who lived on the Debden estate.
‘The way that they spoke was indistinguishable from 20th-century accounts of Cockney in East London,’ she added.
‘This included pronouncing ‘three’ as ‘free’; not pronouncing the ‘h’ in ‘home’, pronouncing the ‘I’ in words like ‘milk’ as a vowel sound so that it sounds like ‘miwk’; saying ‘ink’ instead of ‘ing’ in words like ‘something’ and ‘nothing’, so they’d become ‘somefink’ and ‘nufink’.’
She added: ‘Young people in Debden still speak very similarly to Cockney.’
Rhyming slang originated in the 1840s, with a Cockney defined as someone who was born within the sound of Bow bells at St Mary-le-Bow.
It is thought the phrases were popularised by travelling salesmen, who either invented them as a game or else as a way to confuse locals.
Experts have previously said the changing face of society has made the phrases obsolete – with the new generations popularising their own sayings.
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