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Tuesday, 27 May 2008


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Ancrene Wiseass

That? Was awesome.

Ancrene Wiseass

That? Was awesome.


Ha! I used that as a teaching aid in both my fall & winter E28A classes. Apparently it was actually produced by England's lake district to promote tourism for the 200th anniversary of Lyrical Ballads. I also showed MC Lars' "Mr. Raven": "Who's that? / Who's that rapping? / Who's that rapping at my kitchen door? / Mister / Mister Raven / All up in my grill like 'Nevermore'!"

Roderick Glossop

That's not a Cockney accent. Black British, that's what it is.

Interestingly, the rapping squirrel in question appears to be Tufty, the erstwhile road-safety squirrel:

Did he fall on hard times and turn to tourist-based hiphop to make ends meet?


What up Wordsworth my dog!?!?!

(thumps chest twice with fist) Respect.


Roderick, I have it on good authority, from an actual Londoner, that the accent's East London. Or maybe I'm wrong with associating that accent with Cockney, but I always have ... have I always been wrong!?!

Roderick Glossop

There are many types of London accent. The accent of the rapper Dizzee Rascal (who is from east London), for example, is very similar to that of our squirrel friend, but it is not a Cockney accent.

Roderick Glossop

Here's a quick compare-and-contrast for you.

Ray Winstone has an almost self-parodic Cockney accent:

Whereas Mr Rascal, here, speaks with a quite distinct Black British accent. Notice how differently Billy Bragg speaks when he interrupts:


Well that was different.

Rich Puchalsky

That was actually quite skillful, as a parody. Whoever wrote for the squirrel inserted whole lines between lines of original Wordsworth, and added syllables to lines, often to put in a hip-hop style internal rhyme. Add the mood of the poem is changed from passive to active whenever possible. For instance, the squirrel's last two lines:

My heart fills up, until the pleasure is spilled
Yeah, I'm taken back to dancing with the daffodils.

vs. Wordsworth's

And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

Wordsworth has daffodils dancing, twice, and then waves, and then his heart dances, but the squirrel actually danced with them and thinks back to that memory. Advantage: squirrel. Also the retina / ekcetera rhyme is brilliant.

Naadir Jeewa

It might be London, but I didn't say it was cockney.

I find the Black British label a little misleading, because if you're in say...Leytonstone, almost everyone has that accent, and it's also prominent amongst British Asians. Although the trend runs vaguely along class and white/non-white boundaries, it's not exclusively so. I've met private school kids who have tried to make themselves "cool" and "hip" by adopting the accent. I, on the other hand, was rejected by my own ethnic group in school for having a "white-man's accent."

Cockney is in decline in London, and you have to go East towards the suburban hell-hole of Essex to find significant numbers of people who speak it.

This is all based on my own anecdotal experience, not any solid quantitative data as such.


The Cockney thing is, obviously, my fault. Naadir said "East London Estuary," I thought "Cockney!" Don't know why I have those two connected.

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