Learn the lingo

The culture of any place is shaped by and reflected in its language. The Potteries, which has lost most of its potteries, mines and major industries, a place which overwhelmingly voted for Brexit, maybe because it has been overlooked by posh speaking government and was trying to fight back, has its own lingo.

Not strictly an independent language but a distinct Potteries dialect.

My grandfather was fluent and I knew just about enough to get the gist of what he was saying when he was with his mates. He was the last fluent speaker I knew although most local people have a smattering which they can use to prove their local credentials when required. 

In my school days the trend was to discourage "local" in favour of received pronunciation or even "posh", so we could go out and compete in the world. It was even popular to encourage learning foreign languages, thought to provide great advantage, but that was before we Brits realised that you only need to speak English very slowly in a loud voice. Apparently it works everywhere except North Wales, where it instantly creates a deep pride in Welsh which, at least temporarily, renders the locals unable to speak English. Good for them!

As a result of this cultural damage inflicted on a whole generation and the exodus of young people brainwashed into believing they could do better elsewhere, thus causing them to abandon their roots, fewer people now speak the dialect fluently. Now, with the renewed pride in staying put kindled by Brexit, we have the perfect opportunity for a revival. With less need to communicate with outsiders and foreigners, and a returning sense of community, it could once again flourish. Reclaim our heritage, back to the future. Another beneficial side effect of Brexit.

But seriously, the idea that local dialects, and by inference the people who speak them, are inferior to received pronunciation English and its speakers, particularly the public school types, should be well and truly  over. The unity between the most obvious posh, self entitled public school boys and the working people who shouldered the burden of keeping the dialects alive, has been forged by Brexit. The man down the pub is now at one with Jacob Rees Mogg. I look forward to the day when the people of North Somerset can congratulate Jacob on delivering a speech to his constituents in their dialect. 

But I digress. The Spot to which I am rooted isn't actually in the Potteries but it is within my ten mile radius and I will champion the Potteries dialect as something which post Brexit Britain should support. The local authority should run classes and our local MPs should lobby the education secretary to add it into the school exam curriculum. It will provide community bonding, add to the local culture and boost the economy as the sale of phrase books to tourists pouring in to taste the oatcakes fresh from the griddle and to try their hand at throwing a pot, soars. 

We can't really make Britain great again or return to days of Empire if we do not also reclaim the diversity of regional dialects and rebuild the industries and communities that sustain them. 

You can listen to here at BBC Radio Stoke and, if that is too difficult,  try reading it


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