Eeh bah gum, look at this new project

Dr Drummond will be bringing his accent van to Wigan later this month
Dr Drummond will be bringing his accent van to Wigan later this month

Y’allreet! Does thay speyk proper Wiggin?

Wiganers are being given a chance to have their say on their accents.

“We want to look at the diversity within the accents and dialects in Greater Manchester.”

Dr Rob Drummond

A new series of projects, called Manchester Voices, has been launched to explore accents, dialects, attitudes and identities of people living in Greater Manchester.

The projects are being run by Dr Rob Drummond and Dr Erin Carrie, two sociolinguists at Manchester Metropolitan University, who will be heading to Wigan later in August to speak to people about their accents, what they think of them and how they differ from other nearby boroughs.

Dr Drummond said: “We want to look at the diversity within the accents and dialects in Greater Manchester.

“People on the outside might just see a Manchester accent or a Northern accent but there is such a variety within the different boroughs. Things like devolution have spurred on the idea that Greater Manchester has a single identity.

“We want to look at the extent to which people in each borough see themselves as part of Greater Manchester or Lancashire or wherever.”

The team will park their van up outside Wigan Library on August 31 between 1pm and 3.30pm in order to talk to people about their accents and dialects, and how these help shape our sense of local identity.

Willing volunteers will be invited to climb aboard the specially equipped Manchester Voices research van where they will be introduced to Chester, the talking laptop. Chester will ask them questions about themselves, about where they live, and about the way they and others speak. Dr Drummond said: “Part of the problem for people researching linguistics is that people are influenced by people speaking. For instance I have a very different accent to the people I will be speaking to.

“So people will speak to the laptop which will ask them questions about the way they speak and the extent to which they think it is different to other places in Greater Manchester.

“This part of the project will contribute to an exhibition which will be held next year sometime over the spring or summer.

“The exhibition will examine everything, find out how people speak differently and asking people about different dialects and words and what words are specific to certain areas. We will have recordings of the people we have spoken to and video of them as well. The most important thing is finding out what people think of their own accents, rather than us as linguist researching and analysing them.”

To find out more, visit manchestervoices.org,