Nah then lad, does tha know ow’t speke

David Heffer, a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, is studying the accents and dialects of people in Wigan and Ipswich
David Heffer, a student at Manchester Metropolitan University, is studying the accents and dialects of people in Wigan and Ipswich

From clemt to pea wet, there are plenty of words and phrases used by Wiganers.

Many of them would sound foreign to people from other areas, but are widely understood in the borough.

Now a study is being carried out to find out more about them and how they are used.

Student David Heffer is looking at the accent and dialect of Wiganers as part of a linguistics degree at Manchester Metropolitan University.

He will analyse the results and report his findings in his final-year dissertation.

David, 28, is not simply finding out about how Wiganers speak, he is also looking at the differences between young and old people.

And he will be contrasting Wiganers’ language with the dialect, accent and grammar used by people who live or grew up in Ipswich.

David, who now lives in Manchester, said: “Ipswich is my home town and I have knowledge of the way people there speak.

“My partner is from Wigan and I have spent quite a bit of time there. I have always liked the accent. The accent and the words used are very different to the way people speak where I’m from.

“My main thing is that the younger people in Wigan, from my observations, still have a very strong accent and dialect, whereas in Ipswich the accent is disappearing. I thought it would be interesting to see if this is true.”

David has a survey asking people about their accent and dialect, which includes asking people what words they use for generic phrases such as “hungry” and “good”.

He is also looking at whether accent and dialect play a part in a person’s identity.

He said: “What’s been really interesting for me so far is that I’m already seeing even the younger people in Wigan are very aware of their accent and dialect. They are almost proud of it.

“Some of the questions I asked were whether people like their accent and if they would change it and I’m finding people do like their accent and how they speak and they wouldn’t change it.

“People in Ipswich haven’t responded as positively and some have indicated they would like to change it. I would suggest that might be because people in Wigan have a stronger sense of local identity than those in Ipswich.”

David hopes to gather as much research as possible and is asking people to complete a questionnaire.

He has already shared it with his partner David Aspinall’s family in Beech Hill and is now looking for more Wiganers willing to take part.

He will analyse the results for his dissertation.

David said: “I have had around 50 responses so far which is a fantastic start, but I still want to get it out there.”

He has also posted the questionnaire on Facebook groups for people in Wigan and Ipswich and is approaching schools to see if pupils can complete it.

To take part in the survey, go to bit.do/wigan