Times-herald Series, week ending May 16, 1970
By Benjamin Pond
From Winchester, once the capital of England, our native tongue remained unchanged over the ages.
Now in more recent years, a new pronunciation of certain words is spreading into Hampshire. It has even reached as far as Bournemouth; heaven help us if it ever gets to Poole.
This new dialect, tongue, call it what you like – I know what I call it – originated in the London area, spreading to Oxford also to counties in the south-east.
Many of the speakers on the BBC are guilty these days of mispronouncing certain words, especially those which contain the letter R.
Here, for example, are just a few words. In each case I give both the incorrect and the correct ways of expressing them: pawtah - porter, oftah - after , twavel - travel, majah - major , yah - year, ova - over, brahn - brown, fowah - four, Dawset - Dorset.
This intruding dialect is spreading. Heaven help Dawset, I mean Dorset and poor old Poole.
Surely we in south-west Hants and south-east Dorset have no desire to ape this awful twang.
I blame the London BBC for some of the causes of lack of correct tonal expressions. For instance, listen to Woman’s Hour. Some of these chatters have never realised there is a letter R in our language; to them the alphabet consists of just 25 letters.
The farther west you go the clearer and more distinctive is our speech. Begin with John Arlott, of Hampshire; what an excellent delivery. Now to Dorset and Ralph Wightman, who knows his county and how to talk about it.
Then on to Plymouth area. Here you often hear Peter Brown on the Fourth Programme around 6.30pm, and what a clear and wonderful speaker is this man. He has no equal.
The younger generation is being educated to forget their R’s through listening constantly to pop singers.
It is the influx of the increasing numbers of new customers from London and the south-eastern counties which is bringing this new kind of twang. Poole has mainly escaped it so far, but it is fairly evident in Bournemouth.
One afternoon last summer I sat in the Lower Gardens listening to the band, a person next to me remarked; “I think Hompsha is mauvollous.”
I interposed; “Hompsha? Never heard of the Place.”