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Social Saturdays’ posts look at the social side of language. After all, language isn’t just a way to communicate, it is communication.

Happy National Dialect Day!

What are you doing to celebrate your dialect?

Dialects are wonderful things. They give people a sense of identity and a sense of belonging to a community. Or else, if you’ve moved away from your hometown; they make you stand out, they attach themselves to a sense of individuality.

National Dialect Day was established three years ago by Sid Calderbank of the Lancashire Language Society to celebrate dialects across the country through speech, poetry, story-telling and song.

… And in today’s world, dialects need all the help they can get to stay alive.

Bobby Hogg, the last speaker of Crommarty fisherman dialect, died this month.

Around us, we see people talking with fewer and fewer regional variations, and converging to sound like one another.

Estuary English is wiping out regional dialects which are used by fewer people.

Increased media means that people sound more like the people they see on TV and radio and less like their parents and peers.

Ladies and Gentlemen; this is awful.

I have no idea what we can do to stop this, but I do know that a world where everyone sounds like everyone else is a world devoid of difference and variation: a dull world.

We have to be proud of our linguistic ticks. We must remember that our variation makes us who we are, it is a part of us, and we must never let that go!

I love my dialect. I love having a “Scottish twang” and people remarking on me saying “a wee bit” or the way I say “curly wurly”. I’m proud of it.

So I say:

Friends, English-speakers, countrymen, lend me your ears;

Let us show our pride in our dialects. Let us celebrate National Dialect Day by noticing our variation, and by noticing variation in others.

How do you differ linguistically from those around you? What is your favourite way for others to differ? What’s your favourite accent? What’s your favourite form in your dialect? Is it stable? Or are you sad to see it fading away? Or, even better, excited to see it appearing more and more in our language?

Tell me your thoughts in celebration of National Dialect Day.

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