Voices in other ears: "accents" and identities of the first- and second-generation Irish in England

Walter, Bronwen (2008) Voices in other ears: "accents" and identities of the first- and second-generation Irish in England. In: UNSPECIFIED UNSPECIFIED. ISBN 9781847185129

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Abstract

Irish people in England are identified by the English largely through the way they speak. This is homogenised by English hearers into the simplified description of an “Irish accent”, prioritising differences in pronunciation, although in reality the Irish use a variety of regionally-varied English dialects.3 Collapsing Irish dialects into a monolithic category is paralleled by stereotyping the speakers in long-established, negative ways. In fact these stereotypes rely heavily on language, including grammar and vocabulary, presenting “substandard English” as evidence of “stupidity”.4 In contrast to the role of “visibility” in signalling the difference of non-white groups, which has no relationship to cultural content and can clearly be discredited as a signifier of inferiority on rational grounds, the “audibility” of the Irish appears to reinforce legitimate grounds for racialisation. Constructed markers of difference are never fixed, of course, and at present sharply changing economic and political circumstances are altering ways in which younger and more prosperous Irish-accented populations in England are perceived. However they remain deeply embedded in English culture, available to be drawn on in specific contexts.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Additional Information: Citation: Walter, B., 2008. Voices in other ears: "accents" and identities of the first- and second-generation Irish in England. In: G. Rings and A. Ife, eds. Neocolonial mentalities in contemporary Europe? Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, pp.174-182..
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Mr I Walker
Date Deposited: 30 May 2013 10:16
Last Modified: 07 Jul 2016 12:50
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/293040

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