Multicultural London English.

My post today was going to be very short and take no time at all but has instead taken the best part of the day and sound quite dull, however I think if you bear with it you will find the topic fascinating.

I had no idea there was such a thing as Multicultural London English or MLE as it is more commonly known, I was aware of the modern London accent that seems to be sweeping the country but was unaware it had a name.

My post today came about as I happened to catch a young fellow on a chat programme on television this morning speaking in this incredibly annoying accent which was going to lead to me ranting on about how I hate the sound of this accent but in the end led to a completely end result.

I will post various links, the first being the young fellow in question Hussain Manawer reciting a very moving poem about the death of his mother, this will give those who have never heard this accent an idea of how grating this sound can be, the only thing missing is the use of the word “possibility” or any other word ending with “ility” in that strange clipped nasal fashion used by MLE.

Apparently this accent has swept London over the remarkably short time (for the spread of an accent) of 30 years and almost completely done away with the native Cockney which seems rather a shame.

Here is another link to some more history about the spread of Multicultural London English although to call it English may be stretching a point.

During the course of my research I came across the following programme by Joan Washington who is a voice coach to actors for film and theatre which contained some fascinating documentary footage about the dilution of rural accents and although quite long is well worth a look if you’re interested in language and accents.

 

About The Diary of a Country Bumpkin

I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent. Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work. I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise. I spent many years looking after my aged mother who had dementia, hence the lack of acting work but shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013. My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie. I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on Amazon.co.uk and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes. I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage. My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse.
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20 Responses to Multicultural London English.

  1. Jessica says:

    I’m an ESL but I have some British friends here in Benidorm and I’m quite proud to say that I usually have no problem understanding different accents, but to be honest I barely understood the words Hussain Manawer were saying. I’ve only watched the first minute of the last video. Adding it to “watch later,” when I’m more relaxed.

  2. That’s fascinating, great post! I hadn’t heard of the term MLE, but definitely recognise it as an accent. Must admit, I don’t find it pleasant to listen to. I do think there are characteristics of it that are creeping into other accents, too, & most probably, spoken by young people.

  3. Joni says:

    I admire his poem, but his accent reminded me of that horrible rap music, not a good thing. He sounded like he had a mouth full of marbles. I find in general younger people talk very quickly these days, so all words tend to be shortened. I always loved an English accent, because of course here in Canada we don’t have accents!

    • I agree the poem is wonderful but the accent is vile. I hate this modern accent which is now becoming the accent of London. Even though I’m not a spring chicken anymore I keep abreast of things through our children, if you think rap music is bad you should listen to “grime music” I don’t think there have ever been two music genres which have so little creativity about them as “rap” and “grime” and sound so bloody awful!

  4. Very interesting article.

    I have always spoken with “received pronunciation” despite being a Staffordshire country boy, son of a farm worker, and having gone to school in the Potteries.
    When I joined the army I was nicknamed “Prof” because I had no accent, sounded “posh”, and had some qualifications. I had great difficulty trying to understand lads from Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Devon, Yorkshire, Ireland, etc.

    I find the modern language trends to be lazy, unimaginative, and highly annoying, but those using such language would class me as an old fuddy duddy, a stuck up old bag of wind, or some MLE equivalent, innit!

  5. This is so interesting!

  6. kyleoyier says:

    Great post

  7. Chris Hall says:

    I find accents, and versions of English, fascinating. I lived in Liverpool for 30 years – most of my adult life – but didn’t completely adopt the native lingo. I’ve since moved to South Africa (near Cape Town). There are a huge variety of accents here. The most remarkable to me are the ex-Zimbabweans who speak as though they come from the heart of Surrey. Also interesting are the expressions and Americanizations. What kind of English is it? But no matter so long as we understand each other and laugh at our mistakes!

    • I’m guessing most of the ex Zimbabweans came from the heart of Surrey which would explain the way they speak. Years ago I knew two chaps who were farmers who left England for a better life in Zimbabwe I wonder how they got on? I thought the woman in the How the Edwardians spoke film was fascinating when explaining the shape peoples mouth took when living on the coast, Aberdeen and Liverpool who keep their mouth closed from the cold wind which frames the way they speak.

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