Accents (Too Welsh)… with Orrie M

Years ago when I was at uni during a linguistics class, the lecturer played a series of recordings where scripts were read out in various accents of Britain. At a most basic level it showed how vast and numerous are the different accents on this little island, but also how unsubtle their differences are. After the class, a bunch of us hung around to compare which accents we liked most and least.

Some, like the Brummie (Birmingham) and Black Country accents were universally derided. Others like all those from Scotland and Ireland were loved. Then a few stirred very much Marmite-like feelings, with people taking ‘hate it’ or ‘love it’ positions… Cockney (East London), Scouse (Liverpool), and Geordie (Newcastle) were the three most commonly fought about. But my favourite was one overlooked by most — the Welsh accent.

To my ear, there was just one Welsh accent, but after spending time in Cardiff to make this Elska issue, I realised that there were at least different levels, or strengths, to it. In Cardiff the accent was as lovely as I expected, and the one I was most used to (having relations from Cardiff) but once you get deeper into the valleys that surround the city, the accent gets thicker, almost too Welsh. Perhaps in the north and west it’s another story, or level, again.

Orrie was the first valley boy I shot for the issue. He lived in the Rhondda Valley, the most famous valley of them all. When we met, his accent was so thick that I could hardly make out a word he said. Yes, he also mumbled a bit, but even so I had to ask him to repeat himself constantly.

But perhaps his accent was extra Welsh because he’s a fluent Welsh speaker. Indeed when you hear someone speak Welsh, the accent makes total sense. It fits so perfectly with the vowels and cadence of the language; when you then transfer that accent to speaking English, the Welsh sing-songyness moved along too. I was mimicking it the entire time I was in Wales and for a week after I got home, not out of mockery but out of infatuation. The Welsh accent is such a lovely thing. Absolutely lush.

See more of Orrie M and read his story in Elska Magazine issue (07) Cardiff — www.elskamagazine.com

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