Help! I’m turning into a Southerner
It’s the battle as old as accents themselves – you put northerners and southerners in an enclosed space and one accent has to fold.
Whether you pronounce your vowels like you wear a flat cap, or like you’ve never been north of Watford, your accent becomes your identity at uni.
As a northerner, you soon realise everyone thinks you live next door to Billy Elliot, and that your Saturday job was down a mine. And it’s a sad truth that to try and convince them you don’t, you have to become one of them.
At the beginning of my first year, people laughed or tried to copy my accent. Now, no one believes I’m northern. They think I’m from places like “Warwick”.
One second year, Fia from Wigan, confided in us about how she has found this experience heartbreaking. She claims the abundance of southerners has made her lose her “beautiful dulcet northern tones”.
She said “I got funny looks in seminars for being northern at first, then suddenly out of nowhere I wasn’t.
“My mum thought it was great when I first came home because I didn’t sound ‘stupid’ any more.
“It’s completely changed my personality… I never cared about things like pitted olives before I came to uni.
“All I cared about was gravy, Greggs, and cider. Now I care about things like ‘shiraz’ and ‘avocados’.”
It seems it’s gone further than just avocados though. The pies are being replaced with sushi, and Yorkshire puddings with puy lentils, which lets face it, don’t make the best roast dinner. One english student student even admitted “the peer pressure to eat kale has just got too much. I had to.”
A fresher shared the same fears: “I’ve only been here a few months and with every drink I take I can hear my accent slipping, I just take on the accent of whoever I’m around. And everyone here is southern.”
So it seems like even up north in Manc, your northern accent isn’t safe.
However, it also seems to be happening the other way around – another 2nd year who witheld her southern identity confessed “I pronounce words in a more northern way now, like path or glass.
Especially after drinking with a load of northerners.”
By the looks of things, if you want to keep your accent, you have to assert your dominance, and so it looks like the rivalry isn’t about to end any time soon.