What do you think of the North v South divide?
‘A friend took the piss out of my northern house mate – he kicked him out’
Within the vibrant culture of university life there seems to be a big, often unspoken, debate of which part of the country you come from, and what this says about your nature and individual perspective. It’s catalysed by the all too familiar issue of “stereotypes”. If you’re from the South you’re most likely minted and private-schooled, and if you’re from the North you’re probably inbred.
Once while in halls, a Southerner said to me “isn’t the North just wilderness?”, which, I’ll admit is quite funny, other fellow Northerners may not be able to take these quips in such good humour. There is a comment I hear often which goes “Oh all Southerners sound the same” but actually, if you listen to someone from Somerset and someone from East London, they couldn’t be more diverse. Then of course there’s the complication of regional slang with “peak this” and “peak that” flying about, and no-one below Sheffield has eaten corn-beef hash or has a clue what a “ginnel” is.
And what about the forgotten lands of the Midlands? They’re an entire unique part of British culture with varying accents and dialects yet they are overlooked; primarily because Northerners coming to Notts think it’s the south and Southerners coming to Notts think it’s the north. The Midlands is a no-man’s land which seems to be possessed by the two opposing ends of England’s spectrum.
Most of the time the North/South divide seems to be played up out of satirical banter and is usually quite harmless, but have you ever actually thought where our controversial preconceptions come from? Is it perhaps the nurturing of our upbringing that has planted the seed, and then we have succumbed to these opinions out of laziness? We spoke to some of you guys to find out your thoughts:
Ryan Fletcher, fourth year, Modern Foreign Languages with Business
There’s definitely a north south divide, mildly. Southerners definitely have an opinion of Northerners, it’s just general stereotypes, like Northerners think all Southerners are posh. Northerners are very proud of their culture and their way of life. One of my housemate’s who is southern took the piss out of northern stereotypes saying ‘all Northerners are criminals’ and my northern housemate kicked them out.
Louise Croft, third year, English with Creative Writing
All my housemates are from the south and I’ve met some people from the south who are really lovely. I think there is a divide but it’s an odd one. I’m from Manchester, and one friend in my lectures often asks me to just say words in my accent, but I do the same to her, and I don’t mind because it’s quite funny. I think it’s probably to do with how people are brought up, like some parents might impose stereotypes of Southerners or Northerners on their kids, but actually how can you dislike someone when you’ve never got to know them.
Johan Bos, second year, Mechanical Engineering
I think Nottingham acts as a common ground for the north and the south, like you get all sorts of folk in the midlands. You also get the students who maybe didn’t quite reach Oxbridge standard so turn to other Russell Group universities and alongside other people where Nottingham was their first choice. There is different reflections of the spectrum at this uni I think, there’s people of affluent backgrounds and the people of more working class backgrounds, it’s nice if people approach the differences in a positive way.
CJ Hamer, second year, French German and Dutch
I’d say there definitely is a divide. I’m from Wigan and I’ve been told numerous times I sound like I’m from the past and I still don’t know what that means. During freshers I was complimented on my accent by Southerners but I think they just felt sorry for me. I’ve had quite a few mishaps with the term ‘tea’, because Southerners assume I mean ‘cup of tea’ when I’m actually referring to my evening meal. Also, many people have pulled me up on my ‘misuse’ of the word dinner for what Southerners call lunch, but do you call a dinner lady a lunch lady? No. You’re not a Yank. I do enjoy the debate, though.
The north vs south divide seems to be a figment of societal humour rather than a genuine battle between teams, and to be fair, it doesn’t matter which part of England or the UK you’re from, you can still get a dickhead from Newcastle just as much as you can get one from Bristol.