Kentish dialect


Kentish dialect

The Kentish dialect is a dialect that combines many features of other speech patterns, particularly those of East Anglia, The Southern Counties and London. Although there are audio examples available on the British Library website and BBC sources, it appears to be a dialect that lives on in words rather than accent. Much discussion of Estuary English, a speech system that has been noted since 1984, features around the idea that it has eroded local voices in Kent, Essex and Sussex. However such discussions are perhaps unhelpful, when such little research appears to have been conducted on the dialects that Estuary English is supposed to have subsumed.

The features of the Kentish Dialect:

* Yod-coalescence, i.e., the use of the affricates /ʤ/ and /ʧ/ instead of the clusters /dj/ and /tj/ in words like "dune" and "tune". This is a common feature amongst East Anglian speech patterns.
* Diphthong shifts, e.g., the diphthong in words like "I" becomes [ɑɪ] or [ɒɪ] . A good example would be the word 'take.' A received pronunciation (R.P.) speaker might say 'tayke' where as a Kentish speaker would say 't(i+a)ke.'
* A lengthened 'a.' This appears often before a hard, double 'd.' This pronunciation could be heard in a word like 'laa-der.'
* A removal of the consonant 't' from many words. In this dialect 'father' becomes 'fodher' or 'faader.' Prepositions that utilize 't' often use a 'd' instead ('dese' for 'these,' 'dat' for 'that').
* H-dropping, i.e., Dropping [h] in stressed words (e.g. [æʔ] for hat). This is thought to have first started amongst Londoners some 300-400 years ago.
* Diphthong shifts, e.g./ in words utilizing a 'ou' sound. The resulting sound appears as such: 'The haewnds (hounds) went to graewnd (ground).
* A use of 'ws' where a 'v' would feature, and vice versa. An example would be the phrase 'wery well,' (very well).

Examples of the Kentish Dialect

The pattern of speech in some of Dickens books pertain to Kentish Dialect, as the author was familiar with the mudflats near to Rochester and other areas in Kent, having lived there.

Dialect words and phrases

Kentish dialect appears to have been very colourful in the past, with many interesting words for use in agriculture, that have become lost in the 21st century. Below are a few examples of words and phrases from W.D Parish and W.F. Shaw's "Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms":

Futher Reading

* Parish, W.D. and Shaw W.F., "The Kentish Dialect and Provincialisms", (London: The English Dialect Society), 1887
* http://www.historic-kent.co.uk/kdialect.html
* http://www.bbc.co.uk/kent/voices2005/

ee also

* Kentish (Anglo-Saxon)


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