Study Into Origins Of The Scillonian Accent

Isles of Scilly Museum

An expert in dialects wants to hear your views on what a Scillonian accent sounds like.

Emma Moore is subject director in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Sheffield and, over the past 5 years, she’s forged a relationship with the Isles of Scilly museum.

Emma has been trawling through dozens of recordings to try and pick out the phrases or pronunciations, which are distinctly Scilly.

The islands’ accent is harder to pin down than many other areas because of outside influences such as seafaring and tourism. Our youngsters also leave for their further education.

Emma has listened to dozens of recordings of islanders of all ages for her research as she tries to find the DNA of the islands speech patterns.

From Radio Scilly

Emma Moore talks about her studies

She says there are some tell tale signs that someone is from Scilly in the pronunciation of words such as ‘price’, ‘boy’ and ‘father,’ but she says even this is changing through current generations.

You’d think islanders who have an accent would sound most similar to residents of West Cornwall, but Emma says they are more like people from the east of the county. That’s because the Cornish language died out there first and they are less isolated.

And she says there are no concrete records of Cornish being spoken in the islands.

Emma says the research can be very sophisticated, particularly using computers to analyse the frequency of vowels and using this information to understand how the language might have changed over time.


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