LNER launches bid to protect regional accents as people admit they can't tell them apart

Broadcaster Edith Bowman launches LNER's Track Record, an audio journey which has been created to celebrate the people along the train operator's east coast route, and their diverse accents Pic: David Parry/PA Wire.
Broadcaster Edith Bowman launches LNER's Track Record, an audio journey which has been created to celebrate the people along the train operator's east coast route, and their diverse accents Pic: David Parry/PA Wire.
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Train company LNER is championing regional accents after a study revealed many people can't identify a Sunderland or Newcastle one.

Research has revealed that more than two-fifths of the public believe traditional accents are declining.

Broadcaster Edith Bowman launches LNER's Track Record, an audio recording featuring a variety of accents and dialects from over 20 towns, cities and communities, starting in London and finishing in Aberdeen. Pic: David Parry/PA Wire.

Broadcaster Edith Bowman launches LNER's Track Record, an audio recording featuring a variety of accents and dialects from over 20 towns, cities and communities, starting in London and finishing in Aberdeen. Pic: David Parry/PA Wire.

In the study of 2,000 people by Fly Research, two-thirds believed that relocating to different parts of the country for work has largely contributed to the decline in regional accents.

28% were unable to identify accents from Sunderland and Newcastle, while 72% couldn't tell the difference between accents from Inverness and Glasgow or Edinburgh and Aberdeen..

Some 36% admitted that their own accents have also become weaker or more neutral with age.

In light of the statistics, LNER, which operates the East Coast Main Line, has collaborated with broadcaster Edith Bowman to create its first audio recording, Track Record.

Written and directed by poet Ben Norris, it features a variety of accents and dialects from more than 20 towns, cities and communities, and includes the voices of LNER's staff, and local residents.

Jennie Pitt, people engagement and corporate responsibility manager at LNER, said: "Wherever you're from, we know how important your accent and local dialect are to you.

"In creating this unique audio journey, we want to ... preserve the diversity of accents in our communities."

The audio recording will follow the path of the East Coast Main Line, starting in London and finishing in Inverness.

Bowman said: "I proudly hail from a small town in Scotland and am very passionate about preserving not just my own accent,but all the unique accents we have in Great Britain.

"I hope with LNER that our Track Record will inspire the nation to hear, identify and celebrate a broad range of local accents along its East Coast Main Line."