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The Yorkshire accent could be dead in 45 years, study finds

Research from the University of Cambridge suggests northern accents could be extinct by 2066

As well all know, the Yorkshire accent is categorically the best of all northern accents. For anyone who wants to argue, let us point you to this recent study, where the Yorkshire accent was voted the most trustworthy in the UK

However, now new research from the Universities of Portsmouth and Cambridge has suggested that northern accents are at risk and could potentially die out completely within 45 years. Ey up?

Using physics modelling, university researchers mapped out how they thought northern accents will look by 2066 – and the results are rather shocking.

Research showed that much loved northern accents, such as the dry Yorkshire accent, the friendly Geordie and the instantly recognisable Liverpudlian accent, could be replaced by ‘posh’ south eastern pronunciations as soon as 2066.

And that’s not all – pronunciation isn’t the only thing that’s predicted to change.

Some words, it was found, are disappearing across the country altogether – such as ‘backend’, used to describe autumn in the north, and ‘fall’ which is used similarly in the south.

That said, it seems that some north-south differences are likely to remain.

For example, ‘strut’, (which currently rhymes with ‘foot’ in northern England), is expected to stop rhyming by 2066, whilst it’s predicted we’ll still be disagreeing on the correct pronounciation of ‘bath’ across the country for some time.

“In about 1900, almost everybody said “thawing” pronounced “thaw-wing”, but the majority of people now pronounce the words “thawing” with an intrusive “r”, which means it sounds like “thaw-ring”. Our model predicts this change happened over about 25 years,” said researcher Dr Burridge.

“We found that the word has changed because it was tricky to pronounce and children are more likely to pick up the easier pronunciation. This then becomes the norm.”

“However, it hasn’t changed everywhere yet because some major cities like Leeds and Manchester have rejected the change.”

As well as comparing data from two prior dialect surveys, namely the Survey of English dialects (SED) and the English dialect app (EDA), SED researchers also interviewed a large number of older people to get a good picture of that generations dialects.

50,000 English speakers were also asked questions via an app regarding their use of language by EDA.

This information was then used to compile the models which have since suggested that northern accents could die out within 45 years.

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