Monday, March 10, 2008

Cockney English

Cockney English is a dialect of English spoken in an area of London. It is the English spoken by Eliza Doolittle in the play "Pygmalion" and the movie "My Fair Lady". Cockney English differs from standard English in many respects.

One of the features for which Cockney English is most famous is h-dropping. The words "hotel" and "happy" are pronounced "otel" and "appy".

The "t" is often pronounced as a glottal stop. This is the case in words such as "water" and "bottle". It is sometimes even flapped intervocalically.

The dental fricatives are not used. The word "three" is pronounced "free". The "th" of "brother" is pronounced as a "v". Word-initially, it is realized as a "d". "This" is pronounced "dis".

The dialect also has different diphthongs. The word "day" sounds similar to "die". The first component of the diphthong is the "a" of "cat". The word "die" is pronounced with a diphthong that consists of a low back vowel and a high front vowel. The diphthong in "coat" sounds similar to the diphthong in "down". The first component is the vowel of "cat". In "down" the first component of the diphthong is a back vowel.

Another feature which Cockney is famous for is the vocalization of syllable-final "l" which is often called dark "l". Thus, "rowed" and "rolled" sound similar.

The Cockney dialect is famous for pronouncing the word "my" the same as "me". Cockney speakers say "me book" for "my book". Though linguists claim that the Cockney dialect is not as widely-spoken as in the past, it is nevertheless a very interesting and famous dialect of England.

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