Richard III Research and Discussion Archive

Richard's Accent

2018-08-24 12:04:56

In the latest Ricardian magazine there's an article on whether or not Richard is likely to have had a Yorkshire accent.

Now over the past three years I've had my very own guinea pig - my grandson who moved from London to York. When he left London he had the same sort of 'non-accent' enjoyed by BBC newsreaders and Prince William - not the Queen! The school he attends in York has a cosmopolitan mix of pupils with the same 'non-accent' and their parents are from all over the country - such is the popularity of York.

So has he developed an accent? Yes! Does he sound like Sean Bean? No.

His accent is a mixture of Northumbrian and Chaucer; in fact he would be fluent in reading Chaucer. The emphasis falls on the last syllable of the word, so walk-ed or cri-ed and it has the Northumbrian lilt. This is I think attributable to the fact that many of the people who live and work in North Yorkshire are from across the Durham/Northumbrian border and I would guess that in Richard's time this was also the case. The boy has only been exposed to the accent for three years, Richard was exposed to it for most of his life. I would have said it would have been virtually impossible for him not to lapse into it occasionally, particularly when he was in the company of those who spoke in that way.

I'm no expert on accents but I do observe that the greater the lilt the more catching they are. I lived for 10 years in Australia and never 'caught' the accent, my mother who lived there for 40 never did either. Yet I worked for 10 years in Birmingham and could easily lapse into fluent Brummie, much to a lot of peoples' amusement. The Yorkshire accent is a hard accent, the therefore more difficult to catch, hence the dominance of Northumbrian in North Yorkshire. Or that's my theory.

So if Richard did speak like my lad he would have sounded rather nice, perhaps with an occasional bit of the Ant and Dec or Robson Green thrown in! :) :) H