Writing – Accent Exercise

I like dialects and I like accents, particularly regional English accents because you can travel twenty miles down the road and find people speaking differently. I was born in Australia, but my father is from Nottingham, so I was used to a Midlands accent before I moved to the UK eighteen years ago. I live in South Yorkshire, and while only a forty-five minute drive away from where my father was born, the language is different. I have arguments with my step mother over whether it’s a bread cake or a cob (that’s a bread roll for all you normal people).

So far this has little to do with writing, but I’m getting there. I watched a documentary a few nights ago about training recruits for the Royal Marines. A colour sergeant was giving one of the recruits a dressing down and screamed, ‘You’re stood out like a resting dog’s bollocks!’ It was such a wonderful turn of phrase that it immediately conjured an image of a dog lying on its back with its back legs spread wide open. It stuck in my head, and prompted a dream conversation last night.

I woke up at 4 am and scribbled it down, Yorkshire accent and all.


‘Take that daft thing off. Does tha want to be stood out like a restin’ dog’s bollocks?’

‘What’s wrong with it?’

‘I told thee, it’s daft.’

‘No more daft than your flat cap.’

‘Na then, I were born wi’ a flat cap on me ’ead. I come out from between me mother’s thighs wi’ it on. Tha were born wi’ nowt but a sour look on tha face and a cockeyed sense o’ what’s right to wear.’

‘This from a man who can’t even speak English properly.’

‘Tha needs thee lug oyles weshin’ out if tha can’t understand God’s own tongue.’

‘There’s nothing wrong with my hearing, and I seriously doubt God speaks with a Yorkshire accent.’

‘’Course ’e does, what wi’ all that “tha shalt not kill”, and “tha shalt not cover tha neighbour’s wife”. Though if I ’ad ’er nex’ door, I’d not e’en think o’ covering ’er up, so I don’t see point in that one.’

‘Covet.’

‘Aye, that’s what I said, “tha shalt not cover tha neighbour’s wife”.’

‘No, covet, as in go after, want, fancy, not cover.’

‘No.’

‘Yes.’

‘Is that right?’

‘Yes.’

‘Well all these years I ne’er known that.’

‘And you call me daft for wearing a bloody beret.’


Do you guys like accents? What’s your favourite? Which accents make you want to rip your ears off? How do you deal with accents and dialect in your writing? Let us know in the comments below.

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