Sunday, August 09, 2009

Global Warming Nonsense No 94 – Will Climate Change Lead to Stronger Regional Accents?

Just when Clameur de Haro thinks it can't possibly get any sillier - it does.
According to this farrago of sub-intellectual fill-space - well, it is August, after all - from one John-Paul (might he, CdeH wonders, be harbouring delusions of quasi-papal infallibility?) Flintoff of the more verdant parts of The Murdoch Empire, global warming and climate change are going to force us all to live more locally, with the consequence that regional accents will become stronger.
So, thanks to the impending climate catastrophe (er……not), we can doubtless all look forward to the Weighbridge air on a Friday and Saturday night resounding to the dulcet tones of Philloche La Clotte (although at least it’ll be a change from guttural Glaswegian and faux Estuary English……..).
CdeH is indebted to his co-sceptics at the All-Seeing Eye for drawing his attention to this latest example of blatant eco-nonsense – but now finds himself fearful that his inclination to join his brother-in-blogging Jersey 24/7 in refusing to pay in future for online access to the Dirty Digger’s offerings may in fact restrict the chances of further amusement at Mr Flintoff’s drivel.
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TonyTheProf said...

Cheap laughs are two a penny, but lets look at the deeper picture. The argument is that both climate change and energy shortages will cause people to stay in regional localities more. Climate change, because this may lead to cutbacks on air travel (which regardless of all else, does damage the ozone layer), and energy because the cost of travel will go up when oil prices go up (because of scarcity). So given those premises, the stay-at-home argument is more significant. However, the writer has very little knowledge of the linquistics of accent acquisition, and this is the failing in his argument. Nevertheless, it has a modicum more plausibility than a joke.

Clameur de Haro said...

Of course it’s a cheap laugh, but the notion appears so preposterous that the temptation to ridicule it just a little cannot be passed up. For, leaving aside for another time the climate change aspect, does not Flintoff’s article even fail on its own journalistic terms?

CdeH readily defers to Tony’s knowledge of the linguistics of accent acquisition, and this sounds a fascinating subject for study. Linking it to Flintoff’s thesis, though, CdeH wonders if reduced travel (for whatever reason it occurs) really would produce a regional accent revival? What is considered the prime driver of accent? Is it for example home, or school, or university, or employment, other than geographic roots? Or is it possible that constant exposure to a national mass media homogenises accent, and tends to eliminate regionality?

Nick Palmer said...

If big climate change, peak oil yada yada yada forces us to stay in our houses in future, not even allowed to drive down the pub any more, we won't hear our regional accents much - just what comes though the media box. Regional accents would probably fade in this scenario.

Some civil servant could probably "earn" a mint trying to figure out the precise degree of lesser climate change, peak oil yada yada yada that would lead to no change in regional accents, which of course would please the culture types too.

Clameur de Haro said...

Possibly an expanded remit for Greenwash Freddie's "Environmental Information and Awareness Officer" then?

Gosh - however will she cope?