There’s nowt wrong with the way we talk

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What a load of tripe!

That’s the blunt northern message from proud Lancastrians in Chorley to employers who discriminate against people with strong regional accents.

Audrey Sibbald (left), 82, of Rookwood Avenue, Chorley and Jessica Bibby, 85, of Rookwood Avenue, Chorley.

Audrey Sibbald (left), 82, of Rookwood Avenue, Chorley and Jessica Bibby, 85, of Rookwood Avenue, Chorley.

Some Brits with regional accents see themselves as frauds when they change their accent to cope with social situations, according to a University of Manchester linguist.

Though accent modification is common, Dr Alex Baratta says it can threaten the way we feel about our personal identity, often causing anger and frustration.

Workplace meetings with ‘posh’ sounding senior managers, he says, can be especially stressful for those with a more pronounced regional accent.

Job interviews, speaking to lecturers and even speaking on the phone are other areas of concern, he says.

He said: “Clearly, most people modify their accent not because they lack pride in it, quite the opposite in fact.

“It’s actually because they fear the negative perceptions others might have of them if they don’t, especially in work-related contexts.”

Dr Baratta argues potential employers should state in writing that applicants’ accents will not be used against them.

He also says application forms should request applicants to ‘state their accent’, perhaps the last taboo, alongside other identities such as gender, sexual orientation, religion, age and race.

He added: “We should acknowledge any form of workplace discrimination, to include accentism, should not be tolerated in our society.”

Mick Clark, 65, (left) of Chorley, said: “Anybody who has got any sense at all who’s made an appointment goes for the best person, not on account of their accent, but on account of what their capabilities are.”

Pat Catterall, of Pat’s Cheese stall, Chorley Market, said: “It’s completely wrong. Having an accent is a good thing. It’s not to be knocked at and knocked down.”

Jessica Bibby, 85, of Rookwood Avenue, Chorley, said: “I don’t think employers should ask people to change their accent. If they can do their job it doesn’t matter which way they talk.”