The literary beauty of regional accents | Letters

Shakespeare, to name but one famous writer, almost certainly spoke with a Midlands accent, writes Salley Vickers. And Rev Jennifer Williamson fondly recalls her lecturer’s comeback

What is particularly absurd about the reaction to regional accents (Letters, 20 October) is that, as all those well educated in English literature should know, Shakespeare almost certainly spoke with a Midlands accent – not to mention Robert Burns, Dylan Thomas and, I gather, William Wordsworth. In the days when I taught English literature in adult education, I always tried to choose students with some regional accent to read the Gawain poet. To my London ear it sounded much more authentic.
Salley Vickers
Wilcot, Wiltshire

• Prof Graham Mort’s letter reminded me of a time around 1963, when I was a student at Glasgow University. As part of an MA degree, I was taking an English course involving lectures in Anglo-Saxon. Some comment must have been passed in the class about the accent of the lecturer. His reply has stayed with me for more than 50 years.

He said, in his broad northern English accent: “When tha knows as mooch abat English language as I do, tha can speak it any way tha pleases.”
Rev Jennifer Williamson
Richmond, North Yorkshire

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