I moved to a a Scottish university in the early nineties. I’m from Lancashire. My course was a mix of students but with a large contingent of Southern English, middle class folk. On the first day of seminar – my first utterance was greeted with a smirk and ‘that’s champion!’ by a fellow student from the South. It was clear that there was a need to patronise the simple northerner. My intellect was suspect- easily dismissed.
More recently I live in London. My accent has migrated. I still confuse the baristas in coffee shops who can’t understand my order or my name unless I put on my best RP. I tried to help my daughter with her phonics homework but it struck me that some sounds were tricky as my suggestions were greeted with a snort of derision. She argued that ‘what might be right in Lancashire isn’t right here’. She is correct. I’m a phonics failure. My accent fails to hide my roots. The phonics in the National curriculum taught assumes standard English – RP. This seems hugely discriminatory for regional dialects/ accents.