“There is a lot of snobbery involved, and it can be liberal metropolitan snobbery as much as home counties conservative snobbery,” Gran told me. “There is still a conversation, even today, black folk in London saying to me, seriously: ‘What are you doing in Essex?’” says Southend-based artist Elsa James, whose work addresses stereotypes of people of African-Caribbean heritage and those of Essex women. Abigail’s Party, which played to packed houses over 104 nights in Hampstead and was later adapted for TV, told the story of a suburban soiree that descended into tragic farce. Formerly bucolic outposts such as West Ham, East Ham, Ilford and Barking became bustling metropolitan centres. At a time when English identity – and the will of the “real people” – is at the centre of our politics, the usefulness of these myths becomes clearer than ever. Some are not much more than a lump of hardy grass protruding from a river; others, such as Canvey and Mersea, are inhabited by thousands of people who trace their roots back to London, as much of Essex can. [12][13] Several writers have argued that Estuary English is not a discrete accent distinct from the accents of the London area. Loud and clear, I heard the voice of a long-dead Tudor parish-clerk emerging through the night-air. Cockney. [47] Many of the first English books to be published were by Kentish writers, and this helped spread Kent dialectal words (e.g. The development that so perturbed the schoolboy Heffer was merely a prelude. The sociolinguist Peter Trudgill has written that the term "Estuary English" is inappropriate because "it suggests that we are talking about a new variety, which we are not; and because it suggests that it is a variety of English confined to the banks of the Thames estuary, which it is not. The 'th' consonant cluster is often pronounced as 'f' sound. Essex was voted the sexiest accent / Channel 4. It was a shorthand for the way the whole country seemed to be changing, for the emergence of a brash and crass new individualism – and soon, it would become a shorthand for the discomfort with those changes, for a fear about what Essex man and his pushy girlfriend threatened to reveal about the true nature of Englishness. Other possible mergers include the following: This page was last edited on 14 January 2021, at 01:22. I sometimes think of Essex itself as an island, separated from the county of Kent to its south and Suffolk to its north by the rivers Thames and Stour, from Hertfordshire to its west by the M11, and from London, loosely, by the M25 that skirts the south-west of the county. Among these nuances we find some of my favourite Essex dialect words, such as these examples: 10. “There was this false understanding that Margaret Thatcher was a strong woman who could provide economic opportunities, she understood you wanting to get on,” Basildon’s former MP Angela Smith, who won a majority as Labour returned in 1997, told me. [42], There are audio examples available on the British Library website and BBC sources for the older Kentish dialect,[43] and an Essex Dialect Handbook has been published; the Essex County Records office has recorded a CD of the sounds of Essex dialect speakers in an effort to preserve the dialect. Instead, although not a perfect replica, a modern-day Essex accent is notably a descendent of cockney. 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