South London girl in the East End

Samantha is one of our students at Queen Mary. She commutes in from Croydon. Her parents are from Jamaica and originally spoke Patois, so this is the language she grew up around. ‘I feel like a lot of sentences and phrases I say may not sound grammatically correct, but that’s just what I am used to.’

She calls her own English accent ‘South London’, which, to her, involves a lot of ‘Carribbean and African slang’. She says she has ‘a love-hate relationship with slang’. With her younger sister and her friends, she often uses it, but ‘we do it as a joke’. ‘We say yo! or yo B! in an ironic way.’ However, ‘I don’t like when a lot of people use it too much. They use it instead of actually speaking English.’

When she speaks to her mum in English, she will ‘not speak slang to her at all, not with any kind of MLE’. Interestingly, her father, who owns a cornershop in Brixton, also speaks ‘a lot of slang, current MLE, and I think that’s due to the many young people he encounters. So that’s rubbed off on him a lot’. ‘You don’t expect to hear it from him’, she laughs. She thinks that ‘Brixton is that hub of diversity’ so that slang and MLE are spoken even more there than in Croydon.

Samantha from Croydon

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