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West Midlands English

Birmingham and the Black Country

Urszula Clark, Esther Asprey

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This volume focuses on the closely allied yet differing linguistic varieties of Birmingham and its immediate neighbour to the west, the industrial heartland of the Black Country. Both of these areas rose to economic prominence and success during the Industrial Revolution, and both have suffered economically and socially as a result of post-war industrial decline. The industrial heritage of both areas has meant that tight knit and socially homogeneous individual areas in each region have demonstrated in many respects little linguistic change over time, and have continued to exhibit linguistic features, especially morphological constructions, peculiar to these areas or now restricted to these areas.

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List of figures and tables
1 Geography, demography, culture and research design, 1.1 Introduction, 1.2 The geographical limits of the West Midlands – where does it begin and where does it end?
1.3 The demographic makeup of the West Midlands across time
1.4 An introduction to the language varieties of Birmingham and the Black Country
1.5 Birmingham and the Black Country – Language, Culture and Identity
1.6 Researching Birmingham and Black Country dialects
1.7 Conclusion
2 Phonetics and phonology
2.1 Overview
2.2 Short vowels
2.3 Long vowels
2.4 Diphthongs
2.5 Unstressed vowels
2.6 Consonant phonology – an overview
2.7 Stops
2.8 Nasals
2.9 Fricatives
2.10 Approximants
2.11 Conclusion
3 Grammar, 3.1 Introduction, 3.2 Numerals and determiners, 3.3 Nouns, 3.4 Pronouns, 3.5 Adjectives and adverbs, 3.6 Prepositions, 3.7 Conjunctions, 3.8 Main verb systems in Birmingham and the Black Country – regularisation, 3.9 More about aspect and mood, 3.10 Conclusion
4 Lexis, 4.1 Introduction, 4.2 The Survey of Regional English (SuRE) and Sense Relations Networks (SRNs), 4.3 The West Midlands Dialect Project, 4.4 Language and Place: Birmingham and Language, performance and Region: Discourse and Sociocultural Identity in the Black Country, 4.5 Conclusion
5 Survey of previous works and annotated bibliography, 5.1 An overview of linguistic research concerning Birmingham and Black Country English, 5.2 Literary, folk and other collections, 5.3 Works cited in this chapter and the book as a whole
6 Transcriptions

About the Author

Urszula Clark is Reader in English and Associate Dean of Languages and Social Sciences Postgraduate Programmes at Aston University. She is also Deputy Director, Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Language and Diversity. She is author of Studying Language: English in Action (Palgrave, 2007).

Esther Asprey is an Honorary Research Fellow in English Language at the Aston Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Language and Diversity. She has contributed to several edited books on language and identity.

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