Has ‘Multicultural London English’ replaced ‘traditional Cockney’ as East London’s dialect?

There are plenty of examples of language being linked to social class in England. It may even be suggested that working class accents are subject to a certain stigma (not from others with the same accent) but from outsiders and this may include potential employers.

East London has strong historical roots as a working class area and its inhabitants have traditionally been known to speak ‘cockney’, a working class accent. The increasingly diasporic nature of East London seems to have contributed to a new dialect that replaces East London’s ‘traditional cockney’ accent.

Paul Kerswill points out that the new dialect that is forming is becoming separate and distinguishable from the more traditional and recognisable ‘cockney’ accent which has long been integral to East London culture. For example, ‘Multicultural London English’ speakers do not drop their ‘h’ when speaking (a hallmark of ‘Eastender cockney)’. Certain slang terms that have originated from Jamaica have also apparently become a part of a typical East Londoner’s vocabulary, for example, ‘bare’, ‘blood’, ‘yout’ and ‘mandem’.

While the physical changes to East London’s landscape are visible and plain to see, increased ethnic diversity  in the area has brought about certain linguistic changes which are contributing to East London’s evolving identity. (TED, 2011)

Posted by: Dianne Bonney


TED, (2011). TEDxEastEnd – Paul Kerswill – Who’s an Eastender now?.Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=46&v=hAnFbJ65KYM [Accessed 8 Mar. 2015].

Has ‘Multicultural London English’ replaced ‘traditional Cockney’ as East London’s dialect?

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