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Person Writing

Tutor Marked Assignment (TMA02)- Script


Describe a community’s or social group’s use of English and shows how it links to the community’s identity.

Title page:

The Language of a Cockey ‘Murray Walker’.


The phrase ‘speech community’ is a group of people who share a set of linguistic norms regarding the use of language. Keeping this phrase in mind, the community I chose was ‘Cockney’. A Cockney is a certain type of Londoner, particularly a working or lower-middle class person from the East End. Cockney as a dialect was derived from ingenious rhyming slang. There are as many as 150 terms that are recognized instantly by any rhyming slang user. One example of how the Cockney accent has become more known is through Danny Dyer's role in ‘Eastenders’. Brad Wall and Michael Caine are other examples of some of the famous Cockney speakers.

Content 1: Historical development:

The word Cockney is thought to originate from the Norman word for a sugar cake as the Normans called London the ‘Land of Sugar Cake’. It isn’t clear when rhyming slang started, but some think it began in the 1840s and that it was used by costermongers and salesmen as a form of ‘patter’. Others think it was a secret language used by criminals and people to confuse police. Pearly Kings and Queens, or Pearlies, are a working-class London tradition who wear clothes decorated with pearl buttons and do a lot of charity work.

Content 2: Language features used:

Degrees of ‘Cockney-hood’ depend on factors like class, locality, and education. The premise of Cockney rhyming slang is to switch a word or phrase with another that rhymes with the original, such as the examples shown here. Cockneys often use vigorous delivery including a wide range of tones, emphatic loudness and vigorous body language. There is pitch prominence on content words and their vowels are often stretched.

Content 3: Language features used:

The pronunciation of Cockneys is mostly perceived to be that of the ‘common working class man’ as it has no initial ‘h’ in words like house. Sometimes, they add the ‘h’ for emphasis or as hypercorrection before initial vowels. Cockney’s elongate vowel sounds, often represented in print by several vowels together. The grammar of Cockney is thought to be ‘general nonstandard’, with such usages as double negation and the prepositions ‘to’ and ‘at’ are frequently dropped in relation to places, along with replacing the word ‘my’ with ‘me’.

Content 4: Links to community identity:

When people share a language they assume that they also sharea culture. For a dialect such as Cockney, with so much history and culture, such as the Pearlies and stigmatization, it’s a badge of identity for its speakers. The natives of London use the word with pride. The way people speak is often used to identify factors such as class, education or age, and Cockney is a way for people to be recognised as what’s considered a ‘True Londoner’. Even though the dialect is more commonly used in Essex now, to outsiders a Cockney is anyone from London.

Content 5: How is it changing?

In recent years, additions to slang have included these examples. Mockney accents are adopted by people who want to look working class when they are actually quite posh. In an interview with Barbara Windsor, it was stated that ‘It is More likely to hear a Cockney accent in Essex now than London’. Cockney slang has been used in London for years, but a new variation of English is replacing it. MLE is the new language mainly spoken by working class young people in London, specifically in the East end. Cockney slang is now being transformed into a hybrid language as a mixture of ethnicities are now leaving their fingerprints on the new forms of English that are currently evolving.


A ‘Cockney’ is a working class Londoner, usually from the East End. People who speak this language often give a vigorous delivery with a wide range of tones, often use double negations and elongation of vowel sounds. Cockneys are stigmatized as working class, but is seen as a badge of identity for its speakers as it shows they are what is considered a ‘true Londoner’ and speaking Cockney for a man is usually a way of showing off his masculinity. Although you are more likely to hear a Cockney accent in Essex, I believe that Cockney will always be associated with East Enders, but may eventually be ruled out by a variation of English called Multicultural London English, which is now commonly spoken by working class young people due to the mixture of ethnicities living in London.

Words: 750

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