12 Facts About Cockney


Cockney is an accent and dialect of English, mainly spoken in London and its environs, particularly by working-class and lower middle-class Londoners.

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Estuary English is an intermediate accent between Cockney and Received Pronunciation, widely spoken in and around London, as well as in wider southeastern England.

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In multicultural areas of London, the Cockney dialect is, to an extent, being replaced by Multicultural London English—a new form of speech with significant Cockney influence.

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Concurrently, the mythical land of luxury Cockaigne appeared under a variety of spellings, including Cockayne, Cocknay, and Cockney, and became humorously associated with the English capital London.

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Cockney speakers have a distinctive accent and dialect, and occasionally use rhyming slang.

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Early development of Cockney vocabulary is obscure, but appears to have been heavily influenced by Essex and related eastern dialects, while borrowings from Yiddish, including kosher and stumm, as well as Romani, for example wonga, and cushty reflect the influence of those groups on the development of the speech.

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Linguistic research conducted in the early 2010s suggests that today, certain elements of the Cockney accent are declining in usage within multicultural areas, where some traditional features of Cockney have been displaced by Multicultural London English, a multiethnolect particularly common amongst young people from diverse backgrounds.

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Many areas beyond the capital have become Cockney-speaking to a greater or lesser degree, including the new towns of Hemel Hempstead, Basildon and Harlow, and expanded towns such as Grays, Chelmsford and Southend.

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However, this is, except where least mixed, difficult to discern because of common features: linguistic historian and researcher of early dialects Alexander John Ellis in 1890 stated that Cockney developed owing to the influence of Essex dialect on London speech.

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Cockney accent has long been regarded as an indicator of low status.

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For example, in 1909 the Conference on the Teaching of English in London Elementary Schools issued by the London County Council, stating that "the Cockney mode of speech, with its unpleasant twang, is a modern corruption without legitimate credentials, and is unworthy of being the speech of any person in the capital city of the Empire".

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Since then, the Cockney accent has been more accepted as an alternative form of the English language rather than a lesser one, though the low status mark remains.

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