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Gone native

As some of you probably know (and the rest of you probably yet don't, but are about to find out), I'm an Essex boy1. We all have our crosses to bear, you might say. I've not lived in the south-east in over ten years now, and have never suffered from the worst excesses of the Estuary accent (although as ias will attest, I am still incapable of pronouncing the word 'ball' as anything but 'baw', and I frequently lapse and use glottal - or glo'al - stops). Last weekend, we visited my folks in Upminster, and I realised that I was having difficulties understanding the Estuary accent and its accompanying mangled grammar.

A case in point was this: I overheard a conversation between three girls on a train that went something along the lines of "where's this train go?" "it goes Rainham." "are we going Rainham?" and so on, without once using a preposition with a place name. Earlier that same day, I'd heard a man describe where he lived thus: "I live Station Road".

I'd be grateful if one of the south-east folks could comment on whether this really is a widespread dialect feature, since I can't remember it being used that widely when I was younger (that said, my mum's family have used a similar construction, in that they would talk about "going down Basildon" or "going down Pitsea").

1. a debatable point: I grew up in the London Borough of Havering, had an Essex address (and a Romford postcode), and lived in a town with an Underground station. East London or Essex - you decide.

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RM postcode = Not In London. An argument has now been going on for over three years with one person valiantly claiming he's in London and EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD TELLING HIM THE TRUTH. Sorry, troof.

Which underground?

One thing I've noted is people will add a "the" when talking about roads. "I'm going down the Essex Road" rather than "I'm going down Essex Road". Hein? No-one ever says "I'm down the Oxford Street" for godsake.

You also mean "going daaaaaahn Basiwwwwwdun", right? :) Not exclusively Essex, I'd say "I'm going down New Cross tonight" but there is a fair chance I might be putting on a comedy accent. Argh! Perhaps it is an Essex derivation. ARGH.

Having been in a state of Essex-denial for half a decade, I fully sympathise with the poor lad. As for which underground, Upminster, at the end of the District line.

("going daaaaahn Basiwwwdun" isn't exactly right, since no-one born within sight of the Ford Onion says "going". "gaaan", perhaps?)

East London = hell anyway but I've been to a lovely real ale boozer in Chelmsford!

Refer: Sham 69!! "weeee're alll gaaaaaaaaahnnn daaaaahn da paaaaab" (do do do do). Ewe facking panx.

In answer to the debatable point, I'd say Essex - I've lived in New Malden and Wallington, both of which have Surrey addresses, but were under the London boroughs of Kingston and Sutton respectively (and had KT and SM postcodes) and we would say we lived in Surrey. Sounds better than Sarf Lahndon.
I think the preposition dropping is an East London thing, because I don't remember ever hearing it when I lived in the south east.

1. n. The place that is (a) zone 1 or 2, (b) north of the river, and (c) 020 7.
2. n. slang. A place displaying some, but not all, of the above characteristics

To me, that conversation between the girls on the train sounds like parody, the other two pointing out the flaw in the firsts grammar. Whether the preposition was totally absent, or just extraordinarily subsumed into the other words, I'm not sure. My mind keeps on telling "Trouble at t'pit", just to give a different accent where it could seem to be absent, when pronounced.

the hatter

Well that's scary, I also grew up in Romford! There must be a whole tribe of us who don't really talk about our origins. :)

In regards to the accent, I don't remember things being said that way either, except for the 'Pitsea' thing. I go back to Romford at least a couple of times a year to visit family and every time I find myself noticing how worse things have gotten. I swear that they are (de)evolving at a more accelerated rate than the rest of humanity!

I was only born in Romford (Rush Green hospital, naturally) - I grew up in Upminster.

Could've been worse - I might have grown up in Emerson Park.

99% of south-easteners are just like that im sorry to say. It shames me that i live not more than ten minutes walk from those people -.-

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