A debate that splits the country like no other – what do you call your lunch bread?
These miniature round loaves lay claim to many regional names, and carb enthusiasts are sure their name is “correct.”
Researchers at Lancaster, York and New York Universities compared each of its names to find out where they came from as part of a study of dialects in the UK.
This included “bap” and “bun” as well as lesser-known terms such as “cob”, “batch” and “sourdough”.
After a survey of over 14,000 English speakers, the most popular name was “bun”.
The survey also asked participants what term they preferred for dinner, and determined the difference between north and south by how they pronounced the words “cut” and “foot.”
Answers to the question “What do you call a small round bread?” The light yellow areas represent the respondents who selected the indicated option.
The term “bun” is widely used in England, south Wales and Scotland, while bap has been a favorite in North Wales, the West Midlands and Staffordshire.
HOW ENGLISH IS CHANGING
Backend – Used in place of autumn, which has disappeared from the north of England.
shiver – Once common in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, but now replaced by shard.
Sliver – Used in Sussex, Cambridgeshire and Kent, but now replaced by Shard.
Play – Regional word used for shard found in Lancashire and Carlisle but no longer used.
Spelling – Middle English word “splinter”, it was still in use in the north of England in the 1950s but is now gone.
spindles – Used instead of Shard in Blackburn and Bolton, but now replaced
Shed – Occurred in only a few places on the border with Wales in the 1950s, but now completely disappeared.
Coil – Used by people in Huddersfield in the 1950s but has now been replaced by a splitter.
Fifteen percent of people speak three with an f, compared to 2 percent in the 1950s.
Southern pronunciation ‘oil‘ – with a vowel as in a word – spread north
Bread roll is a term widely used in England, south Wales and Scotland, while bep has been a favorite in North Wales, the West Midlands and Staffordshire.
The cob is predominant in the East Midlands around Nottinghamshire and Derby, while the niche term “party” is only heard in Coventry and Liverpool.
The North of England gave the greatest variation in terms, with the North East claiming that bun was the only acceptable term, while barm was also popular in Liverpool and Manchester.
The researchers wrote: “Tea cake covers the eastern half of Lancashire (Blackburn, Burnley) and the western half of West Yorkshire (Bradford and areas around Leeds).
“Muffin is perhaps the most geographically localized, limited to east Manchester and areas such as Oldham and Rochdale.”
Findings published in May in the journal Journal of Linguistic Geographyto help keep track of changes in British vocabulary.
The researchers also sought to determine the North-South divide in the UK by looking at how respondents spoke certain words.
It was crucial whether the words “leg” and “cut” rhymed, sharing the traditional accents of each side.
Four out of five northerners said their vowel sounded like a march, but only one in 20 southerners agreed.
This suggests that the dividing line runs through the cities of Derby and Leicester in the East Midlands, but becomes less clear in this region.
In Derby, 79% of people said it rhymes with contraction and stop, and 79% of Nottinghamshire residents agree.
Leicester, however, now leans towards the southern pronunciation, with only 43% agreeing with their northern neighbours.
Whereas in Northamptonshire only seven percent speak with a traditional northern accent.
The researchers explain that in the 1600s, foot and felling rhymed across the country until the infamous “feet and strut separation” occurred.
The vowel sound “cut” was shortened in the southern regions, while the traditional pronunciation was preserved in the North, and it is still unclear exactly when and why this happened.
Answers to the question “Will you make a foot and rhyme?” Light yellow areas indicate no phonemic separation. The researchers explain that in the 1600s, foot and felling rhymed across the country until the infamous “feet and strut separation” occurred. The vowel “cut” was shortened in the southern regions, while the traditional pronunciation was preserved in the north.
Answers to the question “What is your word for dinner?”. Light yellow areas represent respondents who chose the term tea. In London, 95% of people say “dinner” to describe their dinner, but in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Norfolk it’s almost half. However, in the northern regions, about two-thirds attribute it to tea.
The researchers also analyzed the different terms that the British use to describe their dinner – “tea” or “dinner”.
In London, 95 percent of people talk about dinner, but in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Norfolk and Suffolk, it’s almost an exact halfway split.
However, the northern regions mostly refer to it as tea, but not all – 67 percent in the North West and North East and 69 percent in Yorkshire.
The authors suggest that this is because people of higher socioeconomic status “resist the regional form” of the word.
They added: “In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the wealthy upper classes ate most later in the evening, calling it supper.
“The working classes, on the other hand, dined during the day and drank tea in the evening as a source of livelihood after returning home from a long day’s work.”
The northern accent is dying out and could DISAPPEAR by 2066
From the accessible Geordie dialect to the instantly recognizable Liverpool accent, many of England’s most distinctive accents come from the north.
But a new study has warned that the northern accent could disappear in as little as 45 years.
Using physical modeling, researchers at the Universities of Portsmouth and Cambridge have predicted how English accents could change by 2066.
Their results suggest that a northern accent can be replaced by a “posh” southeastern pronunciation.
However, some north-south differences are predicted to persist — researchers say we will continue to disagree about the pronunciation of the word “bathhouse.”