Cowley students assist with university's dialect project

Students on the English Language A-level course at Cowley Sixth Form have been thanked for their contribution to a university study on the North West dialect of English.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 11:44 am
Students on the English Language A-level course at Cowley Sixth Form have been thanked for their contribution to a university study on the North West dialect of English.
Students on the English Language A-level course at Cowley Sixth Form have been thanked for their contribution to a university study on the North West dialect of English.

The University of York project worked with a number of sixth form colleges across the region and asked students which phrases they were more likely to encounter where they lived.

Results of the study revealed that the phrases most commonly accepted in St Helens include, “I am so going out tonight”, “Are you heading t’pub later?” and “I don’t want nothing to do with that”.

Teachers hope that the students are using the latter to respond to the first two!

The University’s Researcher for this project, Jonathan Stevenson, said: “On behalf of the University of York, we are very grateful for the participation of Cowley Sixth Form and the other sixth form colleges in the region. They really made this happen.

“As well as providing a new level of detail in our understanding of regional variation in language structure, this work aims to strengthen links between the university and colleges and to give sixth formers a taste of academic research.

“So far, the results have already been presented at a conference in Cambridge, with several publications in the pipeline.

"The data has made possible the creation of an online tool that will develop over time into a learning resource for students and research tool for academics. This is the first step towards a larger study in the burgeoning field of dialect grammar.”

Ian Betts, Head of English at Cowley, believes that the students’ participation in the study will help them with whatever they choose to pursue after sixth form.

He explained: “The students very much appreciated the opportunity to take part in the study, learning a lot both about skills required for research as well as the linguistic findings of the project.

“The English Language A-level course at Cowley involves the study of a wide range of different types of English, and so it has been fascinating to see how diversely the same language is used from town to town, even within the same region of the country.

“We would like to thank the University of York for allowing us the opportunity to take part in this project.”

You can find the full findings of the research here