Modern language down to a T

In a month Glasgow Fair will be sending Clydesiders on holiday “doon the wa’er”. It seems that Margate-bound Londoners will also be on the wa’er, though “dahn” it rather than doon it. It is one of the phonetic discoveries of the L.C.C. that many Londoners are becoming incapable of saying “t”. So the Glasgow man who said, “My name’s Pa-erson – two t’s – will be rivalled by the Cockney explaining that he lives in To-enham – two t’s.

“Th”, we are told, is increasingly slurred into “f” by the Smiffs. But we need not despair of the dentals. Lost letters are recoverable. The letter “w”, turned into “v” by the Weller family and their kind, has come back, and the gentry who went ridin’ and huntin’ are now fully equipped with g’s. It is observed by the L.C.C. speech watchers that aitch is less dropped than it was and that Americanisms dwindle. This is certainly surprising news, but the dismissal of O.K. and Okey-Doke from the London vernacular will be welcome. There is constant change of sound and slang. So Cockney speech may yet again be “all t’d up.”

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