David and Ben Crystal talk about accents

Posted on December 9, 2014 by

Following the book launch of You Say Potato, David Crystal and his son Ben Crystal toured the UK to discuss their co-written book about accents. With support from the LEL department, I arranged for the 1st year students to attend this talk in Urmston as a peer mentoring event. Rumours of David Crystal’s linguistic greatness were definitely confirmed, and Ben Crystal is following brightly in his father’s footsteps. However, Ben’s cocker spaniel was the main star of the show, greeting members of the audience with a wagging tail.

you say potatoEverybody has an accent, even if many of us think we don’t. David and Ben imitated many English accents such as Brummie and Scouse which had the audience falling out of their seats in laughter. The wittingly-good banter between the father and son duo was admirable while the two jokingly exchanged expletives and insults. David appealed to the older members of the audience bringing back nostalgic memories of 60s and 70s sitcoms such as Dad’s Army and Porridge discussing the portrayal of regional accents in these shows, whereas Ben enticed the younger members of the audience by making reference to the popular 90s show Friends and the fact many American pronunciations are now spreading across the English-speaking world.

All in all, the talk was a great success. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to get my book signed by David Crystal and he confidently ensured me that he believes everyone has an accent and no two people talk the same, with our accents constantly being changed by our surrounding environment.

This post was guest-written by LEL peer mentor Jade Anderson. Featured image: David and Ben Crystal. Middle right: the book’s cover. Below: Jade with David.

me and david