A debate that divides the country like no other – what do you call your midday bread?
These miniature, round loaves have claimed a variety of somewhat regional names, with carb lovers adamant that their naming is the “correct.”
Researchers from the universities of Lancaster, York and New York have put together each of its titles to discover its origin, as part of a study of dialects in Britain.
This included the ‘bap’ and ‘bun’, as well as lesser-known terms like ‘cob’, ‘batch’ and ‘barm cake’.
After surveying over 14,000 English speakers, the most popular name was “rolled bread”.
The survey also asked participants for their preferred term for the evening meal and determined the North-South split based on how they pronounced ‘cup’ and ‘foot’.
Answers to the question ‘What’s your word for a round bun?’ Light yellow areas represent respondents who selected the indicated variant
Bread is a widely used term in England, South Wales and Scotland, while bap was a favorite in North Wales, West Midlands and Staffordshire.
HOW ENGLISH CHANGES
Back-end – Used in place of the fall which disappeared from the north of England
Thrill – Formerly common in Norfolk and Lincolnshire but now replaced by shards
Wick – Used in Sussex, Cambridgeshire and Kent but now replaced by shards
to play – A regional word used for splinters found in Lancashire and Carlisle but now no longer used
Spell – The English way to splinter, it was still used in the North of England in the 1950s but has now died out
Stack – Used in place of the shard at Blackburn and Bolton but now superseded
Spread – Seen in a few places on the Welsh border in the 1950s but now totally extinct
Reel – Used by Huddersfield locals in the 1950s but now replaced by a splitter
Fifteen percent of people say Three with an f compared to only 2% in the 1950s
The southern pronunciation of ‘Butter‘ – with a vowel as in put – spread north
Bread roll is a term widely used in England, South Wales and Scotland, while bap was a favorite in North Wales, West Midlands and Staffordshire.
Cob dominates in the East Midlands around Nottinghamshire and Derby, and the batch of niche terms are only heard in Coventry and Liverpool.
The North of England gave the greatest variation of terms, with the North East saying the bun was the only acceptable term, while the barm was also popular in Liverpool and Manchester.
The researchers wrote: ‘Teacake 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, confined to East Manchester and areas such as Oldham and Rochdale.”
The results, published in May in the Linguistic Geography Journalaim to help keep up with changes in the British lexicon.
The researchers also aimed to pinpoint the North-South divide in the UK by looking at how respondents pronounced specific words.
The decider was whether the words “foot” and “cut” rhymed, which separates the traditional accents on either side.
Four in five Northerners said their vowel sounds worked, but only one in 20 participants in the South agreed.
This suggests that the dividing line lies in the East Midlands cities of Derby and Leicester, but it becomes less clear in this region.
In Derby, 79% of people said cut and foot rhyme, and 79% of Nottinghamshire residents agreed.
Leicester, however, are now veering towards southern pronunciation with just 43% agreeing with their northern neighbours.
While in Northamptonshire only seven per cent speak with the traditional northern accent.
The researchers explain that, in the 1600s, foot and cut rhymed across the country until the infamous “foot-strut split”.
The vowel sound of “cut” was shortened in southern regions, while the north retained the traditional pronunciation, and it is still unclear exactly when or why this happened.
Answers to the question “Does foot and cut rhyme for you?” The light yellow areas represent the absence of phonemic separation. The researchers explain that, in the 1600s, foot and cut rhymed across the country until the infamous “foot-strut split”. The vowel sound of “cut” was shortened in the southern regions, while the northern retained the traditional pronunciation
Answers to the question ‘What’s your word for dinner?’. Light yellow areas represent respondents who chose the term tea. In London, 95% of people say dinner to describe their evening meal, but it’s almost halfway between Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Norfolk. However, in the northern regions, about two-thirds call it tea
The researchers also analyzed the different terms Britons use to describe their evening meal – either ‘tea’ or ‘dinner’.
In London, 95% of people say dine out, but it’s almost exactly halfway to Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Norfolk and Suffolk.
However, Northern regions largely refer to it as tea, but not all – 67% in the North West and North East, and 69% in Yorkshire.
The authors hypothesize that this is because people of higher socioeconomic status “resist the regional form” of the word.
They added: “In the 18th and 19th centuries, the wealthy upper classes ate their heaviest meal later in the evening, calling it dinner.
“The working classes, on the other hand, dined during the day and had tea in the evening as a source of sustenance after returning home from a long day’s work.”
Northern Accents Are Disappearing and Could BE DISAPPEARING by 2066
From the accessible dialect of Geordie to the instantly recognizable rhythm of Liverpool, many of England’s most distinctive accents come from the north.
But a new study has warned that northern accents could all but disappear in just 45 years.
Using physical modelling, researchers from the universities of Portsmouth and Cambridge have predicted how accents are likely to change across England by 2066.
Their findings suggest that northern accents could be replaced by “chic” southeast pronunciations.
However, some north-south differences should persist – we will continue to disagree on the pronunciation of “bath”, according to the researchers.