Television

BBC's project 'Voices' examines different accents, dialects in the UK

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MUMBAI: The BBC's DG Mark Thompson presented leading academic institutions in the UK with recordings of more than 1,000 people from all parts of the UK talking to the BBC about their dialect and accent.

The recordings, which will be preserved for future research into the English language, were made for the BBC's Voices project – the biggest-ever exploration of language, accent and dialect in the UK. The BBC claims that it is the largest set of linguistic fieldwork interviews ever conducted, and involved asking people to tell the BBC about what they say and the way they say it.

Voices was a BBC-wide celebration and investigation into language, accent and dialect in the UK which culminated in a week of broadcasting in August 2005 across all the BBC's local and national radio stations round the UK – as well as special programming on BBC ONE, BBC TWO, BBC FOUR, BBC Radio 4, 1Xtra and online on bbc.co.uk.

Language expert Professor David Crystal, called the Voices Recordings "the most significant popular survey of regional English ever undertaken in Britain."

Extracts from the Voices recordings can be heard online by clicking on an interactive map at bbc.co.uk/voices. The recordings were made over a six-month period by 50 BBC journalists based at each of the BBC's local and nations radio stations, in conjunction with the School of English at the University of Leeds. Thompson will present complete sets of all the Voices recordings and interviews to representatives of The British Library and the University of Leeds.

These included the BBC Two documentary Word on the Street and the six-part Radio 4 series Word 4 Word. The Voices team is also ensuring that the results of a series of online surveys run on bbc.co.uk/voices - to which 63,000 members of the public contributed - will be deposited with the universities at Leeds and Cardiff and also with the Centre for Deaf Studies in Bristol.

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