Accents change

Last week there were several complaints about the “Edinburgh accent” used by the actor Martin Clunes in the ITV series Arthur and George. He was playing the part of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

So exactly what was Doyle’s accent in his mature years? He left Edinburgh at the age of nine to attend a boarding school in Lancashire, then another in Austria.

During his time studying medicine at Edinburgh University he worked in Birmingham, Sheffield and Shropshire, then set up as a doctor at various places on the south coast of England, and in London.

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As anyone who has ever journeyed beyond their wee bit hill and glen knows well, one’s accent becomes moderated, simply for convenience of communication.

It isn’t a matter of trying to talk posh, it’s simply a matter of making oneself readily understood.

Jack Oliver

Edinburgh