The much loved, warm, friendly and welcoming sound of the Rhondda Valleys’ accent is in demise and it’s all because of new technology it has emerged.
As the internet of things grows, and more and more valley folk try to keep up with the Jones’ by buying the latest high tech gadgets, homes all over the Rhondda are being kitted out with voice activated automation systems such as Amazon’s Echo.
The trouble is, such devices don’t really cope well with the Rhondda Valleys’ accent, according to one man from Tonypandy.
Paul Grunt from Glandwr Terrace, just up the hill from Home Bargains, thought he’d impress his friends and neighbours with his latest home automation gadgets such as internet ready lightbulbs, a heating thermostat and a voice automation system.
Paul’s voice activated home automation system allowed him to simply speak commands at home, such as…
“Turn the passage light on.”,
“Play my Catatonia playlist.”,
“Text Mam to tell her I’m home safe.”,
“Turn the heating up a bit. ”
Mr Grunt soon discovered that he had to say the commands over and over again, speaking a little bit less valleys each time, until the system could understand him.
This had a serious side affect. Basically in the first month that Paul used the system, his strong valley’s accent got a little bit posher every day. So much so, that by the end of the third week when we interviewed Paul, he had gone all posh, and it was like interviewing someone from up London.
“It was quite ridiculous, don’t you know,” said Mr Grunt, “I found one had to change one’s voice in order to make the damn thing understand one’s commands.”
“It had no idea where the passage light was, so one had to change it to the hallway light,” he continued, “plus, one had to stop saying the words but or butty after every sentence.”
Paul had also lost the ability to use double negatives in a sentence.
Professor Luke Hog, an expert in language and accents, told My Rhondda News, “As voice activated devices become more common place, it’s only a matter of time before the entire UK speak using the same accent, even Maerdy.”
The second problem Paul faced was after talking all posh to the device, he had totally lost the ability to speak like someone from the valleys, and got beaten up for sounding too posh when he ordered a pint in his local.