King Richard III may have had a brummie accent: Experts
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Last Updated: Thursday, February 07, 2013, 09:12
  
London: King Richard III, the 15th-century English monarch made famous by Shakespeare for his lines "a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse", probably had a brummie accent, spoken by natives of Birmingham in England, claim language experts.

The finding, which examined two letters penned by the monarch, came just days after DNA tests confirmed that the skeleton found under a Leicester car park was that of Richard, the last king of Plantagenet dynasty, which ruled England for over three hundred years, from 1154 to 1485.

Despite being the patriarch of the House of York, Richard likely spoke with an accent associated with West Midlands rather than northern England, according to language expert Philip Shaw, from the University of Leicester's School of English.

"That's an accent you might well see in London," Shaw said.

Birmingham has a large Indian population and Indians from Birmingham often mystify their relatives in India with their strange accent.

"Unlike today, individuals were more likely to spell words in ways that reflected their local dialect. Therefore, by looking at Richard's writing, I was able to pinpoint spellings that may provide some clues to his accent," Shaw said.

For example, elongated vowels are a distinctive aspect of Richard's speech patterns, Discovery News reported.

"There are interesting differences with words like 'say' and 'pray' and 'fail' where we have this 'a' sound which is what we call a diphthong - a glide from one sound to another," Shaw said. He noted that Richard may well have used a pure vowel in his speech, something like 'saa' or 'praa' rather than "say" and "pray".

According to Shaw, the two postscripts show at least one spelling that may suggest a West Midlands accent.

"There's nothing to suggest a Yorkshire accent in the way that he writes, I'm sorry to say for anyone who associates him with Yorkshire," Shaw said.

The researcher used two letters penned by England's last medieval king more than 500 years ago to investigate Richard III's language, spelling and grammar.

While secretaries would have written most of the king's letters, two missives seem to be original.

One letter was written in 1469, when Richard was still the Duke of Gloucester, the other dates to 1483, when he was king.

A personal note also appears in the second letter, revealing Richard's urgent call for the Great Seal, a seal in UK to symbolise the monarchy's approval of important state documents.

William Shakespeare in his play 'Richard III' has immortalised the Battle of Bosworth which led to the monarch's death in 1485.

The play describes a scene when the king loses his horse and on finding himself afoot, cries out, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"

PTI


First Published: Thursday, February 07, 2013, 09:12


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