How do people talk in Manchester?
Compare with other locations in the UK


About our research

In the spring of 2013, students in LELA20072 Language Variation and Change at the University of Manchester set out to investigate the linguistic diversity present in British English. Under the direction of course leader Dr Laurel MacKenzie, they circulated questionnaires to their friends and families to target variation in lexis (word choice), phonology (pronunciation), and syntax (the construction of sentences). Over 1400 English speakers responded, ranging in age from 10 to 87, and spanning a geographical region from Moray to Cornwall. Manchester undergraduate student George Bailey has compiled the results into the following interactive Google maps that showcase regional patterns. Do you call a round bread a roll, a bap, a barm, or a cob? Do the words foot and strut rhyme to you? Take a look at our maps and see how you measure up to people from your home region!

How to use the maps

There are multiple ways to navigate through the interactive maps. To move around the maps, you can either click and drag with the mouse, use the four arrow keys on your keyboard, or click on the arrow buttons located at the top left of the map window. To zoom in and out, click on the [+] and [-] buttons at either end of the zoom slider located to the left of the map.

You can also click on each individual coloured point to bring up a window of detailed information for that particular speaker, such as their age, gender and ethnicity.

How to filter the data

Applying filters to the dataset allows you to look at particular groups of individuals, such as the following:

  • All females
  • Everyone in the 21-30 age group
  • Everyone in the North West

You can also combine filters, to investigate even more detailed groups of people, such as all male teenagers from London. To apply these filters:

1. Click on the link beneath each map that takes you to Google Fusion Tables

2. Click on the Filter button found at the top left corner of the map

3. This opens a drop-down menu like the following:

Dropdown Menu

From here, click on the demographic feature you want to investigate

4. This lists all values the demographic feature can take. Tick the boxes of the values you'd like to display.


5. To clear your filter, simply click the Close button button at the top right corner of the filter panel.