The Manc perspective

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This morning's Get Fuzzy:

The OED's entry for Manc:

A. n. = Mancunian n.

1961 E. PARTRIDGE Dict. Slang Suppl. s.v., Manc, a native of Manchester. 1985 Washington Post 15 June A16/4 Manchester United supporters sometimes refer to themselves as ‘Mancs’, and the one thing a Manc hates more than anything else is a Skouse [sic]. 1991 New Musical Express 16 Mar. 22/1 Hacienda DJ and general top Manc Dave Booth has a new night of wax spinning, this time in London. 1994 Loaded Sept. 16/4 Only a sad Manc would rise to the bait over your well-written article on Italian football Ultras.

B. adj. = Mancunian adj.

1991 Vox July 13/4 All of this should indicate..that Waterman expects the charts to swing back to The Stones Roses, Happy Mondays and charlatans{em}the famed Manc sound. 1999 Select Feb. 104/1 Start the year charitably by attending this one-off from the Manc work-hards cruelly deprived of supporting the most righteous man in Britain by his four-month jail sentence.

I'm not competent to judge whether Darby Conley's representation of Mancunian English is accurate.


  1. Ray Girvan said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 7:25 am

    The dialect words and phrases are right, but the trouble is that some of them – "Cor … bang out of order … innit" – are strongly characteristic of Cockney, so to me it reads like some peculiar hybrid: Mancunian slang spoken in a Bob Hoskins accent.

  2. Roderick Glossop said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 8:05 am

    It is instructive that almost all of the OED's citations for "Manc" are taken from the music papers and the lads' mags. The term is used here principally to refer to a particular type of young "mad for it" Mancunian – hence the references to the Stone Roses, the Haçienda and Man U – rather than a generic inhabitant of the city.

    And if you're not qualified to pass judgement on the accuracy of the language, then what, precisely, was the purpose of your post?

  3. Matthew Austin said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 10:44 am

    Ray – is "innit" really Cockney? It always stikes me as a marker of second-generation Indian/Pakistani 'youf speak'.

    Roderick – I can't possibly claim to know what motivated the original post, but even if Mark doesn't feel qualified to comment on the 'authenticity' of the Mancunian speech in the cartoon, it was certainly entertaining and has sparked discussion. Surely that's reason enough?

  4. Josh Millard said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 10:53 am

    To…inquire on the accuracy of the language? To make note of Conly's playful incorporation of purported Mancery, regardless of its accuracy?

    In short, to blog, sir, would be my guess. Why the grumpery?

  5. Mark Liberman said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 11:32 am

    What Josh said.

  6. parvomagnus said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 11:40 am

    Presumably, to reiterate that he is, indeed, "one of the most fearsome authority-figures in the Wodehouse canon who is not an aunt." Perhaps he suspected you of some psychological abnormality?

  7. Ray Girvan said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 2:13 pm

    > Ray – is “innit” really Cockney?
    From where I come from (southern England, born mid-1950s), I recall it as a widespread Southern working-class English contraction for "isn't it". The OED concurs: "vulg. form of isn't it", with various 1960s citations. The use as a general affirmation – regardless of whether "isn't it?" would be correct for the context – must have grown up post-1980s (it has a flavour of Harry Enfield's Stavros, who melded Greek Cypriot and Cockney).

  8. Ray Girvan said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 3:24 pm

    OED concurs
    PS I'm not making a prescriptivist statement there – just noting the match of time-slots for the older meaning I remember. The OED hasn't caught up with the newer one.

  9. Adrian Bailey said,

    May 2, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

    aPv0: This play was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 this afternoon:
    The Playwright and the Grammarian
    By Marcy Kahan
    "Four people’s lives are irrevocably changed by a single Afternoon Play. A comedy about knowing your nominatives from your accusatives."

  10. Arnold Zwicky said,

    May 3, 2008 @ 10:45 am

    On invariant "innit": the form (and other related forms) has been innovated, apparently independently, in many places and at many times, and then spread. It was stereotypical Cockney by the mid-20th century. (It doesn't seem to appear in Pygmalion or My Fair Lady, however.) More recently, "innit" — with discourse functions much broader than as a fixed question tag — has spread from London and now seems to be associated with urban working-class youth culture. Here's a quote from Peter Trudgill to the American Dialect Society mailing list on 10 September 2003:
    There is an enormous body of literature on the invariant tag innit in English English, The origin appears to be in London-based Caribbean-influenced varieties, where it seems to have served originally as a 'translation' of Caribbean English Creole 'no?". It is worth noticing that such invariant tags are very common in areas where English has a history of being learnt as a second language e.g Welsh English invariant "isn't it?"; broad South African English "is it?"; West African English "is it?", Indian English "isn't it?"; Singaporean English "isn't it?/ is it?" [some bibliography follows]

    (The archives of the ADS-L can be searched at )

    And on Language Log Classic, check out postings #2127, 3024, and 5129 (plus #5130, from me, with some cites from the tv show Metrosexuality).

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