Bread roll, bun or bap? Scientists reveal Britain’s favourite term for its lunchtime loaf

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A debate that divides the country like no other – what do you call your lunch bread?

These miniature, round loaves of bread have claimed a variety of somewhat regional names, with carb aficionados determined that their designation is the “correct one.”

Researchers from the Universities of Lancaster, York and New York have collected each of the titles to discover where they come from, as part of a study of dialects in Britain.

This included the “bap” and “bun,” as well as lesser-known terms like “cob,” “batch,” and “barm cake.”

After surveying more than 14,000 native speakers of English, the most popular name was ‘sandwich’.

The survey also asked participants about their preferred term for dinner and determined the north-south distribution by how they pronounced “cut” and “foot.”

Answers to the question 'What is your word for a small round loaf of bread?'  Light yellow areas represent respondents who chose the indicated variant

Answers to the question ‘What is your word for a small round loaf of bread?’ Light yellow areas represent respondents who chose the indicated variant

Bun is a term widely used in England, South Wales and Scotland while bap was the favorite of North Wales, the West Midlands and Staffordshire

HOW ENGLISH CHANGES

backend – Used in place of the autumn that has disappeared from the north of England

shiver – Once common in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, now replaced by splinter

splinter – Used in Sussex, Cambridgeshire and Kent but now replaced by splinter

play – A regional word used for splinter found Lancashire and Carlisle, but is no longer used

Spell – Middle English for splinter, was still used in northern England in the 1950s, but has now disappeared

game – Used instead of splinter in Blackburn and Bolton but now replaced

to spill – Only seen in a few places on the Welsh border in the 1950s, but now completely gone

coil – Used by people in Huddersfield in the 50’s but now replaced by splitter

Fifteen percent of people speak three with an f compared to just 2 percent in the 1950s

The southern pronunciation of ‘butter‘ – with a vowel as in put – has spread to the north

Bun is a term widely used in England, South Wales and Scotland, while bap was the favorite of North Wales, the West Midlands and Staffordshire.

Cob dominates in the East Midlands around Nottinghamshire and Derby, and the niche term can only be heard in Coventry and Liverpool.

The North of England gave the greatest variety of terms, with the Northeast arguing that bun was the only acceptable term, while barm was also popular in Liverpool and Manchester.

The researchers wrote: ‘Teacake spans the eastern half of Lancashire (Blackburn, Burnley) and the western half of West Yorkshire (Bradford and areas around Leeds).

‘Muffin is arguably the most geographically localized, limited to East Manchester and areas such as Oldham and Rochdale.’

The findings, published in May in the Journal of Linguistic Geographyintended to keep track of changes in the British lexicon.

The researchers also tried to pinpoint the North-South divide in the UK by looking at how the respondents pronounced specific words.

The decision was whether the words “foot” and “cut” rhyme, separating the traditional accents of each side.

Four out of five northerners said their vowels marched, but only one in twenty participants in the south agreed.

This suggests that the dividing line is in the East Midlands cities of Derby and Leicester, but becomes less clear in this region.

In Derby, 79 percent of people said cut and foot rhyme rhyme, and 79 percent of Nottinghamshire residents agree.

However, Leicester is now bending to the southern verdict, with only 43 percent agreeing with their northern neighbors.

In Northamptonshire, only seven percent speak the traditional northern accent.

The researchers explain that in the 17th century, foot and cut across the country rhymed with the infamous ‘foot-strut split’.

The vowel sound of ‘cut’ was shortened in southern regions, while the north kept the traditional pronunciation, and it is still unclear when and why this happened.

Answers to the question 'Do foot and cut rhyme for you?'  Pale yellow areas represent the absence of a phonemic split.  The researchers explain that in the 17th century, foot and cut across the country rhymed with the infamous 'foot-strut split'.  The vowel sound of 'cut' was shortened in southern regions, while the north kept the traditional pronunciation

Answers to the question 'Do foot and cut rhyme for you?'  Pale yellow areas represent the absence of a phonemic split.  The researchers explain that in the 17th century, foot and cut across the country rhymed with the infamous 'foot-strut split'.  The vowel sound of 'cut' was shortened in southern regions, while the north kept the traditional pronunciation

Answers to the question ‘Do foot and cut rhyme for you?’ Pale yellow areas represent the absence of a phonemic split. The researchers explain that in the 17th century, foot and cut across the country rhymed with the infamous ‘foot-strut split’. The vowel sound of ‘cut’ was shortened in southern regions, while the north kept the traditional pronunciation

Answers to the question 'What's your word for dinner?'  Light yellow areas represent respondents who chose the term tea.  In London 95 percent of people say dinner to describe their evening meal, but in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Norfolk it's almost half way.  In the northern regions, however, about two-thirds call it tea

Answers to the question 'What's your word for dinner?'  Light yellow areas represent respondents who chose the term tea.  In London 95 percent of people say dinner to describe their evening meal, but in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Norfolk it's almost half way.  In the northern regions, however, about two-thirds call it tea

Answers to the question ‘What’s your word for dinner?’ Light yellow areas represent respondents who chose the term tea. In London 95 percent of people say dinner to describe their evening meal, but in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Norfolk it’s almost half way. In the northern regions, however, about two-thirds call it tea

The researchers also analyzed the different terms Britons use to describe their evening meal – either ‘tea’ or ‘dinner’.

In London 95 percent of people say dinner, but in Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Norfolk and Suffolk it’s almost exactly halfway.

However, the northern regions largely call it tea, but not all – 67 percent in the North West and North East and 69 percent in Yorkshire.

The authors hypothesize that this is because people of higher socioeconomic status “resist the regional form” of the word.

They added: ‘In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the wealthy upper classes ate their largest meal later in the evening and called it dinner.

“The working class, on the other hand, would dine during the day and high tea in the evening as a source of sustenance after coming home from a long day of work.”

Northern accents are dying out and may DISAPPEAR in 2066

From the accessible Geordie dialect to the instantly recognizable Liverpool song, many of England’s most distinctive accents come from the north.

But a new study has warned that northern accents could nearly disappear in just 45 years.

Using physics models, researchers at the Universities of Portsmouth and Cambridge predicted how accents in England are likely to change by 2066.

Their findings suggest that northern accents could be replaced by “chic” southeastern pronunciations.

However, certain north-south differences are predicted to persist — we will continue to disagree over the pronunciation of “bad,” the researchers said.

Read more here

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