New study says northern accent could be 'wiped out' in 45 years

A new study has found that northern accents and pronunciations of words could be wiped out in England within the next 45 years.

Researchers from the universities of Portsmouth and Cambridge say the Yorkshire lilt will be replaced by southern accents - and words like ‘strut’ will lose their northern sound - no longer pronounced to rhyme with ‘foot.’ 

As well as changes in pronunciation, the researchers predict that some words will fall out of use altogether. The study predicts that the word ‘backend’ -  used to describe autumn in the north - will completely disappear within two decades. However, some words like "bath" are so strongly entrenched in their regional variants that they are predicted to survive.

Dr James Burridge from the University of Portsmouth, who is part of the team leading the study, said the changes have been driven by migration as well as other factors including teaching in schools, television, or because people naturally adopt an easier way of pronouncing a word.

He said: "We built a physics model, which accounted for people moving around their home location and sometimes going further afield - for instance for jobs or marriage - and we also accounted for how people learn language.

"We ran the model with correct population distributions and migration patterns in the 1900s and then rolled it forward to 2000. We then compared the model maps to the dialect maps and found that our modelling could predict how English language will evolve over the next 40 years or so."