Yesterday I did my weekly grocery shopping in a South London branch of Sainsbury’s. When I queried the price tag on a small piece of discounted cheese, the assistant on the deli counter replied: “It’ll be reducted at the till.”
That’s the plain English version. Now I’m not sure how best to phoneticise glottal stops, but what came out of the young lady’s mouth was something like: “I’aw be red’uc’ed a’ da tiw.” And she had considerable difficulty comprehending the meaning of “300 grammes”.
Moving on to the bakery section, I happened upon a conversation between a 40-something woman assistant and a teenage male colleague. The details escape me now, but their discourse was earnest, involved and respectful, and there was lots of eye contact.
Like the young lady at the deli, the female bakery assistant is a working class girl with a strong local accent. But unlike her workmate she is highly articulate and her diction is crystal clear.
She began the final sentence of the conversation with: “And consequently…”, and my faith in humanity was momentarily restored.