How old is the ‘Bristol L’?

By Richard Coates

Issue 20, Autumn, 2009 pp.39-41.

Everybody with an interest in the vernacular speech of the Bristol area is familiar with the so-called ‘Bristol L’. It is the most widely known and widely recognised feature of the city accent, and the one which distinguishes the city from rural Gloucestershire and Somerset. Richad Coates explores the history of the Bristol ‘L’, seeking to uncover just how long this conspicuous marker of a native Bristolian has been part of the local vernacular. 

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