Speaking in tongues

People say you are what you eat, but I would also propose that you are what you speak.

I've often found myself in situations where I'm either to posh or too coarse to fit in, and I feel that it's the way that I speak, more than anything else, that determines this.

I like to try and move in as many different circles as I can, and language can be such in interesting window into different worlds, mindsets and outlooks.

Paintings don't make much noise, but often I do hear a voice (should I be worried?) while creating a character on the canvas or page.

Usually Southern British, it can range from the plummy, elegantly articulated tones of Received Pronunciation to the yawing, babbling chatter of Cockney.

Yet the sound I hear on East London busses these days isn't traditional Cockney – it's a new inner city dialect that has bubbled up within the past few decades.

I'm normally not too bad at accents, but I find it hard to capture the back-of-the-mouth, low-timbre sounds of what has been dubbed 'Multicultural London English'.

With influences from Cockney, Jamaican, Caribbean and South Asian dialects, the spread of MLE has transformed the way East London sounds in just one generation.

People use language to self-identify, and I find it really fascinating to learn about the new lingo and expressions that young people, particularly, devise to mark themselves as different to the 'olders, innit'. It helps to inform my characters and build their worlds... if not my own.