London Migrant English to Become Dominant Linguistic Dialect in the UK within 100 Years
A form of English heavily influenced by the speech of London-swelling immigrants is on track to become the dominant dialect in the UK within 100 years, an Oxford University academic claims.
Researchers specialising in linguistics are predicting Multicultural London English, abbreviated to MLE, a form of English shaped heavily by migrant communities in London will become the number one dialect in Britain within the next 100 years.
Multicultural London English, is already reported as having become prominent within the UK capital, pushing alternative dialects such as the once-ubiquitous Cockney accent, or the traditional professional voice of ‘Received Pronunciation’ (RP) to extinction.
According to a report on the findings in The Telegraph, MLE — a dialect greatly influenced by Jamaican immigrants, as well as arrivals from the middle-east and the Indian subcontinent — is likely to become dominant thanks to its influential cultural position at the hearts of many migrant-dominated British cities.
The dialect has a prominent place on social media, as well as in cultural touchstones popular with the country’s youth, such as the ‘Grime’ genre of music, helping it spread its influence to children widely.
“London, being the economic and cultural centre, drives these changes. We have seen that across the last hundred years, and we will see that across the next 100 years,” the publication reports Prof Matt Gardner of Oxford University as saying.
“What we will likely see is this multiethnolect [a dialect built upon the influence of multiple ethnic groups] spread geographically close to London, in the south-east, but also in other major cities, and then outwards from those cultural centres,” he continued.
As a result, there is a possibility that certain terms from MLE will become prominent across Britain, such as the word “wasteman” — meaning someone who does little of note or worth — or “ching”, which means stab.
However, what researchers believe is more likely is that the grammar — and less so the vocabulary — will make its way into widespread use, with individual linguistic terms being more prone to seismic fluctuations in popularity compared to the structure of the spoken and written word.
Such features include dropping prepositions in certain sentences — so that “I went to the bank” becomes “I went bank” — as well as regularising the past tense to use “was”, so that “we were eating” becomes “we was eating”.
This destruction of long-established grammatical norms is already widespread in places like London but has yet to permeate elsewhere.
The rise of MLE comes with the fall of other major dialects in London, perhaps most notably the Cockney accent so often associated with the British capital.
Despite commonly being associated with stereotypical working-class Londoners, the dialect is now reportedly almost as alien to those in London as it is to those outside it according to a study released back in 2012.
The rhyming slang-filled variant of English is now firmly on the endangered list, with one Professor having previously estimated that it will be “brown bread” before 2040.
“We’re still alive and kicking, but we’re hanging by a thread,” one speaker told the Londonist website in 2019, while another said that many familiar with the dialogue have left London due to the city’s exorbitant living costs.