Mockney (a portmanteau of "mock" and "Cockney") is an affected accent and form of speech in imitation of Cockney or working class London speech, or a person with such an accent. A stereotypical Mockney speaker comes from an upper-middle class background.
A person speaking with a Mockney accent might adopt Cockney pronunciation but retain standard grammatical forms whereas the genuine Cockney speaker would use non-standard forms (e.g. negative concord).
The first published use of the word according to the Oxford English Dictionary was in 1967.
It is an affectation sometimes adopted for aesthetic or theatric purposes, other times just to sound “cool”, generate street credibility or give the false impression that the speaker rose from humble beginnings and became prominent through some innate talent rather than the education, contacts and other advantages a privileged background tends to bring. Britpop band Blur was said to have a “mockney, down-the-dogs blokey charm”. Mick Jagger is often accused of having been the first celebrity in modern times to overplay his regional accent in order to boost his street credibility.
One explanation of dialect adoption given in social linguistics is prestige. A person is likely to adopt speech patterns (including accent, vocabulary, dialect or even language) which they perceive as “prestigious”.
The concept of communication accommodation, either upwards or downwards in idiolect, can be seen in many social interactions. One can put someone at ease by speaking in a familiar tone or intonation, or one can intimidate or alienate someone by speaking more formally. For example, in a courtroom, a more formal register with technical legal jargon can be used to intimidate a defendant. In contrast, Mockney seeks to lower the perceived socio-economic class of the speaker.
Notable persons described as Mockney
- Damon Albarn (Ironically, Albarn was born in Whitechapel, which makes him a real Cockney, in the truest sense of the word)
- Lily Allen
- Nigel Kennedy
- Kate Nash
- Guy Ritchie
- Johnny Vaughan
- George Osborne
- Ben Elton
- Phill Jupitus
- Shane MacGowan
- Jamie Oliver
- Rogaliński, Paweł (2 March 2011). "British accents: Cockney and mockney |". Rogalinski.com.pl. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
- "mockney, n. and adj.". Oxford English Dictionary. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
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- Sullivan, Caroline (12 May 2006). "Lily Allen, Notting Hill Arts Club, London". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
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- McNulty, Bernadette (17 November 2008). "Let's hear it for the British pop babes". London: The Telegraph. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Thomas, Liz (21 October 2009). "Guy Ritchie, the mockney with a king in the family". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
- Swann, Yvonne (1 January 2010). "Me and my school photo: Johnny Vaughan remembers his boarding school beatings and drama classes with Rowan Atkinson". London: Mail Online. Retrieved 28 November 2013.
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