Brummie Phonics: boy or bye?

When @Mr_Thorne uploaded his new ‘oi’ sound video on, it reminded me of a seminal experience I had when teaching a year 4 class in North Birmingham some 10 years ago.


I was teaching homophones and during the introduction, after a hesitant start, a boy enthusiastically joined the discussion with that face that just says: ‘I’ve got it!’ You know – that AHA moment that all teachers thrive on.


What he actually said was: “Oh, I know! It’s like ‘boy’ and ‘buoy!'”


I could have left it there. Moved on to the next child for more examples of homophones they could think of. But I was astounded: an eight year-old living in one of the most deprived council estates in Birmingham who knew the word ‘buoy’. I had to investigate the further.


So I asked “What do you mean, ‘boy’ and ‘buoy’?”


His response was “‘Boy’ as in me. And ‘buoy’ as in ‘buoy buoy’!”


And then he waved at me.


My turn to have an AHA moment! I realised: in Brummie (the Birmingham accent) ‘boy’ and ‘bye’ ARE homophones.


Anyone got any other interesting regional phonics stories?

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