I was on the point of writing a post about how odd I'm finding it to be surrounded by people with regional accents (I should say, people with the same regional accent1), when I spotted a post on Birmingham accents by David, which in turn was commenting on a post at Language Log. There is a native Oxford accent (which most people would be able to identify as broadly 'rural'), but it is increasingly rare with so much of the population of Oxford composed of students or academics from across the world, tourists and London commuters.
The Brummie (an affectionate term for natives of Birmingham, for non-UK readers) accent does get a very bad press; the stupid/irritating/boring character in dramas is often given a Brummie accent. I'm not sure whether this is a cause or an effect of the negative attitude towards the accent. Unlike David, I rather like it, and find it sing-song and musical, somewhat like Welsh in the intonation. Part of the problem is that the accent given the the characters in dramas isn't real Brummie at all. As discussed on Language Log, the intonation is rising rather than falling in tone in general, and I for one don't find it depressing2. It's lovable, interesting and lilting. It helps that Birmingham people are very down-to-earth, and have a robust and dry sense of humour, even though they are often the butt of jokes — indeed, they are often the first to make fun of themselves.
Yowm awlroight, chick? Bosting!3. See, I'm picking it up already.
1 And of course I should further clarify, the same regional accent, but different from my own.
2 I would like to add that this has nothing to do with the fact that Brummies are currently responsible for the correct functioning of my new bathroom.
3 Before any pedants comment, I know this is strictly speaking a Black Country dialect, not a Birmingham one, but the accent itself is difficult to express in the written word as it's all in the intonation.