NORTHERN accents could die out in years to come, experts have warned. 

Yes, you read that right. It is feared that within just 45 years south eastern English pronunciations will be used across the UK. 

From Whey Aye man to Eeh Bah Gum, the North is famous for its unique vocabulary and range of accents. 

But scientists at Portsmouth and Cambridge universities found that the south eastern pronunciation of many words is slowly overtaking northern and western pronunciations.

Words like ‘strut’ which currently rhyme with ‘foot’ in northern England will stop rhyming, and the pirate`arrr’ in`farm’ will disappear from the south west. 

However, the scientists predict certain north-south differences will remain: we will continue to disagree about the pronunciation of `bath’. 

And it’s not just the pronunciation of words which will see a change. The model predicts that the word ‘backend’ - another word to describe ‘autumn’ in the north - will completely disappear within 20 years. 

Another word for autumn,`fall’, has already largely disappeared from its traditional region in the south west, though it still dominates in North America.

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Researchers compared data from two existing surveys to model dialect maps: The Survey of English dialects (SED) and the English dialect app (EDA). 

The SED interviewed older people from rural locations in the 1950s to get a picture of older English dialects. 

The EDA asked more than 50,000 English speakers to answer questions about their language usage through a smartphone app in 2016 and all but one of the questions duplicated the 1950s survey. 

Dr James Burridge, from the University’s School of Mathematics and Physics, said: “We found that comparing the two [studies] was a viable way of exploring language change in 20th Century English.

“We built a physics model, which accounted for people moving around their home location and sometimes going further afield - for instance for jobs or marriage - and we also accounted for how people learn language.”

Dr Burridge worked alongside linguist Dr Tamsin Blaxter, from the University of Cambridge, to apply the model. 

He said: “In about 1900, almost everybody said ‘thawing’ pronounced ‘thaw-wing’, but the majority of people now pronounce the word ‘thawing’ with an intrusive ‘r’, which means it sounds like ‘thaw-ring’. Our model predicts this change happened over about 25 years.

“We found that the word has changed because it was tricky to pronounce and children are more likely to pick up the easier pronunciation. This then becomes the norm.

However, it hasn’t changed everywhere yet because some major cities like Leeds and Manchester have rejected the change.”

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Dr Burridge explains that words can sometimes get ‘stuck’ creating boundaries between regions known as ‘isoglosses’. 

He said: “On an isogloss there is often no dominant pronunciation - or there may be different words for the same object or action - so children growing up on such a boundary have a hard time working out what the`right’ choice is, as they’re exposed to language on both sides. 

“The word thawing has kept its original pronunciation in some northern cities because there hasn’t been enough of a push to move the isogloss boundary through them.”

This follows the decline of words to describe snail, such as ‘dod-man’, ‘hodmedod’, ‘hoddy-dod’, ‘hoddy-doddy’, which faded from English language over the last century. 

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