By the middle of the century, the “th” sound will have vanished from the English spoken in London due to the high level of immigrants who cannot pronounce it, linguists have said.
In a study that shows the impact immigration is having on the English language, academics at the University of York say that Estuary English, the dialect currently spoken in London and south east England, will gradually be replaced by a heavily migrant-influenced English.
One of the first things to go will be the “th” sound, which will be replaced with “f”, “v” or “d”, so “mother” could become “muvver” and “think” will evolve into “fink”.
The Telegraph reports that Multicultural London English, which is influenced by the capital’s Asian, African and Caribbean communities, will also soften some words so “cute” will be pronounced “coot” and “beauty” becomes “booty”.
Also the letters “l” and “t” will be dropped from the ends of words, so “text” will be “tex” and the name “Paul” will be the same as “paw”.
The changes may affect all sections of society all the way up to the Royal Family. By the time Prince George is on the throne, the “King’s English” will sound very different to today’s Queen’s English.
Dr Dominic Watt, Senior Lecturer at the University of York, said: “Given the status of London as the linguistically most influential city in the English-speaking world, we can expect to see significant changes between now and the middle of the century.
“The major changes in the way we speak over the next 50 years will involve a simplification of the sound structure of words, they’ll become shorter probably.
“By looking at how English has changed over the last 50 years we can identify patterns that seem to repeat. British accents seem to be less based on class these days.
“Languages also change when they come into contact with one another. English has borrowed thousands of words from other languages: mainly French, Latin and Greek, but there are ‘loan words’ from dozens of other languages in the mix.”