Experts slam ‘racist’ internet trolls for mocking Nadine Coyle’s accent

Academics have blasted “racist” trolls attacking Nadine Coyle’s accent.

The former Girls Aloud star, from Derry, has been bombarded with dozens of negative comments about her strong regional tones.

Comments have included “I can’t listen to that accent for three weeks” and “Nadine’s accent is enough to send me over the edge”.

But experts in Northern Ireland say it is just a form of vile racism.

Dr Christina Sevdali (CORR), senior lecturer in linguistics at Ulster University, said attacking anyone for their accent is “unwarranted”.

She said: “An accent is part of our linguistic identity.

“People from Northern Ireland and from Derry in particular have a set of features that define their linguistic identity so that when someone hears them they can identify where they are from.

“In the way brown skin might identify you as being from one part of the world as another so in that sense our linguistic identity is related to our overall identity.

“If someone is attacked because of their linguistic identity that is a form of racism.”

Last week Nadine told the Daily Star she was proud of her Derry accent and denied claims it had changed through spells living in America and England.

And the 34-year-old added: “I think everybody has an accent, to me you have an accent, so unless you’re from Derry to me you have an accent.

“Everybody has a different accent so I think you have to listen to what people are saying.

“We’re speaking English, we’re speaking the same language so everybody should be able to understand me.”

Many of her fellow Derry natives also leapt to her defence.

Local councillor Eamonn McCann told Twitter users to “f*** away off, the lot of ye” at their abuse.

And he said: “I came across some of the stuff on social media and then saw the deluge of hostility and bile that was being poured on her that was out of proportion to anything.”

Mr McCann added: “There has been the odd crack about her Derry accent down through the years but nothing on this scale.

“This isn’t craic, this isn’t banter, this is hostility designed to humiliate.”

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