‘INNIT’, ‘ain’t’, and ‘peng’ are terms which might provoke a shudder from some, or a snort of derision from others.

In fact, baby boomers and Generation X may not even know where to begin when they hear the word ‘peng’ – take a look inside most dictionaries, and one assumes the term would have been erased by editors at the earliest opportunity.

But among Generation Z, which includes those born between 1997 and 2012, and Generation Alpha, which includes those born from 2010 onwards, such terms are another piece in the mosaic of modern lexicon.

Now, researchers specialising in language and linguistics are studying these words in a display as they look to raise awareness about such modern day terms, and why they are often attributed to Essex in various forms of popular culture.

Dr Amanda Cole, a sociologist, and Dr Ella Jeffries, a socio-linguist – both lecturers at the University of Essex – are documenting and celebrating Essex dialects by asking people to write their responses to three questions on post-it notes.

The questions asked people to write down what people in Essex say, what the different ways of speaking in Essex are, and which celebrities have an Essex accent.

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With each post-it note a different colour, they together combine to make a vibrant artwork called Speaking of Essex, which was put on display to the public on Saturday.

Dr Cole said: “The responses were varied and insightful.

“We got many duplicates of words like ‘innit’, ‘ain’t’, and ‘alright mate’, but we also got less predictable examples of things that people say in Essex such as ‘fink instead of think’, ‘seen rhyming with bin’, ‘calling someone a melt’, ‘sorted’, ‘that’s calm’, ‘peng’, ‘yous’ and ‘shew instead of shown’.

Also noted were differences between words used in north Essex and south Essex, words used by young and old, and by those who live in rural and urban parts of the county.

Also key to the research is the stigma surrounding the Essex accent.

Dr Cole added: “Essex, and its accents, face a lot of stigma.”

“People from Essex may be negatively stereotyped, judged, mimicked or commented on based on their accent, which can have harmful effects.”

The Speaking of Essex artwork will be available to view at the One Colchester Community Hub throughout November.