If you’ve ever been to Liverpool, one thing you surely remember about Liverpudlians (no really, that’s what they’re called) is their distinctive accent. If you haven’t been to Liverpool and you think you know what they sound like there, read on.
“Scouse,” as the accent is called, is an expressive, melodic speech comprised of emphatic vowels punctuated with harsh rasps. Think less of the Beatles (their accents were rather posh by the time we got to know them) and more of … well, there are surprisingly few good examples of Liverpool accents in mainstream US TV and movies — odd, because they’re very popular in UK television. “Hollyoaks”, for example is set in a fictional suburb of nearby Chester and is a goldmine for Scouse, both real and feigned. Dancin’ Through the Dark has some proper Scousers, if you can get your hands on it.
The BBC attributes Scouse to Irish and Welsh influences in Liverpool, and calls it a fairly new dialect, noting that it only developed a distinction from the Lancashire accent in the mid 19th century. Today, teenagers speak fairly differently from their grandparents, a sign that the accent is still evolving.
On my recent trip to Liverpool, I happened to meet one particularly choice Scouser — none other that Erica Dillon from Visit Liverpool. She graciously permitted me to tape her accent, so I got her talking about Liverpool, and here it is, folks.