Salience and the sociolinguistics of Scouse spelling
Exploring the phonology of the Contemporary Humorous Localised Dialect Literature of Liverpool
In this article we investigate a phenomenon in which non-standard spelling is normal in professionally produced, published English. Specifically, we discuss the literary genre of Contemporary Humorous Localised Dialect Literature (CHLDL), in which semi-phonological spellings are used to represent aspects of non-standard varieties. Our aims are twofold: 1) we provide, by example, a framework for the quantitative analysis of such types of dialect orthography, which treats respellings as linguistic variables, and 2) we argue that this type of quantitative analysis of CHLDL can shed light on which phonological features are sociolinguistically salient in a given variety, as long as we bear in mind both what is possible orthographically and the phonological status of the dialect features involved. We explore these issues by investigating a corpus of ‘folk phrasebooks’ which represent the variety of English spoken in Liverpool (Scouse), in the north-west of England.
Keywords: orthography, dialect spelling, sociolinguistic salience, Scouse, Liverpool English, phonological salience
Published online: 11 October 2013
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