Edited by Hans Van de Velde, Nanna Haug Hilton and Remco Knooihuizen
[Studies in Language Variation 25] 2021
► pp. 161–180
Liverpool English, or “Scouse”, is a dialect often used by speakers in Merseyside. This study involves the use of word-list elicitation and semi-structured group interviews with adolescents from two schools in Merseyside: one in Liverpool, and one on the Wirral. Analysis of the elicited vowels of the square and nurse lexical sets shows that Wirral speakers orient themselves to Liverpool pronunciations to an extent, using nurse fronting in unexpected ways to achieve varying linguistic and social goals. The qualitative data shows that Merseyside speakers are highly aware of the social markedness of Scouse, with Wirral speakers using Liverpool forms to identify themselves as local Merseyside speakers, but not “Scousers”. Participants from both schools intentionally engage in style-shifting of local dialect in order to construct unique identities for themselves.
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