Right of Reply: Phil Redmond

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The Independent Culture
The creator of Brookside reacts

to claims that

the scouse accent

is dying out

NOT SO long ago a minor novelist made a remark after what was reported as a convivial lunch about how all scousers should have elocution lessons to get rid of their ghastly accent. This week a minor academic suggested that that very same accent is already on its way out, not by Liverpudlians following the path of Educating Rita, but courtesy of the London media.

Accents are influenced by geographical settings and the people who live and pass through them. The scouse accent evolved from its Lancashire roots after the influx of the Irish community and the growth of Liverpool's port. As those influences declined, so others rose: travel, social mobility and, more influentially, the media.

The strength of the English language is that it is a living, changing thing. It was not so long ago that my long hair was still fashionable, and so was anyone with an accent like The Beatles'. The problems come when people start to associate a stereotyped accent with social class. That is the real problem of a media based in London. For the easy life it picks easy targets - scousers.

Perhaps what we should be sensing from the latest piece of scousology is a warning: if regional accents are being eroded by national TV and being replaced by an homogenous twang, what else will suffer? The same process is at work in the arts, in politics and at work. The BBC could do worse than change its motto from "Nation Shall Speak Unto Nation" to "Region Shall Speak Unto Region - First".

After all, if the scouse accent really does some people's heads in, imagine how gobsmacked they'll be when we're all, well, like, saying strike a light Queen, fink that's sound do you, well it ain't, it's really well sad - and then some - right?

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