The Full Wiki

Scouse: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.
Location of Merseyside within England.

Scouse (pronounced /ˈskaʊs/) is the accent and dialect of English found in the city of Liverpool and also in some adjoining urban areas of Merseyside. This is particularly strong within areas of neighbouring boroughs of south Sefton and Knowsley.

The variety of Scouse spoken on the Wirral has several differences in speech patterns and pronunciation and has been referred to as 'posh scouse'. Wirral inhabitants are often and somewhat negatively referred to as plastic scousers.

There are more variations found in the new town areas of Runcorn and Skelmersdale and also in Ellesmere Port in south Wirral.

The Scouse accent is highly distinctive, and sounds wholly different from the accents used in the neighbouring regions of Cheshire and rural Lancashire. Even within the Merseyside county itself, accents in St Helens and Southport, for example, are by contrast quite different and are more Lancastrian. Scousers would often call people from outside their region as "woollybacks".

Inhabitants of Liverpool are called Liverpudlians but are more often described by the colloquialism Scousers. [1]


History of the accent

The roots of the accent can be traced back to the large numbers of immigrants into Liverpool in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries including those from the Isle of Man, Wales, Scandinavia, Germany, Scotland and, most substantially, Ireland.[citation needed] The influence of these different speech patterns became apparent in Liverpool, distinguishing the accent of its people from those of the surrounding Lancashire and Cheshire areas. It is only recently that Scouse has been treated as a cohesive accent/dialect; for many years, Liverpool was simply seen as a melting pot of different accents with no one to call its own.[citation needed]

The early dialect researcher A.J. Ellis said that Liverpool [and Birkenhead] had "no dialect proper".[2] The Survey of English Dialects did investigate Halewood, which is just outside the city council boundaries. However, no audio recording was ever taken from the site, and all the notes were done in phonetic transcriptions.

Phonological features

Scouse is noted for a fast, highly accented manner of speech, with a range of rising and falling tones not typical of most of northern England.

Irish influences include the pronunciation of the name of the letter 'h' as /heɪtʃ/ and the 2nd Person plural (you) as 'youse/yous' /juːz/.

There are variations on the Scouse accent, with the south side of the city adopting a softer, lyrical tone, and the north a rougher, more gritty accent. Those differences, though not universal, can be seen in the pronunciation of the vowels. The northern half of the city more frequently pronounces words such as 'book' and 'cook' differently, whereas the southern half of the city is closer to the RP English pronunciation of these words. The use of a long /uː/ in such words was once used across the whole of Britain, but is now confined to the more traditional accents of Northern England and Scotland.[3]

RP English Scouse
[ʊ] as in 'book' [uː]
[ʊ] as in 'cook' [uː]

The Scouse accent of the early 21st century is markedly different in certain respects from that of earlier decades.[citation needed]. The Liverpool accent of the 1950s and before was more a Lancashire-Irish hybrid. But since then, as with most accents and dialects, Scouse has been subject to phonemic evolution and change. Over the last few decades the accent is no longer a melange but has started to develop further. One could compare the way George Harrison and John Lennon spoke in the old Beatles films such as A Hard Day's Night and compare with modern Scousers such as Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Harrison pronounced the word 'fair' more like the standard English 'fur' - as Cilla Black does still. This is a pure Lancashire trait but modern Scousers do it the other way round pronouncing 'fur' like 'fair'. Huge changes have taken place in Scouse vowels, which show astonishing length and exaggeration at times in words like 'read' but conversely shorter than standard in a word like 'sleep'. A final 'er' is a sound whilst pronounced 'schwa' in surrounding Lancashire and Cheshire is emphasised strongly as the 'e' in 'pet' /pɛt/. In a strong Scouse accent, the phoneme /k/ in all positions of a word except the beginning can be realised as /x/ or sometimes /kx/.

RP English Old Scouse Modern Scouse
[ɜː] as in 'fur' [ɜː] [ɛː]
[ɛə] as in 'square' [ɜː] [ɛː]
[riːd] as in 'read' [iː] [iː]
[sliːp] as in 'sleep' [iː] [iː]
[bʌtə] as in 'butter' [bʊtə] [bʊtɛ]
[fɔːk] as in 'fork' [fɔːx] [fɔːx]

Even if Irish accents are rhotic, meaning that they pronounce /r/ even before a consonant or a pause, Scouse is a non-rhotic accent, pronouncing /r/ only if it is followed by a vowel sound.

Rhotic Accent Scouse
[flɔːr] as in 'floor' [flɔː]
[wɝd] as in 'word' [wɛːd]

The use of the glottal stop as an allophone of /t/ can occur in various positions, including after a stressed syllable. This is called T-glottalisation and is particularly common amongst the younger speakers of the Scouse accent. /t/ may also be flapped intervocalically. /t/ and /d/ are often pronounced similarly to the fricatives /s/ and /z/.

The loss of dental fricatives, /ð/ and /θ/, was commonly attributed as being present due to Irish English influence. They were realised as /d/ and /t/ respectively. However, in the younger generation, this feature is being outnumbered by those who realise them as a labiodental fricatives.

  • /θ/ becomes /f/ in all environments. [θɪnk] becomes [fɪnk] for "think."
  • /ð/ becomes /v/ in all environments except word-initially, in which case it becomes /d/. [dɪðə] becomes [dɪvɛ] for "dither;" [ðəʊ] becomes [dəʊ] for "though."

The use of me instead of my was also attributed to Irish English influence: for example, "That's me book you got there" for "That's my book you got there". An exception occurs when "my" is emphasised: for example, "That's my book you got there" (and not his). The use of 'giz' instead of 'give'

International Recognition of the Dialect

Many people throughout the world, especially within Europe are acquainted to the term Scouse. Scouse is highly distinguishable from other English dialects and because of this international recognistion on 16 Sep 1996 Keith Szlamp made a request [4] to IANA for recognition of the dialect as a recognised Internet dialect. After citing a number of references [5][6][7][8][9] the application was accepted on the 25 May 2000 and now allows Internet documents that use the dialect to be categorised as 'Scouse' by using the language tag 'en-Scouse'.

Scouse-speaking personalities

See also Liverpudlians.

Scouse can be heard from:

In addition, the following fictional characters speak with a Scouse accent:


  1. ^ Chris Roberts, Heavy Words Lightly Thrown: The Reason Behind Rhyme, Thorndike Press,2006 (ISBN 0-7862-8517-6)
  2. ^ (495 KiB) page 2
  3. ^ Peter Trudgill, The Dialects of England, page 71, Blackwell, Oxford, 2000
  4. ^
  5. ^ Frank Shaw, Fritz Spiegl, Stan Kelly, Lern Yerself Scouse Volume 1: How to Talk Proper in Liverpool., Scouse Press (ISBN 978-0901367013)
  6. ^ Linacre Lane, Fritz Spiegl, Lern Yerself Scouse Volume 2: The ABZ of Scouse., Scouse Press (ISBN 978-0901367037)
  7. ^ Brian Minard, Lern Yerself Scouse Volume 3: Wersia Sensa Yuma?, Scouse Press (ISBN 978-0901367044)
  8. ^ Fritz Spiegl, Ken Allen, Lern Yerself Scouse Volume 4: The Language of Laura Norder., Scouse Press (ISBN 978-0901367310)
  9. ^ Szlamp, K.: The definition of the word 'Scouser', Oxford English Dictionary
  • Black, William. (2005). The Land that Thyme Forgot. Bantam. ISBN 0593 053621.  p. 348
  • Honeybone, P. (2001), Lenition inhibition in Liverpool English, English Language and Linguistics 5.2, pp213–249.
  • Marotta, G. and Barth, M., Acoustic and sociolingustic aspects of lenition in Liverpool English, Studi Linguistici e Filologici Online 3.2, pp377–413. Available onlinePDF (978 KiB) (including sound files).

Further reading

  • Shaw, F. and Spiegl, F. and Kelly, S., (1966). How to Talk Proper in Liverpool (Lern Yerself Scouse S.) Liverpool:Scouse Press. ISBN 0-901367-01-X
  • Wells, J. C. (1982). Accents of English 2: The British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-28540-2.

External links

See also

Other northern English dialects include


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also scouse



Wikipedia has an article on:




Scouse (not comparable)


not comparable

none (absolute)

  1. (Liverpudlian) Liverpudlian.

Derived terms

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address