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|Material Type:||Internet resource|
|Document Type:||Book, Internet Resource|
|All Authors / Contributors:||
|ISBN:||1846318394 9781846318399 1846318408 9781846318405|
|Description:||xvi, 190 pages ; 24 cm|
|Contents:||Acknowledgements Preface, Liverpool: Language, culture and history 1. The sea, slavery and strangers: observations on the making of early modern Liverpool and its culture 2. Language in Liverpool: the received history and an alternative thesis 3. Language and a sense of place: the beginnings of 'Scouse' 4. Frank Shaw and the founding of the 'Scouse industry' 5. What is 'Scouse'? Historical and theoretical issues 6. Liverpools: places, histories, differences Appendix: Stories of words: naming the place, naming the people Bibliography Index|
Thoroughly researched using an impressive range of sources from antiquarian to contemporary creative writing; and written with fluency and authority. This is the nearest thing to a definitive history of scouse. An enthralling book... Tony Crowley has written a book many of us have wanted to read for a long time. Can there be an archaeology of sound? Tony Crowley raids newspapers, journals, letters and his own memories in an attempt to trace the history of a manner of speaking. In doing so he tells the story of the rise and fall of a whole city, a way of life. This is an eccentric, creative, quixotic, scholarly and ultimately emotional book that is unlike anything else I've ever read. Paddy Shennan talks to Tony Crowley, the author of a new book about the language of Liverpool THERE will always be more questions than answers regarding this city, its people and their use of language," says Dingle-born author and academic Tony Crowley. But he's tried to answer a lot of them in his new book Scouse: A Social and Cultural History. So why are so many people so interested in the way Liverpool people speak, and what they say? Tony says: "It's a fascinating subject in a number of ways. First, 'Scouse' (although I prefer 'the language of Liverpool') is highly unusual from a linguistic point of view - just think of the sharp change which takes place when you get just a few miles away from Liverpool city centre. "Second, the language is of genuine interest to people from the city because it reflects and embodies the histories, traditions and cultural practices which have emerged in this place over the past couple of hundred years (both in terms of the accent and the words used here). "Third, I think people outside Liverpool are fascinated by its language (even when they despise it), because it's been an important vehicle for the development of British popular culture within the past 60 years or so. It's had an important role, representing itself and understanding itself through TV in particular. Think for example of the series that have featured Liverpool and its language - from Z-Cars to Brookside (not to mention the influence of the music scene)." Without giving too much away, Tony believes there are three particularly striking things which came out of his research. They are, he explains: "The existence of a distinctive form of language in Liverpool in the 18th century; the fact that no one used the term 'Scouse' to refer to the language of Liverpool before the early 1950s and the histories of words - for example, 'babsky' meant 'a windswept part of Liverpool' in Liverpool seamen's slang in the late 19th century, while 'jigger' (or 'gyger') was first recorded in a dictionary in 1567 and meant 'door' - probably derived from the Welsh 'gwddor', meaning 'gate'." Tony, 51, studied and taught at Oxford and has also taught at Southampton and Manchester universities, while he is currently Chair in the Humanities at Scripps College in California, having also lectured in Spain, France, Germany, Canada and China. But despite having left Liverpool at 17 he returns regularly - and yes, he does still have a Scouse accent! And as he lives outside the city, he perhaps has a clearer perspective on some of its aspects. Regarding the frequent claims made that the city is somehow separate from the rest of the UK, the author says: "I think that gives too much away to the little Englanders who'd like the country to be a reflection of Chipping Norton or, dare it be said, London. Liverpool is actually at the heart of English history - and it has played a significant role in global history including Irish, Welsh, Scottish, American, Latin American and African history. I laugh when people say Liverpool isn't in England - you'd have to erase an awful lot of English history to make that true!" Earlier this year, the ECHO asked readers about the changing "Mersey sound" and Tony says: "I thought that was fascinating. Some of the changes are simply alterations of pronunciation - like 'lid' for 'lad' (and remember 'la' is a form of 'lad' too). But there were new words which I hadn't heard or seen before. That's normal though - language changes, but the strange thing is why change is often cast in terms of degeneration rather than simply an evolving process in which things are tried out - some of which catch on, others of which don't. "My research shows that the language of Liverpool has been changing constantly over the past 200 years or so - it would be odd if that stopped now!" In a previous ECHO series - This Is My City - many well-known Liverpool people said they now disliked the word 'Scouser' because it was often used as an insult. Tony says: "My research indicates that 'Scouser' was probably a naval term of the late 19th century for Liverpudlians which was extended through forces' slang in the early to mid-20th century. When it was used in Liverpool in the early 20th century, it more or less meant the poorest of the poor - and it carried negative, often insulting, associations right up to the 1950s. "Interestingly, 'Scouser' is used before 'Scouse' (in the sense of a form of language). After that both 'Scouser' and 'Scouse' (language) became products of a 'Scouse industry', and the picture changed for a while in a positive way. I think it's right though that 'Scouser' often has negative associations now, though this can vary. But somehow I doubt we'll be returning to 'Dicky Sam', 'Liverpolitan' or 'Wacker' (although 'Wacker' only seems to have been dropped in the 1970s, possibly later) - to say nothing of the 17th century names 'Liverpoldons' and 'Leeirpooltonians'." As for answering more of those questions about Liverpool and its language, Tony says: "There is a lot more to work on - my follow-up book is a glossary of Liverpool English, from the 1850s to the present, and you'd be surprised just how many words there are which are specific to Liverpool." Scouse: A Social and Cultural History by Tony Crowley (GBP16.99) is published by Liverpool University Press (www.liverpooluniversitypress.co.uk). It's being launched with a lecture by Tony at the Museum of Liverpool at 6.30pm next Tuesday, October 16 - free admission. Then, at 7pm on Wednesday October 17 at The Liverpool One Bridewell, he will be discussing the book with Frank Cottrell Boyce. Admission GBP3, with a drink included. It's hard to think of an accent which comes with quite such a stew of associations as does Scouse. Whatever it's saying, it seems, that distinctive voice also communicates some combination of chirpy humour; chippy aggression; friendliness; a propensity to idleness; an over-developed sense of grievance; an under-developed one of mine and thine. Tony Crowley's searching book starts with a rigorous study of historic sources, their modern interpretations and the insights of contemporary linguistic theory. The conventional view has been that, in the 1840s, a warm front of Irish immigration (bringing with it squalls of spontaneity, sentimentality and good humour) came up against an unyielding mass of Lancashire grittiness, rough and dour. So superficially appealing has this explanation been that it's gone largely unquestioned until now, even by serious historians. Crowley places the emergence of a distinctive Liverpool accent a great deal earlier - but that of "Scouse" as comparatively recent. In doing so, he opens up much wider questions of place, class and identity; of how people are seen and come to see themselves. Tony Crowley's searching book starts with a rigorous study of historic sources, their modern interpretations and the insights of contemporary linguistic theory. The conventional view has been that, in the 1840s, a warm front of Irish immigration came up against an unyielding mass of Lancashire grittiness, rough and dour. So superficially appealing has this explanation been that it's gone largely unquestioned until now, even by serious historians. Crowley places the emergence of a distinctive Liverpool accent a great deal earlier - but that of "Scouse" as comparatively recent. In doing so, he opens up much wider questions of place, class and identity; of how people are seen and come to see themselves. Liverpool has already been mentioned, but-for a general lack of studies-has so far not featured in these pages frequently. This is now changing, thanks to the publication of Tony Crowley's Scouse: A Social and Cultural History. Rather than a dialectological list of features, Crowley gives a fascinating account of the enregisterment process of Scouse, leading to its status as perhaps the top recognizable variety of all of Britain today. Crowley takes issue with the 'Received History' (chapter 2), constructed through various media as well as academic discourse, that dates the emergence of Scouse to mass immigration from Ireland after the 1840s (on some of the linguistic parallels, see Beal et al., above). By contrast, Crowley claims there is 'circumstantial, theoretical and textual evidence' (p. 24) for a much earlier date of a (recognition or construction of a) distinctive Liverpolitan way of speaking, since Liverpool was already a 'major port and trading centre with an ever-expanding, hybrid population' (p. 35) in the eighteenth century. The discourse on 'Language and Sense of Place: The Beginnings of "Scouse" (chapter 3) can then be located in the second half of the nineteenth century, although the term Scouse used for this variety seems to be a twentieth-century phenomenon, as chapter 4, 'Frank Shaw and the Founding of the "Scouse" Industry', makes clear. Most interesting in terms of theory is chapter 5, 'What is "Scouse"? Historical and Theoretical Issues', where Crowley uses, but also discusses quite critically, Silverstein's notion of indexicality, Asif Agha's  concept of enregisterment, and Johnstone et al.'s  application of either. Despite the blurb, this is not a 'quixotic book ... unlike anything else', but a wide-ranging, serious, and thought-provoking case study of 'talk about talk' with regard to Liverpool, one of the most distinctive urban vernaculars today. Taking up one of the catch terms from Crowley, Joan Beal looks at 'Levelling and Enregisterment in Northern Dialects of Late Modern English' (in Denison et al., eds., pp. 126-39). Beal claims that, much as today, dialect levelling must have characterized nineteenth-century urban centres, especially in the north, and she observes the same opposite strands in public discourse as today, on the one hand a fear of the disappearance of traditional dialects through dialect levelling, on the other an emergence of a consciousness (through contact) of dialect features, leading to a surge in dialect literature, dialect songs, and also an academic interest in northern dialects-developments that, Beal claims, are indicative of an early nineteenth-century enregisterment of these urban varieties. Going back even further in time, Marcelle Cole claims that she has found 'The Old English Origins of the Northern Subject Rule: Evidence from the Lindisfarne Gloss to the Gospels of John and Mark' (in Stenroos, Ma. kinen, and Saerheim, eds., Language Contact and Development around the North Sea, pp. 141-68). In her analysis, the same 'syntactic configuration at the crux of the NSR was already a feature of Old Northumbrian' (p. 141), making a potential substrate influence from Brythonic much more likely than before. One of the stereotypical present-day features of northern speech is examined in more detail by Peter Racz, who is 'Operationalising Salience: Definite Article Reduction in the North of England' (ELL 16 57-79). Racz claims that DAR carries high perceptual salience because it marks word boundaries very consistently. However, this perceptual explanation can only be a first step towards explaining the stereotyped character of this linguistic feature; in Racz's words, 'a salient variable is not necessarily a marker, but ... a marker needs to be salient' (p. 62). Not so salient a feature is 'Pre-R Dentalisation in Northern England', discussed by Warren Maguire (ELL 16 361-84) based on data in A. Ellis  and the SED. The feature in question is a dental pronunciation of /t/ or /d/ in words like try, street, or wonder, which Maguire documents historically especially in the north-west of England, with the highest concentration in Cumberland, although it has virtually disappeared today. The strong similarities with the same feature in IrE suggest, at least to Maguire, that pre-R dentalization was taken from northern England (and Scotland) to Ireland, where it was reinforced by Irish Gaelic phonemic oppositions. Tony Crowley's Scouse: A Social and Cultural History. Rather than a dialectological list of features, Crowley gives a fascinating account of the enregisterment process of Scouse, leading to its status as perhaps the top recognizable variety of all of Britain today. Rather than a dialectological list of features, Crowley gives a fascinating account of the enregisterment process of Scouse, leading to its status as perhaps the top recognizable variety of all of Britain today. When did the distinctive form of English known as 'Scouse' first appear? This is the deceptively simple question that Tony Crowley's study sets out to address, but almost immediately another, much more complex set of questions imposes itself: what is Scouse? Why did such a distinctive linguistic and cultural construct appear in Liverpool? How does a 'non-prestige' form of speech come to acquire a whole range of cultural associations, such that it becomes synonymous with a complex, internally diverse city? To put it another way, how, as Crowley asks, 'does a 'bastard brogue' become a city-speech?' (22). There is, as Crowley outlines, a received account of the history of Liverpool's distinctive English, according to which the characteristic dialect and intonation were produced by the convergence of waves of immigration during Liverpool's transformation from small coastal town to global port city (xiv). In this version, the major factor in the development of an identifiable form of Liverpool English was mass Irish immigration in the 1840s, plus large-scale nineteenth-century migration from Wales (compounded, in some versions, by the effects of industrial pollution); before about 1830, the story goes, Liverpool people spoke the same as the rest of Lancashire. This story, repeated even by professional linguists, is revealed to be untenable by extensive research showing that a distinctive form of speech was associated with the city well before the turn of the nineteenth century, the most intriguing piece of evidence being an obscure comedy of 1768, The Sailor's Farewell, by Thomas Boulton (32). With the official story duly discarded, Scouse becomes less a linguistic history of a certain variant, dialect or accent (even deciding which of these applies to Scouse is shown to be impossible) and instead an account of how the concept has been constructed, disseminated and received. The official account, in which Liverpool only developed a distinctive linguistic form after the 1830s, is revealed to rest on a misreading of a single, humorous anecdote, given in a single text published in 1830, Robert Syers's The History of Everton (17). The most striking claim arising from this is that Scouse, as it is usually understood, is a mid-twentieth-century construction, invented by a group of local cultural figures (especially the mercurial Frank Shaw) who concertedly formed a 'Scouse industry' (63) during the difficult period of the 1950s and 1960s in which the city 'boomed culturally and yet stagnated economically and politically' (64). Intriguingly, this recasts the origins of Scouse not in Liverpool's centrality to the expansion of trade, but as a cultural effect of Britain's contraction as a global economic power. The proponents of the 'Scouse industry' tapped into, but also actively fostered, the cultural nostalgia that appeared in the decades immediately after the war, prompted in part by the dislocating effects of redevelopment and housing clearances, and which manifested itself in popular interest in the etymologies of local place names, words and phrases, discussions of which ran in the columns and letters pages of local newspapers for decades (42-3). The 'naturalized tradition' of Scouse (111), then, originates in this moment, and in the need for a sense of place in a time of transition, but also in the active interventions of a handful of people. The counter-intuitive force of this, at least for a non-specialist, is considerable, bringing into view the surprisingly central role that an individual can play in processes of linguistic and cultural formation that might be more conventionally thought of as, by definition, social and to some extent collective. Moreover, Frank Shaw and his investment in Scouse appear to be deeply paradoxical. A skilled manipulator of the media, he nonetheless set out to present the standardising and homogenising effects of mid-century popular culture as threatening the authenticity of Scouse. Shaw's myth-making in relation of Liverpool language is also ambiguous; although seeming to celebrate its authenticity as resistance of linguistic standardisation, he also berated 'that catarrhal, adenoidal singsong' (70), and proposed to cleanse the 'worst locutions' in the name of 'good Scouse' (72). The greatest success of this paradoxical 'industry' was the Lern Yerself Scouse book series, intended to codify a certain version of the city's language culture for visitors during the 1966 World Cup, but which enjoyed enduring popularity both in and beyond the city. Central to the argument is the claim that these representations were the means by which Scouse was 'staged, sung and celebrated, and, literally turned into an object of knowledge' (77). Scouse, it turns out, is not properly a linguistic category at all, but is rather a complex 'mode of cultural value and social distinction' (94), which requires quite different analysis than it has previously received, and which exposes the inadequacy of the methods and disciplinary frameworks that have been invoked to study it. The implications of this clearly go well beyond the language of Liverpool, extending into searching questions of how the interrelations of language, history, culture and location can be examined. A final, partly autobiographical chapter reveals the author's own investment in the relationship between language and place, describing a life lived progressively further away from his birthplace in the Dingle, first as a result of post-war rehousing and later as a result of the mobility of scholarship education and academic life. Crowley is acutely sensitive both to the power of Scouse to support a sense of being from a particular place, and its potential to conspire in linguistic and cultural stereotyping, which are, he notes, some of the last forms of prejudice to remain 'socially respectable' (xiv). Scouse, Crowley concludes, can become a stultifying abstraction that denies the complexity of the city's history, which is one of 'conservatism, conformity and orthodoxy' as much as much as it is of radicalism and creativity (136), as well as repressing its internal diversity and fragmentation. The refusal to simplify these issues means that the questions the book initially raises about the origins of Liverpool English go unanswered (and are, perhaps, unanswerable), but instead Scouse offers a compelling account of how a city's identity is formed through its language, drawing on a rich range of sources and generating a wealth of unexpected insights. Scouse offers a compelling account of how a city's identity is formed through its language, drawing on a rich range of sources and generating a wealth of unexpected insights.