Sunday, January 25, 2009

Received Pronunciation Or Reviving Prejudice?

Beryl's at it again. Beryl Brainbridge, that is. This time last year she poured scorn on the city of Liverpool in a Guardian Comment is Free piece, claiming that both the city & its people were a lost cause culturally; the rot set in, our Beryl tutted with the arrival of the Beatles & their vulgarisation of the Scouse accent. Now, from the safety of her Hampstead abode, where she may still live on a diet of fry-ups & fags while keeping "a stuffed man with a Hitler moustache in her bedroom" (http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/aug/19/fiction.bookerprize2001 ), she launches a fresh salvo, this time focusing on the accent itself (http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/pm/2009/01/beryl_bainbridge_and_the_liver.shtml ).
It is, of course, true that many people on Merseyside accentuate the local accent to the point of unwitting caricature; I work with some of them. However, for Bainbridge to suggest, you'll love this, by the way, that all Scousers should undertake elocution lessons strikes me as a truly Pythonesque premise; it's up there with (Nice, But Dim) Tim Leunig's proposal that we all move to Oxford, Cambridge & London.
Venting his bile in the wake of Bainbridge's CiF piece last year, Edward Pearce, weighed in, echoing her petty self-loathing, middle-class prejudice. The reaction from commenters, myself included, left Pearce limping from the fray to lick his wounds. However, like the Bourbons, Pearce is one who fails to learn from previous follies. He's back, again using Bainbridge's latest mutterings to have a dig at regional accents per se (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/25/regional-accents ).
Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to intone the words "how now brown cow" until all trace of my accent has gone.

1 comment:

arenonnymuss said...

warradeeallonorbout? Is agoodjobyouspurrillal inter plain english cos deesearsoles talkaloada bleedincrap, don't you know old bean?