"Local accents - what we call dialect solidarity - tend to s urvive in close-knit communities, most of which are working class.
It's interesting, for example, that Liverpool seems to be getting more scouse.
"Everyone in my school speaks like this," says Gus, a little wearily. And begging," he concludes, with a flourish, "means chatting rubbish." There's more: butters means ugly, hype is excitement, bare is a lot, cotching is hanging around, and allow it is a plea to leave something or someone alone."The indications are that it depends very much on people's social networks and aspirations.Those who go into university or highly-paid jobs will change their speech.Professor Paul Kerswill of Lancaster University, who is leading the Linguistics Innovators study, believes it's no accident that teenagers should be the early adopters of MLE.
"Adolescence is the life stage at which people most willingly take on new visible or audible symbols of group identification," he says.Population make-up would be a factor, as well as what some linguists would call 'neighbour opposition' with its arch-rival Manchester.It's a question of identity." Kerswill believes that levellings versus solidarities will have a bearing on the future of MLE.They all dress the same and they all speak the same." The rise of MLE is happening at a time when Kerswill and his team are seeing a general trend across the UK toward dialect levelling - the process whereby people in different parts of the country sound more and more like each other as their local accents and dialects die out and everyone, from the Prime Minister downwards, speaks a form of elided-vowel Estuary English." Dialect levelling is strongest in new towns such as Milton Keynes" says Kerswill."The term Jafaican gives the impression that there's something fake about the dialect, which we would (omega) refute," she says.