Language attitudes and divergence on the Merseyside/Lancashire border

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Recent sociolinguistic studies have argued that speaker identity is accentuated in border regions due to speakers’ desire to project a strong sense of identity (Llamas 2007; 2010, Britain 2010). Following the Local Government Act in 1972, the creation of the administrative county of Merseyside provides us with fertile ground for the study of the relationship between language variation and regional identity. chapter investigates the diffusion of fronted Liverpool1982), in Southport (Merseyside) and Ormskirk (South Lancashire, 13 miles north-east of Liverpool) demonstrating that, in comparison to Ormskirk, despite the administrative links with Liverpool, the Liverpool accent is not spreading to Southport as might be hypothesised by existing models of the diffusion of linguistic change (Trudgill 1974). I explore possible explanations for this with particular reference to speaker attitudes in relation to the negative perception of the Liverpool accent (Montgomery 2007).


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