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Analysing scouse to see if an accent translates on Twitter

The most unique thing about Liverpool is its distinctive 'Scouse' accent which has a melody all of its own - but how does it translate on social?

Up until the mid 19th century, Liverpudlians spoke with similar tones to their Lancastrian neighbours. But as a port city with a constant influx of immigrants, Liverpool became a melting pot of different dialects. After mass immigration post WWII, Irish had a major influence on the Scouse accent, creating the instantly recognisable sound we know today.

But how do spoken accents translate to words on paper? We used qualitative analysis to delve deeper into this question, looking specifically at how Scousers talk on Twitter about a variety of topics. Comparing this data to the Standard English model, we were able to pinpoint uniquely 'Scouse' words that are synonymous with the Mersey sound, as an example of how language comparison can help you understand the way different demographics talk.

A happy-go-lucky bunch

Liverpool is consistently voted one of the friendliest places in the UK, and it's all down to the people. No matter what your background, Scousers will greet you with an 'alright love' to make you feel at home. The same applies when communicating on Twitter. Scousers are 20.8x more likely to use terms of endearment such as kidda, la, mate, and lad when addressing people on social. 'La' is a typically Scouse word meaning 'love' or 'mate', often used in the context 'nice one la'. Other proclamations of positivity include: boss lad, belter, well in mate, sound. 

Mirroring speech

While for the most part, the plural of you - 'youse' - is no longer used in England, it is throughout Merseyside. Jonnie Robinson, lead curator on language at the British Library, points out that its usage can be attributed to Irish English. Similar to Southern parts of the US that have y'all as a contraction of you all, writing 'youse' is a way of translating the Scouse accent to written language.

Scousers also mirror their accent on social media when using the word 'me' as a replacement for 'my'. Additionally, instead of writing full words or phrases such as 'going to', 'want to' and 'because', they shorten them to their spoken form: gonna, wanna, cos.

Like, like, like

While the word 'like' isn't unique to the lexicon of Scouse, it is 7x more likely to appear in Liverpudlian's Twitter conversations. As well as being used as a preposition and conjunction, 'like' is often used in speech as meaningless filler. What's interesting is that, despite having time to craft a written message, Scousers still use the word 'like' in this manner on social.

Bevs and scran

Liverpool has a great night life, with plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from. But before you head out, you'll need to be well adversed with Scouse sayings. 'Bevvy' is both a noun and a verb, meaning an alcoholic drink or the act of drinking alcohol. 'Scran' is also a noun and a verb, meaning any substantial meal or snack, or the act of eating a tasty meal.

Blag or blagging?

There is a culture of honesty in Liverpool, where people will call you out for lying or in Scouse terminology 'blagging'.  In this sense, 'blagging' is the act of lying to obtain something or to get out of a sticky situation. The word 'blag' is also used to describe fake goods, or something posing as the real deal.

Scousers are polite

Despite offensive stereotypes depicting Scousers as criminals, we do have manners. 'Ta' is a regional variant of thanks that you'll hear a lot in Liverpool, which also appears 6.1x more in Tweets. The word 'cheers',  a quintessentially British way to end a conversation or an alternative way of saying thank you, also appears 7.2x more in Scouse conversations. 

The human condition balances on a sense of identity and belonging, community and locality, the meaning of home and away, as discussed by Chris Mason on Radio 4's East Meets West. Above all, accents proudly tie us to our roots. But what's interesting is that, through qualitative analysis, we can see how this translates to paper. Scousers mirror their accent on social media and this is probably the case for other regional dialects. 

Understanding how different demographics talk can prove invaluable for regional sales training, marketing and internal communications - so get in touch with the Relative Insight team to find out more about how the tech works.

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Insight Analyst

With a background in protecting children online, Relative Insight's language comparison platform extracts value from your text data.Relative Insight is as text analysis tool which leverages comparative methodology to give transformative insights, meaning our customers can make smarter and more informed decisions across their business.We believe that language data represents one of the biggest and most valuable – but often, most under-used sources of business value. It tells us why things happen, how people feel, and how best to engage with them.It is however, messy, dispersed and generally tricky to analyse – so we approach it with our key principles in mind:Comparison of language is key. The differences matter.We can analyse language from any source. If it’s text, we analyse it.Language is strategic data asset. Our customers store and combine language data for new insights continually, producing at minimum five times more value from the same data.Comparing language, and understanding the differences is the fastest way to discover value in text data.Relative Insight is completely data-agnostic so we can work with, and layer on top of all your tools and systems where your language data lives. This means that we can organise and make all the data that you currently have work so much harder for you as well as automating and simplify processes.We can analyse anything you’ve got, from open-ended survey results, to customer or employee reviews, we can compare language on your competitors’ websites and all the collateral that you produce.With this comparison capability applied to a diverse range on language data, our customers quickly build up valuable repositories of language data. We provide capability to combine, split, and reconstitute language data so it provides continual value.Find out what our technology can really do, by requesting a demo.

Relative Insight
Insight Analyst

With a background in protecting children online, Relative Insight's language comparison platform extracts value from your text data.Relative Insight is as text analysis tool which leverages comparative methodology to give transformative insights, meaning our customers can make smarter and more informed decisions across their business.We believe that language data represents one of the biggest and most valuable – but often, most under-used sources of business value. It tells us why things happen, how people feel, and how best to engage with them.It is however, messy, dispersed and generally tricky to analyse – so we approach it with our key principles in mind:Comparison of language is key. The differences matter.We can analyse language from any source. If it’s text, we analyse it.Language is strategic data asset. Our customers store and combine language data for new insights continually, producing at minimum five times more value from the same data.Comparing language, and understanding the differences is the fastest way to discover value in text data.Relative Insight is completely data-agnostic so we can work with, and layer on top of all your tools and systems where your language data lives. This means that we can organise and make all the data that you currently have work so much harder for you as well as automating and simplify processes.We can analyse anything you’ve got, from open-ended survey results, to customer or employee reviews, we can compare language on your competitors’ websites and all the collateral that you produce.With this comparison capability applied to a diverse range on language data, our customers quickly build up valuable repositories of language data. We provide capability to combine, split, and reconstitute language data so it provides continual value.Find out what our technology can really do, by requesting a demo.

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