I have lived in Liverpool for nearly five years now. It was pretty much down to a random set of circumstances that we ended up here. I never grew up thinking I would live in Liverpool. I thought for some time that I would (and should) be living the expat dream in Surrey, London (or anywhere on the District Line, to be fair). No, in a weird way, Liverpool chose us. There’s something unashamedly authentic about this city and it will always have a very special place in my heart. There’s an openness and an honesty about scousers that is so refreshing. My father-in-law says the great thing about scousers is that they love to tell you their life story, even if they don’t know you from a bar of soap. They will tell you their life story in the street, on the bus, as they sell you something, cut your hair or drive you somewhere in their taxi. But first they will ask you if you’re from New Zealand? Australia? I don’t take offence like some South Africans would at these suggestions. When they hear ‘South Africa’ they don’t follow with a comment about Nelson Mandela or biltong, but Bruce Grobbelaar’s name always comes up.
For the most part I can figure out what scousers who speak with a very broad accent are saying to me and depending on the company my sentences become a bit twangy and end on a question mark tone. As someone who talks with a ‘different’ accent myself, I find the way scousers speak very endearing and very funny. At times I will even throw in a ‘doing me head in’ or a ‘at the end of the day’. I still get tickled seeing my mom and dad’s blank expressions when anyone here talks to them. And they live in a country that has 11 official languages I also realise that it’s not long before Gus will start saying things like: Mum what are you cooghing for me tea? Can we have coche chigghen?
I had a sweet conversation with two scouse lads (about 6 years of age) the other day when I was out walking the dog (who is black and white) – it went like this (I’ve tried to write this phonetically hence the weird spelling – but to understand the intonation watch the video below):
Scouse lad 1: What brrreed is your dog? Is it a bull terrier?
Scouse lad 2: What’s your dog’s name?
Me: His name is Leo. He’s a staff cross.
Scouse lad 1: Leon?
Scouse lad 2: Can I touch him?
Me: His name is Leeeo. Yeah go on, he’s friendly.
Scouse lad 1: Hello Leon. *pats dog*
Scouse lad 2: How old is your dog?
Me: Leeeo is about 5 years old.
Scouse lad 1: That’s not too old then. He won’t die yet.
Me: I hope not.
Scouse lad 2: We had a dog once. He was called Sooty. He was full blaggh, not like your dog. He was dead old. One day he just woke up and he was dead.
Me: I’m sorry to hear that. Did you get another dog?
Scouse lad 2: No, me mom said we couldn’t get another one. But the next dog we get will be a puppy, not an old dog.
Scouse lad 1: I like them white dogs with the pointy faces. They’re boss.
Scouse lad 2: They’re not all white, some of them have blaggh spots over the eyes.
Scouse lad 1: I know that but they don’t have blaggh all over them!
Scouse lad 2: Yeah but they’re not white dogs.
Scouse lad 1: They’re boss anyway.
Me: Okay boys I have to get going now, see you later.
Scouse lad 1: Bye Leon!
For those of you who are not familiar with the scouse accent or culture, this video might help…