Travel Fear: People Not Understanding My Scouse Accent

If de Canadians are gonna know what am sayin’ when I get to Vancouver in May, I need to slow down me speech la. 

The Liverpool accent is considered to be one of the hardest British tongues to understand. And I’m never more conscious of this than when travelling.

People seriously struggle to understand me. I become really self-conscious having to constantly repeat myself and work on pronouncing things differently. When I was in Australia, many people thought I was Irish or Scottish. 

Usually, when travelling abroad, the biggest communication issue comes from language barriers. However accent barriers can also leave you confronted with baffled faces.

It always makes me laugh when the Queen’s English is largely the only accent used in films – particularly American ones. English people are always stereotyped as being posh and overly polite.

As far as accents go, mine is not that strong. It is strong enough so that people who know the accent recognise I am a Scouser. But it is really mild compared to the strongest accents that can heard in Liverpool.

It is not as if the Scouse accent is not widely known. There are so many famous Scousers. Think Cilla Black with her “surprise surprise” and “a lorra lorra laughs”. Then there are world-famous bands like the Beatles. More recently, the Scouse accent has been featured on the reality TV series: Desperate Scousewives.

But maybe the most famous portrayal of the accent is Harry Enfield’s comedy sketch. If you are not familiar with this, check out this hysterical video of ‘The Scousers’..

In a poll carried out by University of Bristol in conjunction with confused.com in 2010, Scouse was voted as the second most difficult regional accent to understand in the UK. Here is the full list of results…

1. Geordie 82%
2. Scouse 81%
3. Scottish 75%
4. Welsh 70%
5. Irish 69%
6. Brummie 66%
7. Somerset 61%
8. Cockney 60%

 

Do you ever have any issues with people understanding your accent when travelling abroad? 


 


 

 

 

2 Comments

  1. January 17, 2012 / 03:53

    Don’t worry, we will understand you here in Vancouver. We navigate many accents everyday. You may have trouble understanding us! Love the comedy sketch.

  2. January 17, 2012 / 18:28

    Thanks Darlene :-) Glad you liked the video, cracks me up everytime! I find Canadians easy to understand, although I’m sure there will be some dialect or unfamiliar phrases which will be fun to learn.