Post by Tristan Miller
Post by Tristan Miller Post by Tristan Miller
I am listening to the audio book _Harry Potter and the Order of the
Phoenix_ read by Stephen Fry. In it, he voices a character named
Nymphadora Tonks. The accent he uses for Tonks is one I'm not able to
place. Perhaps someone here can help.
I've put a short clip of the audio book in question up at the following
URL. It's about four minutes long and contains most of the Tonks
Nothing I've ever heard before, and I'd be surprised if he was aiming
Post by Tristan Miller
an existing accent.
Well, he voices other characters with passable approximations of existing
accents, so I was assuming that he isn't making this one up. If it
weren't for the Scousey vowel shifts, I might have thought he was trying
to impersonate an American.
Could the accent be from somewhere in Lancashire? IIRC some of their
accents are rhotic, and their proximity to Merseyside might explain the
I'm not able to decipher *.ogg files, so haven't heard the clip referred to.
However, I'd like to chip in with an observation that there is very little
geographical accent diffusion effect from the City of Liverpool other than
in contiguous areas such as the Merseyside boroughs of Wirral, Knowsley and
Sefton, and in the "new towns" of Skelmersdale, Runcorn and Winsford, to
which thousands of Liverpudlians have been "decanted". In particular, the St
Helens area, although nominally politically tied to Liverpool in some
senses, displays very little of the Scouse accent (except, of course, in the
cases of Liverpudlians who have bought houses there - a category which once
The former "Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley" is a good case in point.
Formed from all or parts of the former local government units of
Huyton-with-Roby, Kirkby, Prescot and Whiston, most of it (especially Huyton
and Kirkby and the Halewood area of the former Rural District of Whiston)
are Liverpudlian in all but name.
The people of those settlements are Scousers (much as it may pain a few of
them to admit it). They have not acquired their accents by mere propinquity
to Liverpool. They are Liverpudlians, either by birth and upbringing, or by
being the offspring of people in that group. But, in the central belt of
Knowsley (an odd-shaped crescent of a borough, clearly designed to prevent
Liverpool proper from being enlarged), the settlements of Prescot (the town
on top of the hill) and Whiston (the actual place, not the whole of the
former Rural District to which it gave its name), the inhabitants speak with
a broader Lancashire accent which owes little, if anything, to Liverpool.
The demarcation between those accents is as stark as one can find on land -
with well under than a mile between the easternmost extremity of built-up
Huyton and the western edge of Prescot. No diffusion or proximity effect