(To come to the aid of a bemused Canadian correspondent, let me explain that Geordie, Scouse, Mancunian and Brummie are the local accents of Newcastle-on-Tyne, Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham respectively.)
The journalist had interviewed the sociolinguists/phoneticians Paul Kerswill, Dom Watt and Clive Upton, which means that the article is strikingly well-informed as press reports go. Paul, however, writes that he was annoyed that they didn't mention his group’s London work, despite a long conversation about it.
One thing that tickled me was a reported conversation between two high-profile Geordies, Cheryl Cole and Joe McElderry (məˈkeldəri, apparently). Note the intrusion into British demotic (“me and Cheryl were having”) of the valley-girl quotative be, like.
“When me and Cheryl were having conversations in full Geordie, people would be, like, ‘It’s like a different language’,” McElderry said recently.
Perhaps the most interesting thing, which is unfortunately not included in the on-line version of the report, was this map of British accent areas predicted for the year 2050.
Paul Kerswill writes
Not bad considering it’s the result of me making it up as I was talking to the journalist over the phone!I’m wondering what name we should attach to the unlabelled chunk of territory stretching from Lincolnshire on the east coast to the edge of the Birmingham/Coventry area. I’m also not convinced that north Norfolk people can properly be grouped together with Southampton and Bournemouth as “Southern”, nor Cardiff and Swansea separated from “Southern Welsh” and put in “Southwest”.
The “City accents” shown, reading from north to south, are those of Aberdeen, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle (Tyneside), Middlesbrough (Teesside), Leeds, Hull, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, and Bristol. London is taken for granted, as the centre of so-called Estuary English.