Forget the politics. What’s going on with this jocular respelling? It’s intended, of course, to convey an American accent to a British readership. We all know that Americans voice intervocalic t, making it sound like d, and that their KIT vowel tends to be rather laxer or opener than the BrE mainstream. So “Bruddish” for British is fair enough.
But what about “upprussion” for oppression?
This is the first time that I remember having seen a jocular respelling relating to AmE DRESS.
There’s a complex set of vowel sound changes currently in progress in part of the United States, known as the Northern Cities Shift. It was first sketched out by Labov over thirty years ago. There’s an account written by Labov here, or a simpler one in Wikipedia.
What is happening in places like Buffalo, Detroit and Chicago is that the TRAP vowel is getting tenser and closer (but that’s happening in other places, too). This encroachment on the territory of the DRESS vowel is compensated by the lowering and backing of DRESS. The LOT(-PALM) vowel moves forward to take over some of the space vacated by TRAP.
The consequence is that NCS LOT may sound like other people’s TRAP, while NCS DRESS may sound like other people’s STRUT. Hence Liddle’s respelling upprussion.
|lexical set||example||RP etc||other AmE||NCS|
|LOT||a bottle of Scotch||ə bɒtl̩ əv skɒtʃ||ə bɑdl̩ əv skɑtʃ||ə badl̩ əv skatʃ|
|DRESS||a red dress||ə red dres||ə rɛd drɛs||ə rɐd drɐs|