On 25 Jan 2011, at 19:16, John Vertical wrote:

>>> In British English there is a rule "r -> z [unstressed V] (C) /
> [(stressed) lax V] __". In British English in general it is  
> restricted to
> first names, e.g. Karen > Kaz, Barry > Baz, Derek > Dez, but in an  
> area that
> (to judge from my fragmentary observations and indagations) extends  
> from
> Liverpool northwards along the coast of Lancashire and Cumbria to  
> Whitehaven
> (-- Why this geographical distribution? fishermen's speech?), it  
> extends to
> a wider range of lexis, though still on a lexically-specific basis,  
> e.g.
> borrow > boz, sorry > soz, tomorrow > tomoz.

Not just the west coast: I've certainly heard the "soz" and "tomoz" at  
least as far east as Oldham - this might be dialect contact related,  
but I'm guessing it might be a whole (north) British thing. Also,  
Jeremy "Jezza" Clarkson (originally from Doncaster) must have acquired  
his nickname either in West Yorkshire, Derbyshire or after having  
involved with the (chiefly southern) BBC. And the Mancunian *musician*  
Bez, Gazza, etc, etc.

I know there was some fishing industry on the west coast, but it's  
never been anything comparable to, say, the north east, eastern  
Scotland or Cornwall and Devon. I was going to suggest Irish  
immigration, but I can't see any reason why it would cause that to  
happen. Liverpool (and to a lesser degree, Manchester) were major  
players in shipping at the time of the British Empire, particularly on  
the earlier slave-cotton triangle. Maybe this has something to do with  
it. A lot of Australians are south east descended, aren't they?

And the Will > Bill things, I want to say lentition, but I know it  
isn't right.
Liquid > Plosive > Moved backward?