I am often asked what is the cause of the distinctive, almost lyrical, nasal twang in the Mancunian accent. The clue, of course, is in the question.
The Mancunian Nasal Twang is a small instrument of working class origin that has again become fashionable in certain parts of Manchester.
It is directly related to the Lancastrian Nose Flute (above) that were widespread in the 19th century when they were used in the cotton mills so that workers could communicate above the noise of the machinery.
They had been around for much longer than that, of course. Twanging had been a traditional craft since the middles ages when they were carved from oak or elm, usually by men, using skills handed down from father to son.
Thanks to miniaturisation and micro-technology, the modern Nasal Twang is much smaller than the original, normally no larger than a grain of rice, and yet still capable of producing the same distinctive tone.
They are most commonly fitted to the nose in the first few months after birth so that the Mancunian child is able to learn how to use the twang even as they learn to speak.
Generally speaking, the Nasal Twang is worn discreetly, however there has been a trend in recent times towards a more blatant display of the twang, particularly among lower socioeconomic groups.
This might be because of a genuine pride in their working class heritage, or that they simply like to flaunt their bling. Whatever the reason, the twang is now frequently visible on one side of the nose with attention deliberately drawn to it through the use of precious metals and gem stones.
Sadly, this is also an indicator of poor quality, overseas manufacture and the result is a discordant note that can be harsh on the listener’s ear, particularly when the wearers are gathered in large groups in retail areas, such as the Arndale Centre.
The more refined twang wearers are disparaging of this trend and you can see them express their disapproval when in the company of their chavvier brethren by holding their noses in the air while making a droning, monotone note of disapprobation.