The different types of British accents
When you think of the British, you imagine poise, sophistication, the royalty. You associate the English to movies that you are accustomed to. Men who are impeccably well-mannered with Hugh Grant’s posh accent and the easily-comprehensible Queen’s English. In fact, you are not guilty in recalling My Fair Lady’s Professor Henry Higgins who heavily enunciates his words.
Well what you have in mind may come as a shock when you touchdown on British soil. You will be bombarded with accents that you are unfamiliar with; nothing close to your idea of the British English that we have learned in school or been exposed to. It could be confusing or even totally bewildering because they may not even sound remotely English.
This is because the UK is very rich in its dialect with countless accents shaped by thousands of years of history. So that you are not caught off-guard, here are some of the popular accents. Check them out and enjoy your little dose of belly laugh!
The different accents
Geordie normally refers to both the people and dialect of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne in Northeast England. It is one of the oldest and best loved British dialects, but it is slowly dying. If you understand Cheryl Cole and comedians Ant and Dec, then you’ll have no problems.
Commonly spoken in the East End of London is the cockney accent. It is typically associated with working class citizens.
Listen to the accent.
Scots roll their Rs regularly and collapse their words so that they sound like they have been cut off in the middle. For instance, ‘cot’ instead of ‘caught’ and ‘not’ with ‘nee’. So instead of saying you ‘didn’t do anything in Edinburgh’, it sounds more like ‘didnee do anythin’ in Ednbrah.’ Think of the gorgeous Gerard Butler.
West Country (Southwest British)
The West Country accent can be heard in the South of England, just about fifty miles West of London and extending to the Welsh border. Often, the letter ‘r’ is pronounced after vowels. Instead of saying mother as ‘muthah’, someone from the Southwest would say ‘mutherrr’. Look up Comedian Justin Lee Collins.
The most famous is the Brummie English. This accent has made headlines claiming to baffle a computer software. Callers to the Birmingham City Council have been left frustrated because the authority’s computerised phone system cannot understand the Brummie accent. Check out this link to see if you can understand the accent better than the automated phone.
The accent is heavily influenced by the Welsh language. Although a survey has shown that some Welsh feel that their accent may prove to be a hindrance to their career, others remain proud and describe the accent as melodious and lilting. Is it a yay or nay for you?
Estuary English (Southeast British)
This accent can be heard around Southeast England, East Anglia, the Midlands and North. It is slightly similar to General American in the US. Look up comedian Russell Brand or Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay.
That’s right. You may be very good at English with high scores in your IELTS, but nothing prepares you for the various British accents.
If any of you have experienced first-hand of these accents, why not share? We’d love to hear all about it.
An aspiring journalist with a passion for investigative journalistic work. Also a self-declared masterchef.