There is a widespread misconception that studying English in the United Kingdom will result in a flawless British accent as if you were instructed by Her Majesty the Queen herself.
In reality, the United Kingdom has around 40 distinct dialects, each with its distinct sound and word structure. Each country has its unique accent.
All You Need To Know About British Dialects
Here are ten British dialects you should be familiar with:
To begin, we’ll look at the Scot.
Let’s start with the accent representing crystalline lochs, icy mountains, plaid, and shortbread? The Scottish accent did not take on its current form until the 1700s, but it existed in various forms.
The Gaelic and Norse languages of Scotland (and even today) had a significant impact on English due to the Viking invasion. Scots pronounce Scotland ‘SKORT-lond’ rather than ‘SKOTT-lund.’ Visit Edinburgh or Glasgow if you want to hear a Scottish accent.
Then there are the Geordie people.
Residents of Newcastle speak a dialect known as Geordie, which has one of the most distinct and powerful accents in England.
Because the Geordie accent defies all Standard English conventions, the word button would be pronounced BOT-tdan rather than BUH-tun, with a ‘ooh’ sound on the letter U and a rolled T. It is advisable to watch it on YouTube.
Scousers or Liverpudlians are people from Liverpool, and their accent (similar to Geordie) is known as Scouse.
“Woss dtha?” the people of Liverpool would inquire. Rather than asking, “What the hell is that?” The letters A and Y receive special attention. Furthermore, they roll their R’s, making it difficult to tell whether they’re saying L or R. They deserve our best wishes!
Scouse can be studied in cities such as Liverpool and Manchester, located in the United Kingdom.
Yorkshire is fourth.
Yorkshire has a distinct accent on the letter U, which is pronounced ooo rather than Uh, with cut pronounced “coht” and blood pronounced “blohd,” as opposed to the more common pronunciation of “uh.” Yorkshire is said to have a pleasant and trusting accent, but I’ve never met a Yorkshire person who could be trusted (just kidding, they’re gorgeous). The distinctive Yorkshire accent can be heard in towns such as York, Leeds, and Sheffield.
Welsh is Wales’ native language.
Wales, officially the nation, is home to one-fifth of the world’s population. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllllantysiliogogogoch, a Welsh village, is named after these incredibly long and convoluted words (and the second-longest place name in the world).
Welsh speakers pronounce Wales WEE-alss rather than WAY-ells when speaking English, whereas English speakers pronounce the word WAY-ells.
You can get a taste of Welsh by visiting Cardiff or Bristol.
Despite having the nicest name on our list, this accent is one of the most mocked in the UK. It comes from people who have never heard their voices. People in Birmingham, where this dialect is spoken, refer to it as Brummagem or Bromwichham, two ancient alternate names for Birmingham.
Those with a Brummie accent pronounce “hello” heh-LOUW rather than HEH-low, but the accent varies greatly across the city (Birmingham is England’s third-largest city).
The “West Country” of England
It is the dialect of Anglo-Saxon roots spoken in Gloucestershire, Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall, which is why true West Country speakers say I will be rather than I am and Thou best rather than You are. This sounds a lot like the Germanic languages Ich bin and Du bist. What an oddity!
Even if West Country residents deny it, the rest of the accent is rhotic (characterized by a soft, rolled R), making it like American English.
West Country’s major cities, such as Bristol or Bournemouth, are good places to hear the regional accent in action.
People refer to this as “Queen’s English,” or Received Pronunciation, because of the dialects of the Home Counties region (Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Surrey, and Sussex) (RP).
It has a ‘flat’ accent with stressed vowels like A (pronounced ah as in a car) and O (pronounced ohw as in snow), but the pronunciation varies greatly between words, making it difficult to learn if you’re learning English for the first time.
New York’s Essex County
The only way to tell if someone is from Essex is by their accent, which is distinctively Essexian. For example, no will be pronounced NA-hw, and fink will be used instead of thought.
“Let’s go (to the) stores,” without the “to” or “the,” has also become a common phrase. Reality TV shows featuring Essex residents have made the Essex accent more widely recognised, much to the chagrin of everyone else.
Take a day trip from London to Essex to learn more about the dialect.
After RP, Cockney is possibly the most well-known British accent. As the working-class dialect of the East End of London, it is still considered an indication of “authentic” East London ancestry.
In the Cockney accent, the th sound is replaced by the f, the h is dropped from phrases like head, and long vowels like A and E are used.
Cockney Rhyming in which a word is substituted with another that is an abbreviation of an unrelated phrase that rhymes with it, is perhaps the most well-known use of this slang in Cockney. It’s strange, I know.