British Accents – which one is your favourite?

Updated: Mar 16, 2021

Accent is the part of dialect concerning local pronunciation. Broadly is defined by the rhythm, pace, intonation and phonetics of a language.







Most countries will show variations on the accent of their primary language based on several factors i.e. region, culture, historic influences, social grouping etc.


As English is one of the most spoken languages in the world, naturally, there will be many different accents across different countries where English is the primary language.


Sometimes it is easy to establish if an English accent is American, British, Canadian, Australian etc. But it is not always easy to pinpoint what part of the country the person is from based on their accent.


In this Blog, we will focus on the British accents and its variations across the Great Britain.


A single British accent does not exist, but it may be possible to identify which country a person is from: Wales, Scotland, England or Ireland. However, in each country there will be several different sub-types of accents. In some regions the variation is such that you could hear a different accent within a 5 miles radius.


Let’s have a quick look on each country:


Wales










City School of Languages is based in Wales and we love the local accent and also the diversity of accents influenced by international students.


As in England, Wales have many varieties of accents with specific differences between North Wales, South Wales, the Cardiff dialect, the South Wales Valleys and West Wales.

The English Welsh accent has an influence of the Welsh language which is a Celtic language. The sound the Welsh accent has a distinctive melodic vowel and rolled Rs.


Some studies say that there is a sing song intonation paced by a pitch that can go up and down.

Learn more about the Welsh accent here.

Scotland










Linguistics describe the Scottish accent as essentially rhotic and an 'r' in the spelling is always pronounced.


Having come from the Celts, ancient language, Scottish accent shares some similarities with Welsh accent, for example, the slight trill of the R which is apparent in both accents


One of the many characteristics of the Scottish accent is the difference between Low and Highlands. Gaelic, the ancient language of the Celts. influenced the Highlands whilst in the Lowlands, a different developed quite different from the Gaelic. This new languages was called Scots!


Major regions in Scotland (e.g. Aberdeen, Ayrshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Fife, Inverness) have their own distinct accents and dialect words.


Ireland






As any other country in the Great Britain Irish has a large number of distinct accents.

In the main there are 3 broad category of accents: East Coast Irish English (Dublin), South-Western Irish (Cork and surrounding areas) and Northern Irish Accents.


In some of the Irish regions the accent tends to have a very “musical” intonation.

Linguists use the term Hiberno-English to refer to the lively English varieties spread through the island (both Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland).

England