English language in England

English language in England

English language in England refers to the English language as spoken in England, part of the United Kingdom.

There are many different accents and dialects throughout England and people are often very proud of their local accent or dialect, however there are many associated prejudices - illustrated by George Bernard Shaw's comment:: "It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him"

Other terms used to refer to the English language as spoken in England include:"English English", [English, a. and n." The Oxford English Dictionary. 2nd ed. 1989. OED Online. Oxford University Press. 4 Apr. 2000 http://dictionary.oed.com/cgi/entry/50075365.] [Trudgill (2002), p 2.] "Anglo-English", [Tom McArthur, "The Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language". [http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29-ANGLOENGLISH.html Retrieved via encyclopedia.com.] ] [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=HdROMWryvOQC&pg=PA45&dq=%22anglo+english%22&sig=UENob4PbcJ3UOLk1uYBzT253ObE#PPA45,M1] ] "English in England". [Tom McArthur, "The Concise Oxford Companion to the English Language". [http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O29-ENGLISHINENGLAND.html Retrieved via encyclopedia.com.] ] The related term "British English" has "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word "British" and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity" [According to Tom McArthur in the "Oxford Guide to World English" (p. 45)] but is usually reserved to describe the features common to English English, Welsh English, Scottish English, and Hiberno-English.

General features

The three major divisions of dialects of English in England are normally classified as Southern English dialects, Midlands English dialects, and Northern English dialects.

An important feature of English regional accents is the bundle of isoglosses, which separate different pronunciations and grammar in different areas. The most prominent one is the north-south split in the pronunciation of words such as "cut", "strut", etc., which runs geographically running roughly from mid-Shropshire to south of Birmingham and then to The Wash — separating Northern and Southern accents. However, there are several other isoglosses in England, and it is rare for them to coincide with each other.

Accents throughout Britain are influenced by the phoneme inventory of regional dialects, and native English speakers can often tell quite precisely where a person comes from, frequently down to a few miles. Historically, such differences could be a major impediment to understanding between people from different areas. There are, furthermore, several cases where a large city has a very different accent from a surrounding rural area (e.g. Bristol and Avon, Hull and the East Riding).

However, modern communications and mass media have reduced all these differences significantly. In addition, speakers may modify their pronunciation and vocabulary towards Standard English, especially in public circumstances. In consequence, the accent best known to many people outside the United Kingdom as English English, is that of Received Pronunciation (RP).

Until recently, RP English was widely believed to be more educated than other accents and was referred to as the Queen's (or King's) English, or even "BBC English" (because in the early years of broadcasting it was very rare to hear any other dialects on the BBC). However, for several decades, regional accents have been more widely accepted and are frequently heard. Thus the relatively recent spread of Estuary English is influencing accents throughout the south east. RP is also sometimes called "Oxford English", and the Oxford Dictionary gives RP pronunciations for each word.

British Isles varieties of English, including English English, are discussed in John C. Wells (1982). Some of the features of English English are that:

* Most versions of this dialect have non-rhotic pronunciation, wherein "r" is not pronounced in syllable coda position. This pronunciation is also found in many other English dialects, including Australian English, New Zealand English, and South African English, as well as most non-native varieties spoken throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. Rhotic accents exist in the West Country and in parts of Lancashire. They can also be heard in the far north of England and in the town of Corby, both of which have a large Scottish influence on their speech.

* Northern versions of the dialect often lack the foot-strut split, so that there is no distinction between IPA|/ʊ/ and IPA|/ʌ/, making "put" and "putt" homophones as IPA|/pʊt/.

* In the Southern variety, words like "bath", "cast", "dance", "fast", "after", "castle", "grass" etc. are pronounced with the long vowel found in "calm" (that is, IPA| [ɑː] or a similar vowel) while in the Midlands and Northern varieties they are pronounced with the same vowel as "trap" or "cat", usually IPA| [a] . For more details see Trap-bath split. There are some areas of the West Country that would use the Southern variety for some words and the Northern variety for other words.

* Many varieties undergo h-dropping, making "harm" and "arm" homophones. This is a feature of working-class accents across most of England, but was traditionally stigmatised (a fact the comedy musical "My Fair Lady" was quick to exploit) but less so now. [Trask (1999), pp104-106.] This was geographically widespread, but the linguist A.C. Gibson stated that it did not extend to the far north, East Anglia, Essex, Wiltshire or Somerset. [A.C. Gibson in "Collins English Dictionary", 1979, page xxiv] In the past, working-class people were often unsure where an "h" ought to be pronounced, and, when attempting to speak "properly", would often preface any word that began with a vowel with an "h" (e.g. "henormous" instead of "enormous", "hicicles" instead of "icicles"); this was referred to as the "hypercorrect h" in the Survey of English Dialects, and is also referenced in literature (e.g. the policeman in "Danny the Champion of the World).

* A glottal stop for intervocalic IPA|/t/ is now common amongst younger speakers across the country; it was originally confined to some areas of the south-east and East Anglia.

* The distinction between IPA|/w/ and IPA|/ʍ/ in "wine" and "whine" is lost in most varieties.

* Most varieties have the horse-hoarse merger. However some northern accents retain the distinction, pronouncing pairs of words like "for"/"four", "horse"/"hoarse" and "morning"/"mourning" differently. [Wells 1982, section 4.4.]

* The consonant clusters IPA|/sj/, IPA|/zj/, and IPA|/lj/ in "suit", "Zeus", and "lute" are preserved by some.

* Many Southern varieties have the bad-lad split, so that "bad" IPA|/bæːd/ and "lad" IPA|/læd/ do not rhyme.

* In most of the eastern half of England, plurals and past participle endings which are pronounced IPA|/ɪz/ and IPA|/ɪd/ (with the vowel of "kit") in RP may be pronounced with a schwa IPA|/ə/. This can be found as far north as Wakefield and as far south as Essex. This is unusual in being an east-west division in pronunciation when English dialects generally divide along north-south lines. Another example of an east-west division concerns the rhotic r; it can be heard in the speech of country folk (particularly the elder), more or less west of the Roman road Watling street (the modern A5), which at one time divided King Alfred's Wessex from Mercia and Northumbria. The rhotic r is rarely found in the east.

* Across England, segments of old forms of the language can still be heard. For example, the use of "come" as a past participle rather than "came", the use of a clitic "to have" rather than "to have got",Clarifyme|date=March 2008 and the use of "thou" and/or "ye" for "you".

Change over time

There has been academic interest in dialects since the late 19th century. The main works are "On Early English Pronunciation" by A.J. Ellis, "English Dialect Grammar" by Joseph Wright and the "English Dialect Dictionary" by Joseph Wright. The Dialect Test was developed by Joseph Wright as a way of viewing the main vowel sounds of a dialect by listening to a reading of a short passage.

The Survey of English Dialects was undertaken in the 1950s and 1960s to preserve a record of the traditional spectrum of rural dialects that merged into each other. The traditional picture was that there would be a few changes in lexicon and pronunciation every couple of miles, but that there would be no sharp borders between completely different ways of speaking. Within a county, the accents of the different towns and villages would drift gradually so that residents of bordering areas sounded more similar to those in neighbouring counties.

As a result of greater social mobility and the teaching of Standard English in secondary schools, this model is no longer very accurate. There are now certain English counties within which there is little change in accent/dialect, and people are more likely to categorise their accent by a region or county than by their town or village. As agriculture became less prominent, many rural dialects were made redundant. Some urban dialects have also declined; for example, traditional Bradford dialect is now quite rare in the city, and call centres have seen Bradford as a useful location due to the lack of dialect in potential employees.cite news
title=By 'eck! Bratford-speak is dyin' out
publisher=Bradford Telegraph & Argus
] cite news
title=Does tha kno't old way o' callin'?
publisher=BBC News
] Some call centres state that they were attracted to Bradford because it has a regional accent which is relatively easy to understand.cite paper
author=Mahony, GV
title=Race relations in Bradford
version =
publisher=GV Mahony
date=January 2001

However, a factor that has worked in the opposite direction is how concentrations of migration may cause a certain town or area of a town to have a completely unique accent. The two most famous examples are Liverpool and Corby. Liverpool's dialect is influenced heavily by Irish and Welsh, and it sounds completely different from surrounding areas of Lancashire. Corby's dialect is influenced heavily by Scottish, and it sounds completely different from the rest of Northamptonshire. The Voices 2006 survey found that the various ethnic minorities that have settled in certain parts of Britain are developing their own specific dialects. For example, many residents of East London, even if they are not of Bangladeshi origin, may have a Bangladeshi influence on their accent. This has led to a situation where urban dialects may now be just as easily identifiable as rural dialects. In the traditional view, urban entities were usually seen as merely watered-down versions of the surrounding rural area. Historically, rural areas had much more stable demographics than urban areas, but there is now only a small difference.

outhern England

In general, Southern English accents are distinguished from Northern English accents primarily by not using the short a in words such as "bath". In the south-east, the broad A is normally used before a IPA|/f/, IPA|/s/ or IPA|/θ/: words such as "cast" and "bath" are pronounced IPA|/kɑːst/, /bɑːθ/ rather than IPA|/kæst/, /bæθ/. This sometimes occurs before IPA|/nd/: it is used in "command" and "demand" but not in "brand" or "grand".

In the south-west, an IPA|/aː/ sound in used in these words but also in words that take IPA|/æ/ in RP; there is no trap-bath split but both are pronounced with an extended fronted vowel. [John C Wells, "Accents of English", Cambridge, 1983, p.352] Bristol is an exception to the bath-broadening rule: it uses IPA|/a/ in the trap and bath sets, just as is the case in the North and the Midlands. [>John C Wells, "Accents of English", Cambridge, 1983, p.348]

Accents originally from the upper-class speech of the London–Oxford–Cambridge triangle are particularly notable as the basis for Received Pronunciation.

Southern English accents have three main historical influences:
*The London accent, in particular, Cockney. [However, London has continuously absorbed migrants throughout its history, and its accent has always been prone to change quickly]
*Received Pronunciation ('R.P.').
*Southern rural accents, of which the West Country, Kent and East Anglian accents are examples.

Relatively recently, the first two have increasingly influenced southern accents outside London via social class mobility and the expansion of London. From some time during the 19th century, middle and upper-middle classes began to adopt affectations, including the RP accent, associated with the upper class. In the late 20th and 21st century other social changes, such as middle-class RP-speakers forming an increasing component of rural communities, have accentuated the spread of RP. The south-east coast accents traditionally have several features in common with the West country; for example, rhoticity and the a: sound in words such as "bath", "cast", etc. However, the younger generation in the area is more likely to be non-rhotic and use the London/East Anglian A: sound in "bath".

After the Second World War, about one million Londoners were relocated to new and expanded towns throughout the south east, bringing with them their distinctive London accent (and possibly sowing the seed of Estuary English).

outh-West of England

English as spoken in the West Country has many varied accents and dialects - in fact the Survey of English Dialects found that these were as far from Standard English as anything from the far North. This variety comes from a complex history, relative isolation historically, and the fact that in Cornwall, the Celtic Cornish language, and not English, was dominant until the late 1500s.

East Anglia


The Norfolk dialect is spoken in the traditional county of Norfolk and areas of north Suffolk. Famous speakers include Lord Nelson and Keith Skipper.The group FOND (Friends Of the Norfolk Dialect) was formed to record the county's dialect and to provide advice for TV companies using the dialect in productions.


* As in the North, Midlands accents generally do not use a broad A, so that "cast" is pronounced [kast] rather than the IPA| [kɑːst] pronunciation of most southern accents. The northern limit of the IPA| [ɑː] in many words crosses England from mid-Shropshire to The Wash, passing just south of Birmingham.

* Midlands speech also generally uses the northern short U, so "putt" is pronounced the same as "put". The southern limit of this pronunciation also crosses from mid-Shropshire to the Wash, but dipping further south to the northern part of Oxfordshire.Fact|date=February 2007

* The West Midlands accent is often described as having a pronounced nasal quality, the East Midlands accent much less so.

* "Old" and "cold" may be pronounced as "owd" and "cowd" (rhyming with "loud" in the West Midlands and "ode" in the East Midlands), and in the northern Midlands "home" can become "wom".

* Whether Derbyshire should be classed as the West or East Midlands in terms of dialect is debatable. Stanley Ellis, a dialect expert, said in 1985 that it was more like the West Midlands, but it is often grouped with the East and is part of the E.U. region "East Midlands".Fact|date=February 2007

* Cheshire, although part of the North-West region, is usually grouped the Midlands for the purpose of accent and dialect.

West Midlands

* The best known accents in the West Midlands area are the Birmingham accents (see "Brummie") and the Black Country accent ("Yam Yam").

* Dialect verbs are used, for example "am" for "are", "ay" for "is not" (related to "ain't"), "bay" for "are not", "bin" for "am" or, emphatically, for "are". Hence the following joke dialogue about bay windows: "What sort of windas am them?" "They'm bay windas." "Well if they bay windas wot bin them?". There is also humour to be derived from the shop-owner's sign of Mr. "E. A. Wright" (that is, "He ay [isn't] right," a phrase implying someone is "saft" [soft] in the "jed" [head] ). "Saft" also may mean silly as in, "Stop bein' so saft".

* The Birmingham and Coventry accents are quite distinct, even though the cities are only 19 miles/30 km apart.

* The "g" sound may be emphatically pronounced where it occurs in the combination "ng", in words such as "ringing" and "fang".

* Around Stoke-on-Trent, the short "i" can sound rather like a short "e", so "milk" and "biscuit" become something like "melk" and "bess-kit". Strong 'Potteries' accents can even render the latter as "bess-keet". The Potteries accent is perhaps the most distinctly 'northern' of the West Midlands accents, given that the urban area around Stoke-on-Trent is close to the Cheshire border.

* Herefordshire and parts of Worcestershire and Shropshire have a rhotic accent somewhat like the West Country.

East Midlands

* East Midlands accents are generally non-rhotic.
* Yod-dropping, as in East Anglia, can be found in some areaswhere, for example "new" as IPA|/nuː/, sounding like "noo".
* The "u" vowel of words like "strut" is often IPA| [ʊ] , with no distinction between "putt" and "put". In Lincolnshire, such sounds are even shorter than in the North.

* The town of Corby in northern Northamptonshire has an accent with some originally Scottish features, apparently due to immigration of Scottish steelworkers. [http://www.joensuu.fi/fld/methodsxi/abstracts/dyer.html]
* In Leicester, words with short vowels such as "up" and "last" have a northern pronunciation, whereas words with vowels such as "down" and "road" sound rather more like a south-eastern accent. The vowel sound at the end of words like "border" (and the name of the city) is also a distinctive feature. [http://www.bbc.co.uk/voices/recordings/individual/leicester-football-lees-anita.shtml]

* In north Nottinghamshire "ee" found in short words is pronounced as two syllables, for example "feet" being IPA| ['fijəʔ] , sounding like "fee-yut" (and also in this case ending with a glottal stop).Fact|date=February 2007
* Lincolnshire also has a marked north-south split in terms of accent. The north shares many features with Yorkshire, such as the open "a" sound in "car" and "park" or the replacement of "take" and "make" with "tek" and "mek". The south of Lincolnshire is close to Standard English, although it still has a short Northern a in words such as "bath".
* Mixing of the words "was" and "were" when the other is used in Standard English.
* In Northamptonshire, crossed by the North-South isogloss, residents of the north of the county have an accent similar to that of Leicestershire and those in the south an accent similar to rural Oxfordshire.

outh-East Midlands

The traditional dialects of Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and south Northamptonshire are closer to Received Pronunciation than any other dialects in Britain. This is because the upper-class who migrated into London during the 15th century were mostly from the counties just north of London Fact|date=May 2008. However, there are still a number of differences between their dialects and R.P.:
* This area traditionally used IPA|/a:/clarifyme in words where an was followed by IPA|/f/, IPA|/s/ or IPA|/θ/. Younger speakers in the area are more likely to use the R.P. IPA|/ɑː/. ["The Linguistic Atlas of England", Maps Ph1 and Ph2]
* The isogloss for the vowel in "cup, push, such", etc. is another traditional north-south marker, but the isogloss is slightly further south for this. Much of the area uses IPA|/ʊ/. Some parts of this area, such as Peterborough, would use the southern pronunciation for "bath" but the northern pronunciation for "suck". ["The Linguistic Atlas of England", Maps Ph127a, Ph128a and Ph158]
* The TRAP vowel (corresponding to RP IPA|/æ/) is realised as IPA| [a] , as is the case in all of England except the south-east and East Anglia. [Peter Trudgill, "The Dialects of England", Blackwell, Oxford, 2000, page 32]
* In common with the south-east, the vowel in "about, pound, sound", etc may be IPA| [ɛʊ] rather than IPA|/aʊ/. ["The Linguistic Atlas of England", Maps 147, 148 and 149]
* It is common for residents of this area to pronounce the -shire in county names as IPA|/ʃɪə/ rather than the more common IPA|/ʃə/, which is used in the Oxford Dictionary. [In the 1993 Oxford Dictionary, Derbyshire, Wiltshire and Yorkshire are all listed as pronounced with IPA|/ʃə/]
* In some areas, an /ai/ can turn into an [oi] sound. For example, "nineteen ninety-five" would be said as "noineteen noientee foive".

Northern England

General features

There are several accent features which are common to most of the accents of northern England (Wells 1982, section 4.4).

* The "short "a" vowel of "cat, trap" is normally pronounced IPA| [a] rather than the IPA| [æ] found in traditional Received Pronunciation and in many forms of American English.
* The accents of Northern England generally do not use a IPA|/ɑː/. so "cast" is pronounced IPA| [kast] rather than the IPA| [kɑːst] pronunciation of most southern accents.
* In some cases, the RP IPA|/ɑː/ instead becomes IPA|/aː/: for example, in the words "palm, cart, start, tomato".
* Northern English tends not to have IPA|/ʌ/ ("strut", "but", etc.) as a separate vowel. Most words that have this vowel in RP are pronounced with IPA|/ʊ/ in Northern accents, so that "put" and "putt" are homophonous as IPA|/pʊt/. But some words with IPA|/ʊ/ in RP can have IPA|/uː/ in the more conservative Northern accents, so that a pair like "luck" and "look" may be distinguished as IPA|/lʊk/ and IPA|/luːk/.
* In most areas, the letter "y" on the end of words as in "happy" or "city" is pronounced IPA| [ɪ] , like the "i" in "bit", and not IPA| [i] . This was considered RP until the 1990s. The longer IPA| [i] is found in the far north and in the Merseyside area.
* The vowel in "dress, test, pet", etc. is slightly more open, transcribed by Wells as IPA|/ɛ/ rather than IPA|/e/.
* The Received Pronunciation phonemes IPA|/eɪ/ (as in "face") and IPA|/əʊ/ (as in "goat") are often pronounced as monophthongs (such as IPA|/eː/ and IPA|/oː/). However, the quality of these vowels varies considerably across the region, and this is considered a greater indicator of a speaker's social class than the less stigmatised aspects listed above.

Some dialect words used across the North are listed in extended editions of the Oxford Dictionary with a marker "North England": for example, the words "ginnell" and "snicket" for specific types of alleyway, the word "fettle" for to organise, or the use of "while" to mean "until". For more localised features, see the following sections.

The "present historical" is named after the speech of the region, but it is often used in many working class dialects in the south of England too. Instead of saying "I "said" to him", users of the rule would say, "I "says" to him". Instead of saying, "I "went" up there", they would say, "I "goes" up there.

In the far north of England, the local speech is indistinguishable from Scottish English. Wells said that northernmost Northumberland "though politically English is linguistically Scottish". ["Accents of English", Cambridge, 1983, p.351]

Liverpool (Scouse)


"Wuthering Heights" is one of the few classic works of English literature to contain a substantial amount of dialect. Set in Haworth, the servant Joseph speaks in the traditional dialect of the area, which many modern readers struggle to understand. This dialect was still spoken around Haworth until the late 1970s, but there is now only a minority of it still in everyday use. [ K.M. Petyt, "Emily Bronte and the Haworth Dialect", Hudson History, Settle, 2001.]

Middlesbrough area

The accents for Middlesbrough and the surrounding towns are sometimes grouped with Yorkshire and sometimes grouped with the North-East of England, for they share characteristics with both. As this urban area grew in the early 20th century, there are fewer dialect words that date back to older forms of English; Teesside speak is the sort of modern dialect that Peter Trudgill identified in his "The Dialects of England". There is a Lower Tees Dialect groupcite web
title=TeesSpeak: Dialect of the Lower Tees Valley
publisher=This is the North East
] A recent study found that most people from Middlesbrough do not consider their accent to be "Yorkshire", but that they are less hostile to being grouped with Yorkshire than to being grouped with the Geordie accent.cite paper
author=Llamas, Carmen
title=Middlesbrough English: Convergent and divergent trends in a "Par of Britain with no identity".
version =
publisher=University of Leeds
] Some examples of traits that are shared with [most parts of] Yorkshire include:
* H-dropping.
* An IPA|/aː/ sound in words such as "start, car, park", etc.
* In common with the east coast of Yorkshire, words such as "bird, first, nurse", etc. have an /E:/ sound. It is difficult to represent this using the alphabet, but could be written "bare-d, fare-st, nare-ss". [This vowel sound also occurs in Liverpool and Birkenhead] .

Examples of traits shared with the North-East include:
* Absence of definite article reduction.
* Glottal stops for /k/, /p/ and /t/ can all occur.

The vowel in "goat" is an IPA|/oː/ sound, as is found in both Durham and rural North Yorkshire. In common with this area of the country, Middlesbrough is a non-rhotic accent.



North-East England

*Dialects in this region are often known as Mackem or Geordie. The dialects across the region are broadly similar however some differences do exist. For example, with words ending -re/-er, such as culture and father, the end syllable is pronounced by a Newcastle native as a short 'a', such as in 'fat' and 'back' therefore producing "cultcha" and "fatha" respectively. The Sunderland area would pronounce the syllable much more closely to the standard English. Similarly, Geordies pronounce "make" in line with standard English e.g. to rhyme with take. However, a Mackem would pronounce "make" to rhyme with "mack" or "tack" (hence the origin of the term Mackem). For other differences see the respective articles. For an explanation of the traditional dialects of the mining areas of County Durham and Northumberland see Pitmatic.

* A feature of the North East accent, shared with Scots and Irish English, is the pronunciation of the consonant cluster -lm in coda position. As an example, "film" is pronounced as "filəm".

Examples of accents used by public figures

*Received Pronunciation: The Queen's accent has changed slightly over the years but she still speaks a conservative form of RP. [http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/estuary/queen.htm http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/003859.html See here for discussion of how the Queen's speech has changed slightly.] Margaret Thatcher, Tony Benn and the Noel Coward films are examples of old-fasioned RP, whereas David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Trevor McDonald, John Cleese and David Dimbleby are examples of contemporary RP.
*Berkshire (a southern rural accent): poet Pam Ayres, comedy writer and performer Ricky Gervais is from Reading.
*Birmingham (Brummie): the rock musician Ozzy Osbourne (although he sometimes Americanises his speech), Jasper Carrot, Rob Halford, Mark Rhodes Pop Idol 2003. See Brummie for more examples.
*Bristol: Professor Colin Pillinger of the Beagle 2 project, comedy writer, actor, radio DJ and director Stephen Merchant. Presenter and Comedian Justin Lee Collins.
*Coventry: the actor Clive Owen, in the films "Sin City" and "King Arthur"
*Gloucestershire: Laurie Lee, ruralist
*Hampshire (a southern rural accent): the late John Arlott, sports presenter and gardener Charlie Dimmock.
*Hertfordshire: comedian and writer Robert Newman
* Lancashire: comedian Peter Kay, McFly singer and guitarist Danny Jones and BBC Radio 1 DJ Vernon Kay as well as Bernard Wrigley have degrees of broad Bolton accents. The actress, Michelle Holmes, has a Rochdale accent, which is virtually identical to the western fringe of Yorkshire and she has featured mostly in Yorkshire dramas. Julie Hesmondhalgh and Vicky Entwistle and Julie Haworth all from Coronation Street have East Lancashire accents which have a slightly different intonation and rhythm and also feature clear rhoticity.
*London: listen to old recordings by Petula Clark, Julie Andrews, the Rolling Stones, and The Who (although many of these contain affected patterns). For a clear example, see actor Stanley Holloway (Eliza Doolittle's father in "My Fair Lady"), or footballer David Beckham.
**Cockney: the actors Bob Hoskins, Michael Caine. Ray Winstone has quite an old-fashioned Cockney accent, and his replacement of an initial /r/ with a /w/ has been stigmatised. More examples can be heard in the movies "Snatch" and "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels". The Sex Pistols had Cockney accents, with Steve Jones having the strongest.
**Mockney: used by Guy Ritchie and many musicians, it is a variant of the London regional accent characterised by a non-standard mixture of linguistic and social class characteristics.
**West London: the journalist Janet Street Porter.
**Estuary: the model Jordan (Katie Price).
*Manchester: Oasis members Liam and Noel Gallagher, Herman's Hermits, actor Dominic Monaghan.
**Liverpool (Scouse): recordings by The Beatles (George Harrison's accent was the strongest of the four), Gerry and the Pacemakers, Echo and the Bunnymen. Also the singer Cilla Black and the actors Craig Charles and Ricky Tomlinson. Footballer Steven Gerrard also has a scouse accent. The British soap Brookside was set in Liverpool so the majority of the cast, including Philip Olivier and Jennifer Ellison, had scouse accents.
**St Helens: Comedian Johnny Vegas. The comedy band the Lancashire Hotpots sing in a traditional rhotic St Helens accent.
**The Wirral: Comedian and TV presenter Paul O'Grady alias Lily Savage is from Birkenhead, pop singer Pete Burns of Dead or Alive is from the model village Port Sunlight.
*Salford: actor Christopher Eccleston.
*Stoke-on-Trent or The Potteries: pop star Robbie Williams, TV presenter Anthea Turner, ex pop star and TV presenter Jonathan Wilkes has a strong Potteries accent.
*Sunderland (Mackem): the accent of the rock group The Futureheads and ex-footballer Chris Waddle, is easily detected on recordings and live performanes
*Tyneside (Geordie): former Cabinet members Alan Milburn MP and Nick Brown MP, the actors Robson Green and Tim Healy, the footballer Alan Shearer, actor and singer Jimmy Nail, rock singer Brian Johnson, television personalities Ant and Dec, Donna Air, Jayne Middlemiss. Singer Cheryl Tweedy of Girls Aloud has a strong Newcastle accent.
*West Country: The Vicar of Dibley was set in Oxfordshire, and many of the characters had West Country accents.
*West Midlands: Phil Drabble, presenter of "One Man and His Dog".
*Leicester: The band Kasabian have good examples of the Leicester accent.
**Barnsley: in the 1969 film "Kes", the lead characters, David Bradley and Freddie Fletcher, both have very broad Barnsley accents, which are less likely to be heard nowadays. Sam Nixon from Pop Idol 2003, Top Of The Pops Saturday and Reloaded and Level Up also has a Barnsley accent. Also, chat show host Michael Parkinson and ex-union leader Arthur Scargill have slightly reduced Barnsley accents.
**Bradford: singers Gareth Gates and Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud. In "Rita, Sue and Bob Too", Bob has a Bradford accent whilst Rita and Sue sound more like Lancashire.
**Hemsworth: cricketer Geoffrey Boycott has an accent similar to those found in many old coal-mining towns
**Holme Valley: Actor Peter Sallis, of "Last of the Summer Wine" and "Wallace and Gromit"
**Kingston-upon-Hull: Radio DJ and former leader of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South, Paul Heaton.
**Leeds: Melanie Brown of the Spice Girls and Beverley Callard who plays Liz McDonald in Coronation Street Radio DJ Chris Moyles.
**Scarborough: the film "Little Voice"
**Sheffield: Sean Bean, the band "Pulp". The film "The Full Monty", the band Arctic Monkeys

Radio and TV featuring regional English accents

Misrepresentations can also appear in the media. The soap "Emmerdale" is set in Yorkshire, yet some of the actors have Lancashire accents. "Coronation Street" is set in Lancashire, yet some of the actors speak with Yorkshire accents. It's fair to say both programmes have actors from either side of the Pennines. As most Britons cannot tell the difference between an accent from Lancashire and one from the West Riding of Yorkshire, media set in these areas tend to continuously use the same actors, such as Pete Postlethwaite, Bernard Wrigley and Michelle Holmes.

"The Archers" has had characters with a variety of different West Country accents (see Mummerset). Also, CBBC show "Byker Grove" is set in Byker, Newcastle whereas the actors in recent series often have Sunderland accents.

The shows of Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement have often included a variety of regional accents, the most notable being "Auf Wiedersehen Pet" about working class men in Germany. Other programmes by them include "Porridge" featuring London and Cumberland accents, and "The Likely Lads", featuring north east England.

The programmes of Carla Lane such as "The Liver Birds" and "Bread" also feature Scouse accents.

The film Brassed Off is known for being a terribly inaccurate representation of accents in the Barnsley area of Yorkshire.

In the 2005 version of the science fiction programme "Doctor Who", various Londoners wonder that if the Doctor (played by Christopher Eccleston) is an alien, why does he sound as if he comes from the North? (Eccleston used his own Salford accent in the role; the usual response is "Lots of planets have a North!") Other accents in the same series include Cockney (used by actress Billie Piper) and Estuary (preferred by Eccleston's successor, David Tennant).

Channel 4's reality programme "Rock School" was set in Suffolk in its 2nd series, providing lots of examples of the Suffolk dialect.

The television character, Stewie Griffin, from the popular animated TV series "Family Guy" is well known for his English accent in the US, despite not sounding authentic to most English people. His voice actor Seth MacFarlane, also creator of the TV series, is American. Dick Van Dyke had similar success with his Cockney accent in the Disney film "Mary Poppins". However, this accent is highly inaccurate as Van Dyke made the erroneous decision that the best place for him to learn a Cockney accent was in Australia.

ee also

*Languages in the United Kingdom
*Queen's English Society
*Regional accents of English speakers
*American and British English differences



* Peters, Pam (2004). "The Cambridge Guide to English Usage". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-62181-X.
* McArthur, Tom (2002). "Oxford Guide to World English". Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-866248-3 hardback, ISBN 0-19-860771-7 paperback.
* Trask, Larry (1999). "Language: The Basics", 2nd edition. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-20089-X.
* Trudgill, Peter (1984). "Language in the British Isles". Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-28409-0.
* Trudgill, Peter and Jean Hannah. (2002). International English: A Guide to the Varieties of Standard English, 4th ed. London: Arnold. ISBN 0-340-80834-9.
* Wells, J. C. (1982). "Accents of English 2: The British Isles". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-28540-2.

External links

* [http://www.iana.org/assignments/lang-tags/en-GB-oed IANA language tag for eng-GB-oed]
* [http://www.natcorp.ox.ac.uk British National Corpus] . (Official website for the BNC.)
* [http://www.collectbritain.co.uk/collections/dialects/ English Accents and Dialects] : searchable free-access archive of 681 English English speech samples, wma format with linguistic commentary including phonetic transcriptions in X-SAMPA, British Library [http://www.collectbritain.co.uk Collect Britain] website.
* [http://www.audioenglish.net/p/british_american_english_pronunciation.htm Online British English and American English pronunciation courses]
* [http://www.peak.org/~jeremy/dictionary/ The American·British British·American Dictionary]
* [http://www.bbcamerica.com/britain/dictionary.jsp BBC America's British American dictionary]
*. (Advocates "-ise" spellings.)
*For the Yorkshire dialect, see http://www.yorksj.ac.uk/dialect/
*For Scottish English, see http://www.scots-online.org/grammar/sse.htm
* [http://www.world-english.org/ World English Organization]

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