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British Accent: 5 Tips How to Understand British English Better

British accent

British Accent: Every country has its own linguistic diversity. In a multinational state, different languages ​​are used, and in any other there are dialects and accents. Let’s take Russia, for example, where language is simply full of territorial differences. For example, the other day I made fun of my Muscovite colleague with the word “half-baked”, normal for my hometown (it’s absent-minded, inattentive, if anyone doesn’t even know). 🙂

Some people say: ‘British is professional, American is urban’

What strikes me in the UK is the presence of different accents even within the same city!

But before moving on to the discussion of English dialects, just in case, we will deal with important concepts:

A dialect is a type of language that is widespread in one territory (its own “phrases”, grammar rules that differ from the norm, etc.). My “one and a half example” is from this opera.

Accent is a feature of pronunciation, dialect (the same words, but they will sound differently, with distorted sounds). In Russia, someone “barks” or “barks”, or maybe “barks” – all these are different accents.

British accent maps

Great Britain consists of administrative and political parts: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. In this regard, in the UK, in addition to English, other languages ​​included in the Celtic group are used: Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Gaelic and Cornish.

In this case, the main language, of course, is English: only 10-20% of the population knows their “native” NOT English, and an even smaller part of it actively uses it. However, they have a lot of influence in English. We find traces of this influence in dialects.

As an example of British Accent, listen to the beautiful Margaret Thatcher

Now we will deal with English dialects and accents. Let’s go in the following order:

  • first we’ll discuss the full languages ​​that exist in the UK,
  • then dialects
  • and then describe some of the accents.


Scottish dialect, or What are scotticisms

I’ll clarify right away that here we will talk about dialect words / grammatical features, and about a specific dialect. One source said about Scottish English: “more than a dialect; less than a full language. ”

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Here are some of the features that distinguish Scottish English from “classic ”.

1. Scots have the plural of the 2nd person personal pronoun – yous . That is: you = you, and you = it is yous.

2. They are more likely to use continuous tense of verbs: I of’m want ing some milk is (instead of “I want some milk”)

3. They may use different prepositions: I was waiting on you (instead of “I was waiting for you”).

4. Of course, the Scots have their own “phrases” and expressions:

Outwith = outside of

Wee = small

Pinkie = little finger

Janitor = caretaker

Aye = yes

Whaur dae ye bide? = Where do you live?

Caw canny = Go easy

Awrite! = Hi!

Am tint = Im lost


Scottish Accent English

An interesting video about how difficult it is for the British themselves to understand each other

The singing intonations of Wales

Here, English is also greatly influenced by the Welsh language native to these places.

1. This is seen in grammatical constructions using not even double negation (forbidden in English), but rather triple: I haven’t done nothin ‘to nobody, see? (often colloquially);

2. Them can be used as a possessive pronoun: them things – their things;

3. Non-standard forms of the verb are used: She catched it (instead of caught);

4. Freer relation to the word order in the sentence: there’s cold it is instead of it’s cold (the word order is changed for the purpose of expressiveness);

5. Isn’t it used very often? after questions: You’re a teacher, isn’t it? (may be replaced by a refinement – yes?)

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6. There are words that are used in a different way from “ordinary” English meaning. For example, now is soon rather , and again can be used as later (then, another time). Tidy – not neat, but the exclamation of “Great!”  (and a number of other slang values).

7. There are local words:

Clennig = Gift of money,

Eisteddfod = Cultural festival,

Chopsing = Arguing et al.

By the way, we can isolate two more words from the well-known dog breed Welsh Corgi: cor (dwarf) and ci (dog).

There are many Welsh words that, according to the inhabitants of Wales, are simply not translatable into English: hwyl (a mixture of excitement, enthusiasm and energy), hiraeth (a kind of melancholy and nostalgia, which, according to the Welsh themselves, are experienced only by them). Other words, such as bach (“dear”), have alternatives in English, but are too rooted, so they are still used.

Welsh Accent is also part of British Accent

Irish accent

Talking about a single “Irish dialect” will not be entirely correct, since within Northern Ireland alone we can find a huge number of varieties of language. However, we will try to find some common features.

1. The Irish do not answer the questions “yes” (yes) or “no” (no). Instead, they repeat the verb of the question: Are you going to Jane’s party tonight? – I am.

2. Often, residents of Northern Ireland use the “doubling” construct: I’ve no time at all at all.

3. There are also dialectic words, for example: runners – sneakers, jumper – sweater, ride – a very attractive person of any gender, etc.

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