British accents

http://www.bbc.co.uk/voices/yourvoice/accents_comments.shtml
23 Sentember, 2014. Your Voice/Accents/ Comments

Asst.Prof.Dr.Pacapol Anurit, Bangkok, Thailand
I spent 12 years of my life on education in London. Now that I’ve come back to Thailand for good for about five years; most Brits I’ve come across are impressed with the London Estuary accent I picked up Estuary accent. It also amazes many Americans.

Haylee from South London
I lived in south London all my life but two years ago I moved to Lincolnshire. I’ve found if you are not from Lincs [Lincolnshire] or haven’t got an accent like them, then you’re not accepted round there. It took me a good six months to make proper friends around there. I started a waitressing job in one of there local pubs and the other girls there made me to feel I shouldn’t be there and weren’t very nice all because I was from somewhere else. Of course, I gave them a piece of my mind as us Londoners know how to look after ourselves. Apparently us Londoners think were better than them and we nick there houses: how pathetic! I’m proud of where I’m from and I am not gonna change my accent for no one in it, lol.

to give smb. a piece of one’s mind — высказаться напрямик; отчитать кого-л.

Shiobhan from Essex
I grew up in Margate (Kent) but with my Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle and Mother who were from the Isle of Skye and I spoke with that soft almost Irish accent that they had. Then I moved to Wiltshire for a couple of years at 6 and then eventually to London. Consequently, I now have a totally mixed up accent. I find I pick up accents very quickly even those I don’t like. Being half Irish and Scottish, I would love to have a soft Edinburgh accent rather than this ugly Cockney – Essex accent that I now have developed.

Janette, Kent
I was born in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire but brought up from the age of 5 in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire. Even though I have now lived ‘down south’ for over 20 years my accent has not gone. Having previously lived in Middlesex, Surrey, Essex, Hertfordshire and now Kent, the locals still notice my accent and sometimes look at me strangely when I speak. When I go back to Yorkshire people say I now ‘talk posh’. I don’t feel I speak any differently, but perhaps over time you adapt to where you live. It is really funny when people try to mimic me.

Kay from California
I have lived in South California for all of my 21 years. When I was 13, I went to Ohio to visit some relatives for about a month, and I almost couldn’t stop laughing because of the accent there. Everyone seemed so sweet and quaint, even if they were acting snotty. Soon I figured out that I felt that way because of how people from the Midwest are portrayed in movies. They always seem cute and seldom play evil characters. Californians, however usually come off as snobby, fake, and harsh. I personally think that it’s hilarious how we Californians think that we have “no” accent. But also, what is amazing, are the different accents one hears within this state. In a way, it’s almost like the “Microcosm” of UK English. In California, the Valley Girl, Surfer Dude, Mexifornian, Bland Newscaster, and Silicon Valley Hotshot and Midwest Transplant think this state is an “accent-free” area, but it’s just not. Whenever anyone, in any part of the world, opens their mouth, they are instantly judged. Whether we like it or not, we are a species of stereotypes. Personally, I like a good Scots accent. Not necessarily the frequently incomprehensible thick Highland brogue, but perhaps Southwest. I have watched British TV and movies since I was little, have been to Scotland, England and Ireland, and I must say that I do not like RP at all. It’s very dull, dismal, stuffy and unaffected (plus, it’s easy to poke fun at!). Give me some friendly Welsh, Irish, or Scots any day! I suppose I’m guilty of stereotyping, too!

quaint [kweɪnt] a  странный, необычный, чудной, эксцентричный
quaint way of speaking [of walking] — необычная /странная/ манера говорить [походка]
snotty [ˈsnɒtɪ] a сл. 1) злой, раздражительный; 2) наглый; 3) высокомерный, чванливый

microcosm [ˈmaɪkrəʊˌkɒzəm]  микрокосм; микромир
brogue  [brəʊɡ] n провинциальный (особ. ирландский) акцент
dismal [ˈdɪzməl] a гнетущий, давящий; зловещий

stuffy [ˈstʌfɪ] a  1. скучный, неинтересный; 2. разг. обидчивый; сердитый, надутый; 3. разг. лицемерный, ханжеский; пуританский; косный, консервативный
unaffected [ˌʌnəˈfɛktɪd] a  простой, безучастный, равнодушный

Emma Claughton originally from Leeds [a city in West Yorkshire, England]
I originally come from Leeds in West Yorkshire and speak with a West Yorkshire accent, example: dropping my H’s and vowels and not being able to pronounce my R’s properly etc. I have lived near York in North Yorkshire for the past 14 years, and there is a difference in the Yorkshire accents, albeit a slight one. The North Yorkshire accent tends to be softer and gentler whereas the West Yorkshire accent is broader Yorkshire like the Yorkshire Dales or Moors, maybe because it is closer to them than in North Yorkshire!!!
albeit [ɔːlˈbiːɪt] хотя, даже хотя, тем не менее

Rana from London
I’m from Queensland in Australia which has a pretty grating accent. I had lived there my whole life until coming London about 18 months ago. I had spoken “proper” English and while working in Oz was often asked “how long it was since I came over here from England” (with no relatives being from outside Oz you can’t blame that!!). And while living in London it seems I have adopted a quite strong English accent, or as my friends say “posh Rana” as there is no differentiation between the sound of my words and those of an inner-West Londoner (and even I, a foreigner, can note the regional dialects, even in London). I believe that accents can be subconsciously changed in a very small amount of time- and even though there are some who fake it to make their lives easier, there are others, like myself, who just deal with it.

grating [ˈɡreɪtɪŋ] a  скрипучий, резкий; grating noise [voice] – резкий звук [голос]; grating sound – скрип, скрежет
Oz [ɒz]  noun, Australian Slang. = Australia.

Vicky from Hebburn [North East England]
I have a rather unique take on this argument, as from as far back as I remember, living in Tyneside with very broad accents all around me, I persisted in continually and persistently speaking in what amounted to RP. This was an anomaly, because my mother and father were both Tynesiders with incredibly broad accents. I do not have any idea why I speak the way I do, but it is funny sometimes. People keep asking me where I’m from. “Hebburn”, I tell them. No, “originally”, they ask!

Rachel from Bristol
I’m Brissle born and bred, but it wasn’t until I started going for jobs outside the West that I realised my accent is so strong. People seem to struggle to understand me even when I am talking in what sounds to me like RP. However, even the blank looks are better than the times when people start talking slowly and clearly to me, using gestures and avoiding long words. When I’m not using my natural dialect, my grammar is better than theirs. So why do they assume I’m thick? I’m working on losing my accent as quickly as possible, because it’s holding me back.

hold back [phr v] сдерживать; удерживать; задерживать

Nina from Germany
I am doing a lecture at Uni about Estuary English, that’s why I got here to read your comments. Apparently you are all very aware of accents and dialects, that I find surprising. Especially I don’t understand why almost everybody here is not quite in favour of Estuary English. German people mostly don’t mind if you have a slight accent, but there is a news presenter who lisps, that most people find absolutely annoying.
lisp [lɪsp] n  шепелявить

Richard Flynn co-hosts UsingEnglish.com and is the editor and main content author. He took a BA in English Language and Literature
Mockney & Estuary English
Estuary English is a form of spoken English that has become widespread and popular in recent years in Britain, especially in London and wherever the so-called ‘chattering classes’ (people like journalists, who talk a lot) are found. It is basically fairly Standard English but with a pronunciation that is quite influenced by the English of London, Cockney. Generally, the grammar is unchanged but features such as the ‘glottal stop’, where the letter T is not pronounced in the middle of words such as ‘bottle’ (pronounced ‘bo’all’) are used.
It is called Estuary English because many upwardly mobile professional people among whom it is fashionable live in the Docklands area of London by the river. It is also called Mockney because it is a fake or MOCK form of Cockney English, without all the colourful language play and complex use of slang that make Cockney English so fascinating.

upwardly mobile /ˌʌpwədliˈməʊbaɪl/ = moving or able to move to a higher social class, for example by becoming richer: The meeting attracted upwardly mobile professional and political women.

Chelsea from Liverpool

I was born in Canada and moved to Liverpool when I was 18 to go to university. It took 2 years to get the Scouse accent mastered. I love going back to Canada and going up to people and pretending that I need directions. Every time I say something, they stare at me like I’m crazy, It’s so fun!
scouse [skaʊs] n (тж. Scouse) 1) уроженец Ливерпуля, ливерпулец; 2) ливерпульский диалект

Gary Ross from Edinburgh
While I have nothing against regional accents per se, I don’t like speaking the way I do, despite many people telling me that I am already very well spoken. I prefer the accentless way people from, for example, Surrey speak, and I am taking elocution lessons to learn to lose my own accent and develop a regional accent free speech both for fun and for profit.

elocution [ˌɛləˈkjuːʃən] n  ораторское искусство; красноречие;  дикция

Katie, Leeds
I was born in Liverpool but currently living in Leeds [a city in West Yorkshire] as I’m still at uni. Being a scouser is something that I’ve been very conscious of. When people here learn you are from Liverpool they suddenly have to become all very sympathetic towards you and often do not take you very seriously at all because of the way one speaks as opposed to someone speaking the ‘Queens English’. I think accents should be celebrated. People should not worry that Received Pronunciation is dying out or that the BBC are apparently dumping down TV just because we no longer have every presenter talking as though they have plums in their mouth. Accents are part and parcel of British life. People must start to accept this diversity, when they do maybe the old north/south divide will be no more….
part and parcel — составная /неотъемлемая/ часть

Karen from Edmonton [the capital city of the Canadian province of Alberta]
I constantly get asked if I am from Wales because of my Welsh accent however I have never lived anywhere outside of Canada. My ancestors on my mother’s side hail from Wales which intrigues me so maybe it is an accent that has been carried through the generations. Quite interesting, I think.

hail [heɪl] v  быть родом (откуда-л.); where do you hail from? — откуда вы родом?; he hails from London — он из Лондона

Little me, North Notts [Nottinghamshire, abbreviated Notts, is a county in the East Midlands of England]
I’m proud of my roots, dialect and accent, east mids isn’t considered to have a strong distinct accent, there is quite a different dialects, e.g. (ey up=hi, cob=bread roll). My dad spent the first 15 years of his life in Middleton Leeds and the last 32 here in Notts and still has a strong Yorkshire accent, I do tend to say the odd Yorkshire word, e.g. young un! lol I think east mids accent and culture is overlooked. My aunt has lived in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Kent equally went going to her current home. She sounds completely southern to me whereas her husband says she speaks like me?! People who “developed” a different accent after a year away are clearly faking it. My friend’s mum is from London and tells my friend to talk properly to which my friend puts on a southern accent and then speaks differently with other people. This is pure snobbery southern accents are no posher than northern ones, and there is no right or wrong way to speak it.
overlook v = пренебрегать, игнорировать; недооценивать
snobbery [ˈsnɒbəri] n  снобизм

Chris from Winnipeg, Canada
Canada is a young, highly urbanized country so we don’t seem to have strongly divergent regional accents, although they do exist. Winnipeg has a sing-songy accent with rising intonation, as if everything we say is a question. A friend from Toronto told me that Winnipegers sound to her like hicks, which makes sense because she sounds awfully posh to me. My cousin from Berkshire thinks I sound Irish, which is a frequent comment from you English. Maritimers, especially Newfoundlanders, sound to my ears like Brad Pitt’s character in the movie Snatch. I find people from Vancouver and Toronto sound posh, or at least ‘Canadian posh’ if such a thing exists. Our aboriginal population also has their own distinctive accent and dialect that is utterly bizarre but they tend to speak rather slowly so they are easy to understand. Winnipeg also has a sizable French population but their accent is quite different from, say, a Parisien’s. We also have a tendency to speak very quickly. Nevertheless, our central Canadian accent must be somewhat pleasant because Winnipeg has more call-centres than any city in North America. I am generally conscious of my accent only when I’m with friends or drinking, when it becomes very pronounced.

divergent [daɪˈvɜːdʒənt] a отклоняющийся, отличный
hick [hɪk] n амер. сл. провинциал; деревенщина
bizarre [bɪˈzɑː] a  странный, причудливый, эксцентричный

Emily from Tasmania, Australia
It’s fascinating to read about all the confusion just within Britain about accents. I was born in Tasmania and speak with an ‘upper class’ accent – not quite RP, but what is called ‘cultivated’ here. Most people (including English people) assume I’m English. I take that as a compliment – better than being thought too ‘posh’, I suppose – and certainly better than the awful ‘Strine’ I hear on the telly.

Strine [straɪn] n разг.  австралийский диалект английского языка

Martin, Bolton
I was born and raised in Bolton (north of Manchester) where I developed a strong Bolton accent (like Peter Kay, the comedian). At the age of about eight, my family and I moved to an area (Egerton) where the Boltonian accent wasn’t used. There I lost the accent and now talk without much hint of regional accent at all.

Madeline, Suffolk [an East Anglian county]
For a school project I have been investigating how the use of an accent changes between different age groups. I’ve found many people that alter their accents depending on who they’re talking to, I also found that I do the same quite a lot. Having lived in Suffolk all my life, and being the offspring of a Suffolk hay trusser, I should theoretically speak Broad Suffolk. I am quite ashamed to say that the only time I do speak with a Suffolk accent is when the majority of people around me are doing the same. With my friends I will speak a mixture of Estuary English and Standard English like nearly every student in the school, but with my parents the laziness is taken out of my speech. I don’t make the alterations to my speech consciously but I know that I do it. I hate that you would probably be able to count the Suffolk speakers in my school on one hand but can’t bring myself to speak it all the time. I think it’s a real shame that regional accents are dying out but then I suppose it’s one of the results of a modern lifestyle.

trusser [‘trʌsə] n с.-х. соломовяз, соломовязалка

Dale from Stoke-on-Trent [a city in Staffordshire, England]
I am from Stoke, I aren’t moved anywhere but loads of people I met say I don’t sound like a Stokie, how can this be, I don’t sound proper stoke, but people from the north say I sound “posh”, how come?

Aimee from East Midlands
I’ve been born and raised in Mansfield, Notts. When I go up north I’m told I speak “posh” but when I’m down south I’m told I sound “rough” and “stupid”! I have also been told that my accent is like Sheffield-ish. I love the Yorkshire accent, and I think the people there are much nicer, the Geordie accent is great too. The London and Birmingham accents drive me mad though, and Liverpudlians accents are comical! I don’t think it is fair that East Midlands/Nottinghamshire people have a regional nickname and us Nottingham/Yorkshire people are underestimated: I would say we are the “most fun” people in the UK!

Ian Holt from Stockport [a large town in Greater Manchester, England, 7 miles (11 km) south-east of Manchester city centre]
I have the misfortune of having a very unusual accent that seems to be a combination of Lancashire and Stockport, so it seems to me that people with a ‘proper’ regional accent should count themselves lucky. Even local people can’t understand me sometimes, for example the way I say the word ‘fourteen’ makes people think I’m from Darwen or Colne or somewhere, whereas people, who actually come from deepest Lancashire, think I’m a Mancunian with a speech impediment. I don’t even know how my accent came about, I’ve lived in Stockport all my life and the only Lancashire people I heard while growing up were my father’s parents, who I didn’t see often enough for them to have had an influence. Combined with my habitual use of local slang words, like ‘parky’ and ‘nowty’, this means if I’m outside Stockport I have to really concentrate when I speak and struggle to make myself understood. I’d rather speak like a Brummie to be honest, and I don’t think many people would say that. Oh, well…can’t be ‘elped a spose.

Mancunian [mæŋˈkjuːnɪən] n житель Манчестера
impediment [ɪmˈpɛdɪmənt] n заикание, дефект речи
he has an impediment in his speech – у него дефект речи
come about  phr v  появляться, возникать; good books come about as the result of hard work – хорошие книги появляются в результате большой работы

Nick P from Dorset [a county in South West England on the English Channel coast.]
I won’t say too much about the English accents I hate, as this just exposes my own prejudices, although I can’t resist having a swipe at “refined” Northern English – think Alan Bennett or Molly Sugden in “Are You Being Served”, and you’ll get the idea. Sounds to me like they’re always having a winge. However what I really dislike is Europeans who have learnt English as a second language, (often very well it should be said), but who spoil it by adopting a false American accent, thinking it’s clever. Oddly enough, although I’m quite good at mimicking accents, the one I can’t do without sounding like Peter Sellers playing the Indian doctor is the Welsh accent. This is in spite of having a Welsh father who never lost his accent, and being surrounded by relatives from the Valleys when I was a child.

swipe  [swaɪp] n  разг. сильный удар
winge = whinge /wɪndʒ/  noun  a complaint

Jozef from Huddersfield
Born and bred Yorkshire. I love my accent, sometimes to the extent that you find yourself emphasising it on holiday with your mates. However it gets to me that people sometimes see accents as a sign of unintelligence. I want to do medicine at university and my accent could sadly work against me.

Will from High Wycombe
Coming from the Home counties [the counties of England that surround London] I grew up with a pretty nondescript general southern/soft London accent (that somehow got construed as ‘cockney’ up at the local grammar school). I went to uni at Southampton and spent a fair amount of time around locals, which gradually had an effect on me after while, as when I was with my mates down the pub back in Wycombe for Christmas they thought it was hilarious that I’d said “That’s clahhs in a glahhs” rather than “clarse in a glarse”! Suddenly my reputation went from Cockney wideboy to Farmer Giles in one fell swoop…

nondescript [ˈnɒndɪˌskrɪpt] a неопределённого вида, трудно определимый; неописуемый

construe [kənˈstruː] v 1. объяснять, истолковывать; интерпретировать; 2. делать вывод, подразумевать
swoop [swu:p] n внезапная атака; внезапное нападение, налёт
at one fell swoop — одним злодейским коварным ударом

Jenny from Hampshire
I’ve lived on the Hampshire/Surrey border for all twenty years of my life and would say that I speak with a (modified) RP accent – many people when they meet me assume I come from quite an affluent ‘county’ background having heard the way I speak. However, due to having a father from Northern Ireland and a mother (originally) from Nottingham, I do find myself using a few of their dialectisms – ‘int’it’, for example. Furthermore, owing to a love of historical literature, I occasionally find myself using lexis and syntax that would perhaps now be viewed as obsolete, or at least a little out of place. However I embrace all of this; it all contributes to my own personal idiolect, which in turn is part of my identity as a person.

lexis [‘leksɪs] n (pl lexes [‘leksi:z])  лексика, лексикон, словарный состав (какого-л. языка)
obsolete ˈɒbsəˌliːt; ˌɒbsəˈliːt] a  устарелый, вышедший из употребления; малоупотребительный

Sarah, north London
I have a softly spoken north London accent. Often people ask if I have a horse or if “Daddy pays for my university fees.” I suppose I am very well spoken and perhaps speak clear enough for people. I adore the London accent But sometimes I can overuse the American language – probably because of too much Sky TV.

Steph, Newcastle 
Born and bread in Newcastle. Most of the non-tyneside people I’ve met love the Geordie accent whereas I hate it. Hearing it on TV makes me cringe as we (Geordies) sound so stupid. I tend to ‘pick up’ accents and sometimes drift off from my native accent. People who I have met abroad often ask where I’m from because they can’t figure out the accent. Scottish accents, more so Glaswegian accents are my favourite. A good Midlands/Southern accent is good all the same.

cringe [krɪndʒ] v съёживаться, сжиматься (от страха); испытывать отвращение
your foolish talk makes me cringe — меня тошнит от твоих дурацких разговоров

Hannah, Nottingham
Born and bred in Norwich – but without a Norwich or the softer Norfolk accent. Therefore I sound a bit ‘posh’ when going back to Norwich – but as I live in the East Mids, I do have a placeable ‘southern’ accent. The Norfolk dialect can be perceived to sound a bit ‘thick’ to outsiders, they think of country bumpkins! Because of my southern accent, I’ve been told in Nottingham, that there’s no ‘r’ in glass!

Robin from Leiden, Netherlands
I was born in Lancashire but my folks moved to South Africa when I was a few weeks old, and later moved to Wales. I have a slight northern twang (think bUs, brUsh etc), but otherwise no one can place me and I have often been picked on by northerners for being a southern softy. Others have suggested I went to a good school, or my folks have got lots of money. In fact I went to a dump of a Welsh nationalist school and my parents were not rich. I moved to Holland 4 years ago and sometimes speak English with Dutch grammar! My brother was born in Merseyside and grew up from 6 months old in Wales. He picked up what we call a Borders accent and now speaks like a southerner after living in Kent for 5 years. My sister moved to Australia 10 years ago and now has that sing-song accent that sounds like she’s asking a question all the time. The Aussies think she’s a Kiwi, the Kiwis think she’s an Aussie and the Brits think she’s an Aussie. I think accents are nice to listen to, my favourires are Brummy and Cornish.

Aussie [ˈɒzɪ] n разг. 1. австралиец, австралийка; 2. Австралия

Laura from Hertfordshire
I was born and bred in Hertfordshire so had a sort of ‘soft London’ accent. I then spent four years in Scotland where people sometimes wouldn’t understand me. I then moved to Australia and since then I have developed a ‘posh’ English voice. Since moving back to Herts, I have kept the same voice and sound nothing like my friends and family but seem unable to change back!

Kris from Essex
I love hearing Welsh and Irish accents, they are so much more musical than most English accents. In Essex my accent is considered modern RP, and I always thought I had very little accent, but at university in Wales everyone told me I sounded like a cockney barrow boy to them!!! I could never understand Rab c Nesbit, and I would say a thick Glaswegian accent is the one I would least like to listen to. Birmingham accents always seem to make me laugh, and I love listening to a West Country burr. I hate hearing Estuary English, but always enjoyed a more traditional London accent like my Nan had.

barrow boy =  уличный торговец

Mary from Ireland (Living in London)
When I came to Uni in London, although most people immediately knew I was Irish, others guessed I was from South Africa, Wales, and America. I don’t know where this came from, as I have a very thick Dublin accent. I have found that speaking to some English people, I can be better understood if I lapse into the kind of accent heard on “Father Ted!” Similarly, I have to tone down to “Americanised neutral” to be understood by some of my fellow students from more far-flung locations. I love the diversity of the UK, which is why it was my number one choice for Uni!

lapse [læps] v   (into) впадать (в какое-л. состояние); переходить (во что-л.); превращаться
far-flung [ˈfɑrˈflʌŋ] a  широко раскинувшийся; обширный

Paul from Birmingham
I was born in Birmingham to Irish parents, and have lived there most of my life. However, in my teens I started to become interested in learning French and went on to study French at University – Nowadays however, people always seem to mistake me for being French – they would ask me “what part of France are you from?” to which I either lie (to keep life simple) and say “er, Paris!” OR try and explain to them that I’m actually a Brummy and I don’t know why I don’t have a Brummy accent! Even more confusing is when other people notice that I have an Irish accent and not a French one?! At least I’ll always sound exotic!

Claire, Nottinghamshire
born in Norfolk, strong Swaffham accent aged 4,turned to Guyanese when our family moved to South America, turned back to Norfolk aged 6, turned to East Midlands aged 9, turned to Caymanyan! Children are like sponges, and are also subliminally programmed to ‘fit in’. My accent now, after years of military service, and time spent all over Europe & England is bizarre. To my local East Midlanders it may sound implacable, to other English nationals it may sound East Midlands? I do hope not. SOME accents suit girls more, some suit boys, but, I got to say, an East Midlands (especially the ‘citified’ Leicester & Nottingham accents) are really unattractive. I’ve heard a lot of accents on my travels, and really do find this one not nice. On the whole though, accents fascinate me, and for such a small spot on the globe, we do identify our many ‘tribes’ quite clearly to each other. To Americans however, we all sound ‘Posh’!

Jay, New York
As a Brit living in New York, I’m constantly frustrated by people not understanding me. I’m often met with blank looks from my colleagues, even though I make a huge effort not to use any regional dialect. I’m from the East Midlands, but I’ve got one of those boring non-descript middle class accents with northern vowels – not RP but easy to understand (one would think). It’s sometimes hard to believe that we actually speak the same language! One of the most annoying things has to be Telephone Voice Recognition Systems here in the US, which are calibrated with only American Accents. Recently, after several attempts to buy tickets to see ‘The Killers’ I was so frustrated I almost threw the phone out of the window – even my best fake American accent didn’t work!

Meg, Tyneside
Where I work I am constantly hearing colleagues say that they “hate they way we talk up here”…it makes me so angry! Your accent is part of your history and is something to be proud of, not something you try to hide. I have a very broad northern accent, but that doesn’t make me any less educated or more “common” than someone who doesn’t. Be proud of your roots!
broad [brɔːd] a   явный, определённый; заметный

Louise from London
Listening to someone’s accent and trying to work out where they are from (or have been) is one of the joys of the variety of life. I was told by a speech therapist that we often define our accent by the age of 18. Not the case for me and it seems for many who have posted here. I spent a year away, mostly in Australia, and acquired a little twang. It was only when I arrived in New Zealand that I could hear the difference between the accents. I was hopeless in the USA where I was waiting for someone to shout ‘phony!’ at my impromptu Americanisms. On returning to England new acquaintances were convinced I was from either Australia or NZ and not England! I have trouble purposely imitating accents but to fit in I find I start picking up an accent if with a group of native speakers. My own (current) accent is ‘plain’ and not many people can identify it. I do hear changes depending on whom I am speaking to.

impromptu [ɪmˈprɒmptjuː] a  импровизированный; impromptu speech — импровизированная речь

Robert from Australia
Oh and by the way, I think the emphasis some people put on the superiority of RP and “proper” English is hypocritical because RP has barely been going more than a couple hundred years and before that most people are said to have spoken in a Rhotic accent in England. Those who complain about poor grammar and improper English treat it like it’s got an unchanged lineage going back to Noah or something. I wish they’d get over themselves.

Robert from Australia
I was born here and have lived here so far for 28 years and people think I’m English (including several English people I’ve met over the years) which I think is actually because I got very ill and almost suffocated from what was a chest infection gone bad when I was 4 years old…. I had to re-learn how to co-ordinate speaking clearly and confidently but I ended up with an accent which I’ve since learnt is basically like Cambridgeshire meets Lincolnshire in a voice that alternates between a deadpan drone, a sort of airy lilting tone and something that sounds kind of whiny. Consequently my biggest problem is trying to sound sincere.

Zachary from Scarborough (Toronto)
I grew up with my family surroundings from Possil Park, Glasgow, and I have always tended to speak like them and never with a Southern Canadian accent. When I’m with my Canadian friends, I tend to talk a lot more like them, but not with anyone else. With anyone else, it’s near impossible to speak as if I’m from Toronto. Living in Canada, people always ask me where I’m from (or if they can pinpoint my accent, they ask if I’m on holiday from Glasgow). When I say I was born in Toronto, they’re always quite shocked and even amused. I sometimes despise my ugly accent. There is virtually no interlegibility between a Torontonian accent and Glaswegian accent.

despise [dɪˈspaɪz] n презирать, ни во что не ставить
legibility [ˌlɛdʒəˈbɪlɪti] n   разборчивость, чёткость, удобочитаемость (почерка, шрифта)

Angela from Glasgow
I was born & lived in Norfolk until I was 18 but by this point my accent was already pretty mixed; I blame this on a) having Northern teachers b) having cockney friends and c) watching too many Australian soaps! Now living in Glasgow people are often confused by my accent & almost no one can place it to Norfolk (or even East Anglia). I’ve had people asking if I’m Australian and others assuming I’m ‘posh Scottish’! I do tend to adopt peoples accents – not on purpose though! I just love different regional accents, I find them fascinating, and I think having so many regional accents/dialects is what makes us such a unique country. I’m proud of my messed up accent! 🙂

Matt Brown Essex
being from Essex my accent is quite strong when I go up north to Liverpool and Manchester they always ask where I’m from in London. I suppose northerners can’t tell the difference.

Lindsay, Lincolnshire
I was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, as were all my other siblings. I lived there till I was three and then we moved down to Lincolnshire. In Lincolnshire there is such a strange mix of accents with about half people saying grass and the other – grarce!!! My Mum is from Lancashire (generally she flitted about a bit as a kid) and my dad is from Swinton in Manchester. My dad has a funny way of changing his accent for work and at home; but when we go to Manchester and he talks to people, he fits right in! Although I have lived for most of my life in Lincolnshire, I feel a strong affinity with the north and think I seem to have a general northern accent. Sometimes my friends will mock the way I say something such as ‘ay up!’ I visit places such as Bolton, and etc., a lot and I hopefully am going to Uni either in Preston or Lancaster.

flit [flɪt] v  разг.   переезжать, менять местожительство

James from Merseyside
I’ve lived in Merseyside all my life, but speak rather a mix between very mild scouse and very mild Lancashire, which I know is boring. I’ve always found it kind of interesting how some accents pronounce words/series of words differently. Examples include ‘Bath’ (barth just sounds wrong to be), ‘Direction’, ‘Been’ (to pronounce that ‘bin’ sounds wrong and irritating), ‘Length’ and ‘Up’. Does anyone else think the same? But the accent that has had the greatest effect on me is certainly Yorkshire: I find it a hugely attractive voice to hear on a girl, and also very comforting to listen to. I think the accent suggests a nice and cheerful person and does not deserve the constant criticism and laughing it gets. It is certainly a strange thing how such a small country as England offers such a rich and wide variety of accents and variations within accents.

Keith Dawes from Nottingham
Local accents, dialects and RP, etc, are much like clothes, tastes in food, and music (both pop and serious) in that, over a period of time, they are subject to change, and eventually sound comical!

Maggie, Brighton
Oh, the comments about RP make me chuckle. Why strive for RP? Have a look at Tony Harrison’s “them & uz”, and celebrate your regional twangs. Having circulated through the West Country, Wales and a spell in Australia, I’ve no idea what kind of an accent I’ve got. In my head it sounds a bit yokel-ly, on tape like the Queen Ma’am. Tis ‘ansome, my bird, whatever ’tis!

chuckle [ˈtʃʌkəl] v  посмеиваться, хихикать; фыркать от смеха
spell  [spel] n  срок, время; промежуток времени, период

Douglas Mortimer
I was born in Humberside, and believe I have an accent that is more like South Yorkshire then say the rest of Southern Lincolnshire. I believe that there is a major difference in accents between northern Lincolnshire and southern Lincolnshire. Southern Lincolnshire folk tend to speak like people from Peterborough.

Lyndsey, Stockport
I live in Stockport, just outside Manchester. I’ve never thought I have a particular accent, just a mild northern one I think. My sister is 15 and just yesterday criticised me for pronouncing “university” properly. I am nowhere near ‘posh’ but apparently, because I pronounce my ‘t’s properly, I have a posh accent! Partly that’s down to my drama training because I’ve been taught to speak clearly but it’s also because I think it’s important to try and speak properly, it sounds so much better and I think it’s much more attractive for employers. It’s worrying that so many kids today just use text language (surely this affects their use of grammar in exams?), and that so many accents are losing their clarity through laziness.

Pamela Armstrong from Texas
My father was in the military. I was born in Indiana (Yankee country), lived in France and Germany as a child and spoke both as well as American English. I studied German, French and Spanish in school. I have learned a smattering of Korean and Japanese from friends I have had over the years. I lived in Oklahoma, Wyoming, Iowa, Colorado, Arizona, and now in Texas. My accent is a mishmash of languages and regional dialects. Because we moved so often when I was a child, I learned very quickly to imitate the area accents to keep myself from “standing out” too much. Consequently, if you put me in a room with someone from another area, within an hour, I sound very similar to them. Within a day, my accent has changed completely and within a week I will sound as if I am from that region. It is very difficult for others to know where I am from, since I take on the characteristics of the area I am in. That ability has always helped me “fit in” with my new community. By the way, my siblings, who have not lived outside of the US, do not have the same ability, so I presume that it is a “learned” trait. It can be kind of fun to listen to the guesses from others as to where I am from!

smattering [ˈsmætərɪŋ] n  поверхностное знание
mishmash [ˈmɪʃˌmæʃ] n  смесь, путаница, мешанина

Scott, from Texas
What I find hard to understand after reading the opinions here, is how threatened and indignant many in the UK feel toward Americans and American English. E.g. the woman who wrote that Russians understood Americans more easily than her, and the man in Korea who laments that Texans are preferred over Brits as English teachers there. I teach English in Taiwan. What’s important to people learning English as a foreign language is not what is most “proper”, but rather learning what is most useful to them from a purely practical point of view. For most people – unless they plan to live in the UK – that means learning North American English. That’s not my value judgement, it’s just a fact. If that fact makes people angry, then perhaps there are deeper feelings of cultural inferiority at work here that need to be addressed. Perhaps I would also feel wronged if I were from the UK. People, native to the UK, make up only a small portion of all native speakers of English in the world. Does that mean that the vast majority of native speakers of English cannot speak English properly? Is there something wrong with Chinese or Japanese Buddhism simply because it did not originate there? I agree that the globalization of culture in the last few generations is frightening. But for me, that makes me feel an even greater appreciation of the rich variation of regional accents, not a need to rank them. By the way, don’t blame “innit” on us! I’ve heard that ONLY in the UK.

indignant [ɪnˈdɪɡnənt] a возмущённый, негодующий
lament [ləˈmɛnt] v  горевать, сокрушаться; сетовать

John Rymell, Stepney, London
I don’t have an accent. It’s everyone else that has one. Innit.

Jon Rowlandson from North West Wales
I’m originally from Liverpool, but moved over to Wales when I was still very young. I’ve always thought that, although I grew up in Welsh surroundings, I had very much retained my scouse accent – until recently when I moved to Kent for University. A lot of people down here have commented on how although I do have a Liverpudlian slur, I stress parts of words in a very Welsh way, e.g. in the word “gorgeous” the “gor” is stressed. After living away from the area for 2 years I now find that North West Wales really does have a very distinct accent albeit a strange mix.

slur [slɜː] n  неотчётливое произношение (звуков, слов)
albeit [ɔːlˈbiːɪt] cj   хотя, даже хотя, тем не менее

Heather, USA
My mother is English and moved to America when she was 11. All my life I’ve had to put up with people asking her where she was from. People have guessed places like Russia, Germany, and South Africa (granted, these are Americans that are making these guesses). To be honest, I don’t know where her accent comes from in England. Her father was from up north, but he doesn’t sound like it (except when he says “bouk” instead of book). And her mother was from the Midlands. But Mom has retained most of her original accent, despite 30+ years in a heathen land. And now I, because I learned to speak from listening to her, have a peculiar midatlantic something or other. A combination of (I suppose) RP English, and Midwestern American. It’s too American for the English, and too affected for the Americans. The only people who don’t believe I’m American are my own countrymen! I’m laughed at…but I’ve never been misunderstood because of my accent.

Carl T. Erickson; Toronto
I have learned four languages: French (age 2), Spanish (age 32), Swedish (38), English (mother tongue). I have acted on stage since I was 10. I have imitated sounds from childhood and on occasion have been mistaken for a native speaker. My name convinced a hotel clerk in Sweden I needn’t show identification, our conversation had been entirely in Swedish. The next morning, after examining the registration form, he asked me for my Canadian passport. I learned to speak French from playmates where the rule was “you speak what we speak or don’t play with us.” I forgot French through lack of use while living in Toronto. A couple of summers in lumber camps and French quickly returned but with a “dreadful” accent. At university, under instruction, my French changed to a nondescript unaccented form. My Spanish is in use today in the south of the U.S. and on occasion have “passed” for a native speaker during brief conversations. I trace my reasonable imitation of “good” language to being taught how to act in various plays where my seeming “skill” gave me access to more interesting stage roles. My easiest assimilation of the speech patterns occurred in learning French (as a child) and Swedish by learning it the way I had learned English: Listen, imitate wrongly, corrected, imitate better. My Spanish sounds are: “pretty good for a foreigner” to “are you from Argentina?” I taught Spanish for four years using a text that drilled the ear and the voice for several months before the eye and the hand were brought in. Each class had an elemental command of the language with a vocabulary of 100 or so words by Christmas (3 months of training). By February, we were holding conversations, discussing movies, current events. Testing was done by having the students narrate a commentary to a five minute motion picture into their language lab tapes. They screened the film twice before the actual test in order to mentally prepare vocabulary. Student comments ranged from “Sir, can we have another test like this one?” to “¡Muchas gracias! ¡Era muy interesante!” All this from students who five months earlier didn’t know more than three or four words in Spanish. The method was thought too modern for 1966 and was discontinued.

Sam Hewitt North Yorkshire
Yorkshire born and bred. Whilst at university in Newcastle Upon Tyne, I have noticed that my accent has become stronger, this wasn’t deliberate. I feel that this is probably my own way of defining who I am and where I am from. Even though I’m not a million miles from home, I still feel a strange warmth when I hear a Yorkshire accent, especially if the accent is North Yorkshire. There is a difference: North Yorkshire is usually softer and verging on teeside accent. West Yorkshire is broader as the song “Likely Moor Bar Tat” suggests and South Yorkshire is verging on either Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire. Humberside accents are obviously Yorkshire but are still in my opinion the most neutral. Another observation I have made is that York accents are very neutral in comparison to Leeds Loiner accents; it seems strange that 40 miles can make all the difference.

verge [vɜːdʒ] v  (on, upon) граничить (с чем-л.), примыкать (к чему-л.)

Hilary from Inverness
I agree with lots of view, I really think I have a neutral accent and don’t have a proper one. But when I go elsewhere I really notice and when I was living in Birmingham some people couldn’t understand me. And when I just went to Fife I couldn’t understand them! I think you can’t really put a place on an accent every ones unique.

Sarah, Norfolk
Although I live in Norfolk, many people can’t guess my origin which is Nottinghamshire. Notts people have a very mixed accent depending on which part of the county you’re from – my Grandfather sounds very Yorkshire, yet I find my friends have difficulty placing my accent – especially as it has become more southern now I have left the county. People in Norfolk have very similar accents to those in the west country – my partner is from Cornwall and he felt very at home when we moved here! I love different regional accents and it would be a shame if they did die out in the UK.

Oliver Bradbury (Expat) London
As a Londoner, when I was living in Paris, no one understood my accent. Despite the fact my colleagues spoke pretty good English and the majority were French journalists as I was working for Libération newspaper in Paris and 2 news agencies in the same city before that so a total of 7 years. So I started on my pigeon English then. I’m now living in Thailand where my London accent doesn’t pose a problem as my pigeon English is superb! I love accents and can recognise a Yank from a Canadian, a Thai from the north of the country or the South. Sorry about any spelling mistakes but I’m a graphic artist!

Glenys from Gloucestershire
I was born and bred in the Black Country, and left there at 18 to live in Birmingham (yes, it was only 6 miles away but to a Black Country folk, it’s another country!) and have been working my way south-west for the past thirty odd years. Few people can now detect my Black Country accent. However, my daughter, raised in Gloucestershire, has gone to Birmingham University and finds that she can pick out which of the staff, etc., are Black Country, as opposed to Brummie, without any trouble! We think this is from hearing other members of the family who still retain accents or perhaps I have more accent than I thought! I find I pick out Black Country accents whenever I hear them, out shopping, visiting, etc and try to work out where in the BC the speaker is from. I used to be able to place people to within a couple of miles in the Black Country but I’m losing my touch or the accents are evening themselves out, possibly due to the influence of TV/radio. When you consider that, until the advent of radio, many people would live all their lives hearing mainly their local dialect or accent with the exception of perhaps the priest or doctor, it isn’t surprising that accents and dialects were much purer and stronger before radio and TV came along.

odd [ɒd] a  немногим больший; дополнительный, ещё один или несколько
she is 30 odd years – ей за тридцать; it will cost 23 dollars odd – это будет стоить чуть больше двадцати трёх долларов
advent [ˈædvɛnt; -vənt] n  книжн. прибытие, приход

James from Somerset
I was born in Colchester, and moved to Northern Ireland at the age of 2. At 6, my family returned to England, and we lived in rural Nottinghamshire. My slight Northern Irish accent disappeared, to be replaced with something close to my parents’ RP mode of speaking. This brought its own problems, as I was constantly teased for being ‘posh’ at school, and being corrected at home when any dialect, or accent strayed into my speech. At secondary school, I developed a strategy of having a ‘home’ accent and a ‘school’ accent, and on more than one occasion answered the phone in my ‘home’ accent, only to be asked by someone calling for me, if they could speak to me! Moving to Somerset at the age of 17 brought new challenges, and I did try a Somerset accent for a bit, but then got very confused, as I juggled three conflicting accents. I eventually settled into something like RP, and have put up with being called posh, and assumptions of intelligence ever since.

stray  [streɪ] v   заблудиться, сбиться с пути; отбиться
conflict [kənˈflɪkt] v  1. (with) противоречить; 2. конфликтовать; вступать в конфликт, бороться

Dawn, New Jersey
When I am home, people say I have a Californian accent (where I was raised). While in France, I was constantly called Canadian, and when I was recently in Cambridgeshire, was told that I sounded not-quite American. Upon my return to New Jersey, everyone senses a British flair to my speech. It is interesting that ‘accent’ can be so subjective, based on the listener.

flair [fleə] n  особый отпечаток; своеобразие

Huw Owen-Reece
I loved this article. Speaking pretty much RP English (which is rarely a subject of comment in the UK except that I sound rather “posh”) I have just started to work in a hospital in North Carolina. Whereas people in New York or California don’t bat an eyelid at a UK accent, it’s very different here. Every day I get comments about how wonderful my accent is. People ask me to talk just so that they can hear the English accent. When I say that I love the southern accent they are astonished for the reasons discussed in the main article – they perceive themselves as being from the backward south. And the funny thing is that I am Welsh (I do think that speaking Welsh when I was little, albeit growing up in England, added somehow a clarity to my diction). And, interestingly, most of the doctors here have pretty neutral American accents and speak clearly – a sort of American RP I would say – whereas some of the people from outlying rural areas are actually very hard to understand, not because of the accent per se but because they physically don’t move their mouths very much and mumble. It really can sound like Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men. And people they say they like the fact that English people speak clearly, as differentiated from the accent as such, though they also find that pleasant in it’s own right. Anyway the bottom line is that I have twice had people here say “Well, doc, If you ever don’t know what you’re talking about don’t even worry about it because you sound as though you do”. Finally, we British could learn from the everyday courtesy and good manners which people here show and which we have lost.

not to bat an eye, without batting an eyelid = и глазом не моргнул, и бровью не повёл; не смутился и не удивился

Liza from Oxford
I was born in Somerset but I’ve never had a West Country accent, although a lot of family does. Someone once asked me if I went to private school as I sounded posh, but I think it’s mostly down to TV and an interest in literature that banished the carrot cruncher dialect. I always hated the local accent but since I’ve moved away I’ve developed a kind of begrudging fondness for it sounds and idiosyncrasies – like saying “or no” at the end of a question – “Do you want a drink or no?”! When I moved to Canterbury for university I picked up a bit of a very slight South London/Kentish twang from friends and other students, which some people noticed when I went home. Living in Oxford, I’m surrounded by RP speakers, private schoolgirls using “like” as punctuation (something I’m occasionally guilty of …) and I’m afraid I might fit in a bit too well … maybe a few days at home and one or four pints of cider are in order!
banish [‘bxnIS] v 1. изгонять, подвергать изгнанию; ссылать, высылать 2. прогонять, выгонять, выдворятьbegrudge [bI’grAdZ] v  завидовать
idiosyncrasy [“IdIq’sINkrqsI] n  особенность стиля, своеобразие манеры

Becky Maybury from Essex
I like to think I have a pretty neutral, pretty R.P. accent. Imagine my horror when, working on a Russian summer camp with an American, they told me that they couldn’t understand my accent but that the American spoke ‘properly’! We really must stop these Yanks from monopolising the English as a foreign language education resources!!!

Shauna from Illinois, USA
Like many others who have posted, I didn’t realize I had an “accent” until I encountered people from geographic areas and social strata different from my own. Although my undergrad university was near my home, many of the students were from suburban Chicago, about 4 hours to the north. This is a fairly affluent, urbanized area. The other large contingent of students was “downstaters”, many of whom were farm kids (like myself). The linguistic differences were notable; they’d say “pehn” and I’d say “pin” for a writing instrument. They would “wash” and I’d “warsh”, their carpet might “need sweeping” and mine would “need swept.” I chafed when they characterized me as a “hick”, but I gradually began to view it as a badge of honor. I grew proud to be of working-class rural stock. I began to listen to my own family’s speech, and realized the confluence of two social dialects evident there. My mother, a minister’s daughter, spoke “proper” English, while my father’s family, all farmers and transplanted Kentuckians, spoke with a vestigal Southern drawl. I’ve had my ears attuned for dialects ever since. I’m in grad school now, surrounded by international students, and I savor the diverse ways they speak our common language. That’s one of my top reasons for wanting to visit the UK…such linguistic richness!

stratum [ˈstrɑːtəm] noun (pl) -ta (-tə),  слой (общества)
the various strata of society – различные слои общества
the lower social strata – низшие слои общества

undergrad university. In the United States of America undergraduate refers to those who are studying for a bachelor’s degree.

chafe [tʃeɪf] v 1) (обыкн. at, under) раздражаться; горячиться, нервничать; 2) раздражать, злить

stock [stɒk] n  родословная, генеалогия; 3. род, семья; to be of good [of old, of English, of farming stock – происходить из хорошей [старой, английской, крестьянской, семьи]

confluence [ˈkɒnflʊəns] n  1) слияние (рек); соединение (дорог); 2) место слияния или соединения

transplant [trænsˈplɑːnt] v  переселять (группы людей)

attune [əˈtjuːn] v  2. приучать; приспосабливать; 3. настраивать (музыкальный инструмент, радио)

Sarah from Bristol
I was born in Warwickshire and have a fairly mild Midland accent although when speaking to my friends who still live there I can here my accent strengthening. Some time ago I attended evening classes in Bristol and by the end of the course some weeks later all the students and the Tutor went out for a drink. The Tutor turned around to me half way through the evening and said ‘You’re not from Kenilworth are you?’ and yes I am. She recognised my accent and just something about the way I phrased things, this surprised me a bit as I had never spoken to her about where I came from, I didn’t recognise her from the distant past and Kenilworth only has a population of around 30’000 people! But what interested me is that my boyfriend (who is French) and who has been living in Britain now for 7 – 8 years has acquired a very strange ‘melange’ of accents. We started seeing each other only after 1 year of him arriving here so his English was reasonable but he hadn’t yet picked up any idiosyncrasies or nuances. As his English improved over time, it became apparent that he was using words and phrases that only I, my family and some close Midland friends used. As he spoke to other people outside our immediate social group they picked up words that he had used which they didn’t recognise (but weren’t French). Also something that he has noticed is that when he goes back to France to visit friends and family, his French is starting to sound dated as he isn’t keeping up with the TV or ‘Yoof ‘ French. But finally on this note, his accent is now evolving into a French/Midland/Bristol one – Tell you the truth I’m a bit scared!

melange [meɪˈlɑːnʒ] n смешение; смесь

Tara London
I am quite proud of my North London RP accent, I never have any problem being understood by foreigners, unlike some of my Scouse and Geordie friends, who often have to tone down the severity of their accents in order to be understood. And as for swearing, well there is nothing worse than an East London or Essex girl in full harangue, but whenever I hear an Irish accent saying equally profane words, it still sounds musical!

severity [səˈvɛr ɪ ti] n  суровость, глубина; острота; трудность, тяжесть

harangue [həˈræŋ] n  публичная речь; горячее, страстное обращение

Leanne from Lancashire
I lived in Blackburn for most of my life, but moving to Preston then Burnley showed me what differences there are even over small areas. Some people think I have a strong Blackburn accent, but others say it’s hardly there.

Tony from Hampshire
My pet moan about Estuary English on the BBC is not in its use in the proper context where characters would normally speak that way (as in East Enders) but when voice-overs for programme trailers are in EE. Does the BBC think this makes the programme being trailed more appealing, particularly to young people because it’s not in a ‘posh’ accent? I’m surprised that ‘innit’ hasn’t been slipped in to make feel even more comfortable to the target audience.

pet [pet] a излюбленный, любимый; pet subject [theory] — излюбленная тема [теория]
pet [pet] n  раздражение, дурное настроение
moan [məʊn] n  стон, жалоба

Rich, Coventry
I’m always told I don’t have a Coventry accent and to be honest I don’t want one. I’m a complete language snob and can’t stand incorrect grammar or speech. Pet hates are ‘yes you was’ and pronouncing H as ‘haitch’ and not ‘aitch’. Sheer ignorance.

Beth in Belfast
I’m 15, and I was born in Norwich. We moved to Liverpool where we lived for 8 years in 1997 before moving to Belfast. My accent is 100% Northern Irish (not the same as Southern Irish!) but I can lapse between that and my scouse accent whenever I choose! I am forever getting requests to say things!! lol.
lapse [læps] v  отклоняться (от правильного пути и т. п.) 

Rebecca, London
Interesting to note the recent research that found that the Liverpudlian accent is the only regional accent in England that is becoming stronger over time. As an ex-pat Scouser I’m not at all surprised. Scousers don’t feel particularly “English” on the whole and we seem to use the accent to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the country!

Richard from Manchester
Many years ago I was discussing the recent retirement through injury of a talented club cricketer in the bar at a cricket club in Oldham. “He got hit int thigh”, I heard. This didn’t strike me as a very serious injury, so I asked further. “Nay lad, in th’eye”, I was told, this time with absolute clarity thanks to much gesturing. It struck me that Oldham was just 10 miles or so from where I grew up in South Manchester, but a world away in some senses.

Erwin Tadiar from Luton
I arrived in the UK from the Philippines in 1975, speaking English with a West Coast American accent! This wasn’t an asset in a North London comprehensive school, but over time, I managed to cultivate what someone once described as a “BBC World Service” accent. That led to being accused of being “too posh”. I am now fluent in Estuary English. The accent I use varies with the situation I find myself in – although RP always works best in any situation.

Jillian FROM Sunderland
I moved away from Sunderland when I was 18, to Essex, and have lived here for 24 years; I still have my accent, and am proud of it. I get irritated with people that lose their accents after being away for just a short while. I had to mellow the tone down to be understood, but not at the expense of losing my accent completely. If I had to choose between estuary English and a nice Sunderland accent, guess which one would win?

mellow [ˈmɛləʊ] v  1) смягчать; 2) смягчаться; his voice mellowed — его голос приобрёл мягкость /бархатистость/

Martin Wallace from the Philippines
I’m a Scottish-born ESL teacher in Korea at the moment. Accent, it seems, in Asia, can make or break jobs. There is a great stress in Korea on having a “North American” accent. Teachers with such an accent, if it exists, are felt to be true torchbearers of English language and culture. School owners will hire a kid fresh out of any Texas college complete with amazingly exotic (to me!) drawl in preference to anyone from the UK speaking RP English.

James W, Toronto
The importance one places on accents appears to be in direct proportion to how uncomfortable one is with their own roots. Someone who feels that they came from a disadvantaged area of the UK, e.g., Liverpool, Glasgow, Birmingham, etc. tend to cringe when they hear someone speaking in their own accent. For some unknown reason they feel that the speaker is being perceived as ignorant and uncultured by the rest of the company and fear that THEY will be painted with the same brush. Sadly, the most flattering comment you can make to these people is to say something like, “You don’t sound like you’re from Liverpool”. However, if you want to raise their hackles try, “Is that a Glasgow accent you have?”

cringe [krɪndʒ] v 1. проявлять раболепный страх; 2. съёживаться, сжиматься (от страха)
to make smb.’s hackles rise – разозлить, разъярить кого-л., довести кого-л. до белого каления

Tanya Harris from Staffordshire
I was born in central London and lived there until about ten. Then we moved to Shropshire. Since then my work has taken me to live in Somerset, Hampshire, North Wales, Cheshire and Staffordshire. Everywhere I’ve lived, people can never guess where I’m from. A lot of people think I am Australian! When I visit family back in London, they think I have a ‘Northern’ accent, where as my husband’s family (from Shropshire) thinks I have a ‘Southern’ accent. I can’t win. I have the last laugh though as everyone I speak to all agree I sound ‘posh’!!!

Nicola Johnson, Cape Town, South Africa
I grew up in South Africa with a mother who was raised in Kenya by parents who spoke ‘good’ English – probably close to RP – and a father who was born in England but moved here when he was four, but who also spoke a ‘good’ variety of English. At school, I was frequently teased for my accent, which many of the other children resented as they thought I was being ‘posh’ or putting it on. For some reason, my accent remained very English and I never acquired a truly South African accent. I can only ascribe this to my family and many close family friends speaking a more ‘colonial’ form of English than is the norm here, as well as my father being hard of hearing, which required me to speak clearly and in an accent he could understand. What I find quite amusing is that now my accent stands me in good stead – while I was teased for sounding different as a child, now my accent has employers and people I meet immediately assuming I am intelligent and well-educated. It has helped me a lot in terms of work opportunities and when I need to make an impression! However, this experience – as well as several years spent in the UK, where my accent became even more English and I had to explain that I was actually born and raised in another country – made me well aware of the social and cultural preconceptions that surround something as simple as how you pronounce your vowels. I am now studying Linguistics and thoroughly enjoy the differences that are now creating American English, Australian English, and South African English. It gives new insight into the development of languages.
ascribe [əˈskraɪb] v (to)  1. приписывать (кому-л.); 2. относить за счёт (чего-л.)
a to stand smb. in good stead — оказаться полезным кому-л., сослужить кому-л. службу

Sabrina from Glasgow, but originally American
I’m sure over the 15 years I’ve been here that I’ve picked up a sense of regional stereotypes associated with different accents – probably mostly through TV. John Lennon and Cilla Black are fun to listen to; East Enders is full of moaning people, etc. In visiting different parts of the UK through work, I find nice people everywhere who can be endearing to listen to, but I’d still choose most Irish, Highland or West Country accents over Essex any day, because they’re just more gentle on the ears. But just to make it more complicated, even in more melodic places, cities with enough of a concentration of disadvantaged people tend to produce accents – and dialects – for these people that sound harder on the ears to reflect their more challenging circumstances. Wonder if that was intentional?
endearing [ɪnˈdɪərɪŋ] a  милый, привлекательный, внушающий любовь= giving rise to love or esteem; charming; endearing smile — подкупающая улыбка 

Ian Spencer from SolihullAs I grew up, we moved from one end of England to the other – all places with strong accents: Sunderland, Spalding in Lincolnshire, Saff Landan, Manchester and now I am a Brummie. I found that I adopted accents as a necessity to avoid bullying – and which ever way you went you always seemed to be blamed for talking posh. My favourite accent was the (to be slightly inaccurate) Geordie Sunderland accent – a completely different language with strange pronunciations, odd words and quite a culture to go with it. The worst is the Brummie accent. Nowadays, I will adopt anyone’s accent that I am talking to with no effort – a week’s visit to the States and I will adopt their strange phrases.

Catherine from Bedfordshire
I was born in Staffordshire with a mother from Blackburn and a father from Sunderland. I moved to Singapore when I was 3 months old, and back to Buckinghamshire when I was 3. At 5 I moved to Cambridgeshire – I loathe the fen accent and insisted on using the hard “a”s my parents used until I went to Leeds at 18 years of age. Moving to the north (and becoming a lawyer) I dropped the hard a’s and now have a very neutral accent. After 18 years in Leeds and Manchester I’m now back in the south. I work in London and people think I’ve always lived here. I love that I can distinguish “fen” from “west country”; “scouse” from “brum” and Yorkshire from Lancashire (including some areas of each)- and can mimic most. Accents are great but I’m pleased I can choose whether to adopt one or not!
loathe [ləʊð] v 1. чувствовать, испытывать отвращение; 2. не любить; ненавидеть, не выносить

Peter Nicholson
I was born and raised in Dagenham Essex and now live in Canada for the past almost 50 years. My English family thinks that I speak “Canadian”. Canadians think I speak “London English” I notice that whenever I go to England I immediately drop back into “London English” even though my family tell me I speak “Canadian” I notice that when I’m speaking to ‘transplanted’ Newfoundlanders who’s accent I understand when we’re talking one on one, immediately they get speaking with other Newfoundlanders, I find them difficult to understand. The same with Jamaicans. I think that everybody that lives away from their natural environment tend to modify their accent so as to be understood by the “locals” It is embarrassing to be constantly asked “What did you say?”

 

Ben from Henley
I can’t stand people using expressions like ‘innit’, I have no idea why it annoys me so much, it is probably down to the fact that they are being lazy but I am also being a language snob. Having said that, there is a lot to be said for speaking properly, who is going to employ someone that mumbles incoherent slang at them all day long. I blame Ali G and American TV influences.

Bob Scott Redcar
I lived in Derbyshire/ Notts border area all my life till I came to live in north York a few years ago on retirement I’ve found the biggest obstacle is not my ayup meduck accent but the different words people use fir the same objects i.e. I say gennel for a gap in houses here they say ginnel here they say bray for hitting some one I say clout but I love regional accents it shows a great diversity but sadly regional accents are disappearing I think due in large part to TV and the growth of local radio which is largely of national ownership.

Phil Rogers, Bournemouth
Estuary English is flooding the country, and the BBC is to blame. Take “East Enders” off the air now!

Tara Meenaghan from North Lincs
I was born in Norwich, but raised in Scotland, only moving back to Norwich when I was 13. I had to lose the Scottish accent in order to fit in with my new English class mates, however I didn’t manage to quite carry off a Norfolk accent, always being accused of talking ‘posh’. During my drinking days my Scottish accent would always revive, although some friends mistook it for Irish! I married a Lincolnshire chap and now live here and have only just (4 years later!) begun to understand our friends and his family. Accents fascinate me, but I do attach prejudices based on a person’s accent – locally they seem a bit ‘rough’, whereas in Norfolk the accents were soft and slow. I think because of my moves my accent has become neutral, although when I visit Scotland it all comes flooding back!

Tony now living near Bath
Originally from Wigston just 4 miles south of Leicester I can remember as a child noticing that my cousins from Bruntingthorpe had a different accent from mine. They only lived about 6 miles further south!! When I was a radio & TV repair technician, my job took me over several midlands counties, both north and south of Leicester. The strange part was hearing Derbyshire dialect words and accents in Coalville, a mining village in northwest Leicestershire. Apparently in the nineteenth century many miners from Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire came to the Coalville/ Whitwick area to work in the newly opened coalmines. When in the RAF it took me some time to differentiate between the Essex, London and Kent accents because they all said grarse instead of grass, barth instead of bath and bass instead of bus. I’ve lived near to Bath for 20 years now and when I visit relatives in Leicestershire I really notice their accent. (Though I’ve kept most of my own accent and say bus and grass not bas or grarse when at home).

Richard Bourne in York
I was born and raised in Chatham, one of Kent’s Medway Towns. I’ve worked away from there all my life, with spells in Manchester, London, Tyneside, Derby and now Yorkshire, but none of these local accents have eradicated my “Chatham cockney”, although one does pick up the odd dialect word. My parents were both from Ashford families, and I have a fond memory of my Mum’s father talking in his lovely rounded (he would have said “rownded”) rural Kentish – he came from the Romney marsh. Chatham and Ashford used to have quite different accents, but I’ve noticed how my cousin, 10 years younger than me and always an Ashfordian, has developed an estuarial accent with a similar twang to mine. A sign of spreading urbanisation perhaps.

spell [spel] n  1. срок, время; 2. промежуток времени, период
eradicate [ɪˈrædɪˌkeɪt] v  1) вырывать с корнем; 2) истреблять; искоренять

Marie, Blackburn
I have drifted South for university and I feel quite special and proud with my Lanky tones! I have also encountered a great deal of accent-envy here, too. I wish I had a pound every time an RP speaker told me they wished they had a voice like mine 🙂

Heather Cooke, Lincs.
I think accents are very mixed these days when people move around so much. I am East Anglian by way of Tyneside by way of Surrey, by way of Shropshire. I do not use the long A, I sit on the grass, not the grarse!

Emily from California
When I talk to my American friends it’s amazing how few of them realise they themselves have accents. They just think of accents as being what the ‘foreigners’ speak, such as all of you over in the UK. They beg and plead for me to ‘do an accent’, by which they mean my poor imitation of, say, a London or Edinburgh accent. It seems difficult for them to ‘get’ the idea that they’re speaking with accents all the time, just as I am when I try to fool a teacher into thinking I’m from Wales or something like that. I don’t know if I can entirely put it down to American stupidness, either: but I suppose I shouldn’t be disparaging. It’s not nice, is it?
disparage [dɪˈspærɪdʒ] a 1. 1) относиться с пренебрежением; недооценивать, умалять
2) порочить, поносить; 2. унижать, принижать; бросать сомнение

 Wendy from Derbyshire
I was born and lived in Suffolk for 23 years and had a very local accent mixed in with a hint of a London accent picked up from lots of school friends who moved to East Anglia in the 70’s. I’ve now been in Derbyshire for 19 years and have picked up a few local phrases. But when I go home and speak to family and friends the Suffolk accent comes flooding back!!!!

Joe from Guernsey in the Channel Islands
I find I don’t sound local where I come from. All my friends say I sound like I am from England yet when I am in England people often mistake me for having a slight French accent almost, or even an Australian accent. This is similar on the Island of Jersey where the ‘locals’ are mistaken as South Africans. In my mind I speak a slightly posh English accent with a French or Anglo-Norman twist.

Rick plat from Bournemouth
I thought it was the most interesting article I have read in years! Congratulations on third fine peace of writing.

Claire from Swansea
I don’t think I sound very Welshy however when I meet people from other places in the U.K I become more aware of my accent. I don’t mind my accent, and think that accents are definitely an important part of who you are. I love the Scouser accent and also the Geordie, I do find some accents funny but I can understand almost all of them. I don’t like the R.P accent simply because there is no way of identifying where you’re from, and you can never say “I like your accent” (which is also a great conversation starter).

Nina Jenkins from Pembrokeshire, West Wales
Jo from Barry, you’re really not helping to encourage others to view us Welsh people in an academic and intellectual light are you? I have to firmly disagree with the BBC’s “findings” about the Welsh accent. Unlike many people’s opinions, I moved to Wales from Bristol when I was younger, and found the accent in Pembrokeshire to be soft and rhythmic, quite sensual. Perhaps I am biased but I find the northern accent quite harsh, almost Germanic-sounding, and although many people view valleys and south Walian accents as being more common, we have to realise that the majority of Welsh imports, exports, passport handling and most large Welsh-based corporations originate from South Wales. After all, our own capital city is about as far South as it can get!! As for me, I love the Welsh accent, and am not afraid or embarrassed to use it, and am proud of my inherited, beautiful accent.

Jennifer from Bristol (originally S London)
In the past few years I’ve been moving further west repeatedly… I’ve started to pick up words from the locals, but I still hear their pronunciation as a different accent, but I’ve lived here for a couple of years. I do notice that I pick up my London accent when I go back to the SE, but I conveniently leave most of it behind when I get to Newbury….. I’ve had people taking the mick because I use the word ‘innit’, though I do it without realising! (I did say I leave MOST of it behind).

>Wee angel
I agree that English RP is most important to me ss it’s a heritage from my people. And I do appreciate the rich diversity in south west England.

Matt from Wisconsin
I speak pretty flat, “generic” US Midwestern, which I know I sounds strange to some people, especially in the south, and we talk too fast up here, I’m told. But it seems to be the most easily understood, nationally. (Many television and radio broadcasters come from Kansas, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota, etc., or change their accent to sound like it) But it only took me a week being in England to hear an American accent not my own, and it was one of the strangest things I’d ever heard. The rhythm is just completely different. In any case, I am familiar with several English accents, and while Nottingham makes me grin to no end, I’m sorry, but north London girls are really the most fun to listen to, particularly when using profanity; albeit, I’ve had a great friend from Derbyshire for years now, and occasionally I still can’t understand what the hell she’s saying, nor can I even come close to imitating it, although it’s lovely.
(to) no end =  a great deal. It pleases me to no end to see you so happy.

Ted Wade, Sheffield

I have lived in Sheffield for 73 years, apart from my two years National Service where I was located in Lydd in Kent, Honiton in Devon and Liverpool. My accent is a mix of 21 years in High Wincobank and 48 years in South East Sheffield. People who try to locate me in the Sheffield area have some difficulty in deciding whether I was born in High Wincobank or Woodhouse. Many of my colloquial expressions are Beighton/ Woodhouse origin while others still revert back to High Wincobank. Americans whether on the East Coast or West Coast seem to think I am Australian. A Yorkshire accent just doesn’t cut any mustard with them. One thing which really gets me annoyed is the way many BBC presenters, whether from Yorkshire or not, put “r’s” in words where they shouldn’t be. Example: “Drawring” instead of “Drawing”. This isn’t an accent thing but just plain laziness with the English language. I have no difficulty in understanding most English accents and colloquialisms. Scottish produced programmes or those from Birmingham or Cardiff are equally acceptable.
mustard [ˈmʌstəd] n  амер. разг. «изюминка»; то, что придаёт остроту или пикантность
to cut the mustard — амер. сл. добиться успеха, преуспеть; оправдать надежды

Arthur from Norfolk.
I was born in Manchester, moved to Sussex at 7 and then Surrey at 14. Joined the RAF and lived everywhere. I think my accent is as neutral as it can be. When working as a technical author in Germany, the Germans told me my English was very clear and easy to understand. In the USA people thought I worked as a presenter for the BBC! I have never conciously altered my accent I think it is the result of a cosmopolitan life.

Jemma, Bournemouth
When I was little I spoke like Mary Poppins, as my parents were both teachers who spoke with RP and that was what I heard around me -when I went to school, I had to start dropping my Ts and Hs a little, and to speak more lazily, in order to avoid being constantly picked on for my ‘posh’ voice, even so, I’m still pretty well spoken, and even now, people with non RP accents make a hell of a lot of assumptions about how: posh; prudish; straitlaced; clever; snooty etc., must be, because of my voice. (And it seems swearing has a much more startling effect when you speak with RP!)

Siarl from Arlesey
Since leaving Wales I have lost much of my accent and it makes me sad to think that this has probably made me more immediately accepted this side of Offa’s Dyke. We have got to stop judging people’s abilities and personalities by their accent – it’s as idiotic as judging by skin colour, but we still do it!

Sarah from Bradford
I love a ‘proper’ Yorkshire accent. My Bradford one is horrible and common. Friends with other accents seem to find it endearing though.
common [ˈkɒmən] a  грубый, вульгарный; простонародный
endearing [ɪnˈdɪərɪŋ] a  милый, привлекательный, внушающий любовь

Tony Roberts from Twickenham
When I first arrived in London from Wales I had difficulty both making myself understood and understanding Londoners. For example, a London born friend asked me to pass him a taal – after several repetitions I realised he was referring to a towel. Actually, after more than 20 years in London I still have that problem!

Melissa from Anglesey
Most people think of welsh accents to be like the south Wales one but the north Wales accents are completely different. I do not have a strong north Wales accent at all in fact when I meet people they say that I haven’t got much of an accent just sound English. I don’t like the welsh accent but I do love the Irish one!!!!

Chris from Suffolk
I am a southerner with seven years’ experience of the North in Huddersfield. I found some variations of ‘Yorkshirese’ quite pleasant to listen to, and others that could strip paint. Here in the South things are on the turn as well with the spread of the dreadful estuary English and mockney. The continuing blight of Americanisation also makes me weep. ‘I would like for you to get me…’. That’s not English, that’s a mess.
blight [blaɪt] n  упадок, гибель; деградация; urban blight — упадок городов

Mandy Feka, South London
There are even slight variations of accents within London! This can be noticed when you hear teenagers from e.g. Brixton or New Cross and teenagers from e.g. Hackney or Dalstan. The slang usage, terminology etc is different however slight!

James from New Zealand now London
As a foreigner I can confirm that understanding some regional dialects is near impossible for immigrants, even for those of us who grew up enjoying Auf Wiedersein, Pet. The BBC now seems ashamed of RP, when it used to be the bastion of it, which is a great pity. Us foreigners used to find it of great value as well as a pleasure to hear. Of course language changes and of course people should not be ashamed of their accent, still less discriminated against because of it. But at the same time, there has to be a received way of pronouncing words – or else how do you teach the language to begin with? Finally, if old fashioned RP is to be replaced, we can surely do better than mockney, which is a lazy accent, lacking in clarity.

John H (originally from Northants)
I do miss the authoritative tones of RP on the radio. In the past, at least, we all had our own accents and only had to struggle to understand one other accent – that of RP BeeBeeSeeSpeak. Now we are all required to become aural trapeze artists. The plethora of regional accents certainly gives our lives colour but also presents many more difficulties as the linguistic ‘experts’ seek to impose a value free postmodernist view upon the rest of us with all our petty rivalries.

Amanda McCaig, Leeds
Everyone has an accent of one sort or another. However within that accent, even small children develop “linguistic registers”, using slightly different forms of language and accent. However schools are failing to develop this natural ability and are not teaching children how to manipulate language effectively. This results in young people being left in “linguistic ghettos” limiting their social, educational and professional opportunities. Regardless of original accent, in order to communicate with the widest possible community and open up the maximum number of opportunities, children need to be taught one of the basic “Standard English” forms. This is not to deny the “rightness” of their local accent, but to increase their opportunities in life. Our failure to do so is limiting the lives of our young people.

Jon from Rugby
I think the Rugby accent is rather soft and some may find it quite posh come and visit and see what you think

Dr Jalal Ahmed-Choudhury from Birmingham
Accents do play a major part in the way someone is perceived. I was born and brought up in Ipswich, Suffolk in the early 70’s and have been living in Birmingham since the early 90’s. I spent 3 years in Bangladesh between the ages of 7-10. I have never had a regional accent and would describe my accent as being modern RP. I am always complemented by other people on the way I speak and personally feel that having certain accents will initiate prejudice. However, a lot of people seem to adapt their accents to the situation they find themselves in and this includes myself. For example if I’m discussing work with other colleagues then I tend to enunciate my words correctly and use modern RP, whereas if I’m talking to my brother who lives and works in the East end of London, and who has a cockney accent, then I tend to mimic a lot his words and fall into a sort of cockney accent myself. My children on the other hand talk in a Brummie accent and unfortunately like many people I am prejudiced and find it rather infuriating. Strange as I’ve chosen to live and work in Birmingham!!! Yet accents demonstrate the diverse society we live in and allow us to have a form of personal identity, particularly in this day and age where we tend to be living and working far away from the places where we were born and brought up. With greater numbers of TV/Radio presenters having regional accents, it is helping to pave the way to break down inherent prejudices of accents.

infuriate [ɪnˈfjʊərɪˌeɪt] v  приводить в ярость, в бешенство; разъярять

Glenda, originally from Kent
My mother was keen on RP of a sort – “speaking properly” she called it. My primary school followed suit and taught us the rudiments of grammar to enable us to write “properly” too. Thus I rather grew up with the idea that I didn’t have a regional accent. This was dramatically reinforced at the age of 12 or 13 by my music teacher. Faced with a class of Kent schoolgirls (the teacher was originally from Warwickshire but had perfect RP which was, more or less, accentless) none of whom was articulating properly a song she was trying to teach us, she blurted out: “I’ve taught in schools all over the country to pupils with all sorts of regional variations in speaking but here you don’t have an accent at all, you all speak badly!” For me, this had the immediate effect of making me aware of “speaking properly” at all times, or at least when I was in the company of adults or strangers. With the result that I actually sound much “posher” than either of my two younger sisters who also speak perfectly clear, well articulated English. I’ve always understood the bottom line to be clarity of communication so the ability of those with lots of dialect words in their normal speech to switch to Standard English on occasion seems useful. Modern thinking tends to suggest one should be ashamed of changing the way one speaks but surely one should speak so the listener can understand easily out of respect for that other person? Accents are fascinating in their own right and usually make no difference to the understanding of the listener. Dialect words however need to be reserved for those occasions when one is in the company of other dialect speakers. It’s just plain common sense. Vive la difference! (Sorry can’t find my French accents!)

Lindsay West Yorkshire
I love Scottish, Irish, Newcastle and Geordie accents because they have a musical tone to the words. I’m from Yorkshire but I wouldn’t describe might accent as being from there but then again someone listening to me might say otherwise.

Isobel from Grimsby (now living in Germany)
Although I spent my entire childhood in Grimsby, I never picked up the ‘grimbarian’ accent – which meant I was accused of being posh at school. When I went away to university, nobody could place my accent – some southerners even thought I was from the south! Since then I have lived and worked in several countries around the world, and especially through my work as an EFL teacher, noticed my accent neutralising even further, to the point where people (native English speakers) even asked if I was from Australia/New Zealand. At university I had a linguistics professor who claimed to be able to place any accent – though he refused to prove it. I would be interested to find out whether he could place me now…

Vikki, London, (originally North West)
I was born near Manchester and grew up in Southport on the North West coast, where a lot of people have a Northern (i.e. bath instead of baarth), but not strong accent. I then went to Uni in Sheffield and eventually ended up in the East End of London about 8 years ago. My accent is therefore very hybrid and varies depending on who I’m talking to, not because I feel I have to modify the ‘northernness’ but because my accent is influenced by the people around me. When I talk to my family I get back the Northern twang, but if I’m speaking to my London mates I go all Southern and start saying ‘innit’. But I don’t mind, I find accents fascinating and to me, the East End of London has always reminded me of my Northern ‘home’, which I suppose is why I still live here.

Laura from Preston
My parents are both from Liverpool but I divided my childhood between Yorkshire and Lancashire, and as such developed an accent that got me ridiculed on several occasions when I was younger. I still do it now – if I’m really happy or annoyed my voice definitely sounds more Liverpudlian, as well as when I use Scouser (excuse the term) phrases such as ‘made up’ and ‘divvy’. But now I’m older I’m proud of the way I speak and I like the fact that I sound distinctive. As for attractive accents, it has to be Irish and New Zealand or Canadian. Strong American accents grate on me though, otherwise I haven’t got any preferences. It’s a cliché but variety really is the spice of life.

Gemma Gribbon from Belfast
I think a Belfast accent is one of the hardest to understand for people who are not from Ireland. I’m now living in Malaga, I do admit I have lost a bit of the twang but people still have difficulty in understanding me especially some of the saying and phrases that we have.

Lesley from London
I was denied the enjoyment of Cracker, which I hear was brilliant, because I simply could not understand it – sub-titles would have been most helpful.

Roger from London
I have no problem with accents; I enjoy their variety. What does annoy me is where these accents are corrupted, e.g. by Estuary English or by non-UK influences such as the “Australian Questioning Intonation” (making a statement sound like a question) so reviled by Stephen Fry in Room 101. In both these cases, are we to blame Soaps (perhaps East Enders and Neighbours respectively)? However, what annoys me most is incorrect English grammar. In my view the BBC should set an example in this respect, and I have to say its standards have slipped substantially over the years.

revile [rɪˈvaɪl] v  оскорблять; поносить, бранить, осыпать бранью

Germaine Walsh from Cardiff
I’m Welsh born and bred, but am often told on my travels that I don’t have a Welsh or ‘Caaaardiff’ accent, which is a shame. The local media is hyping up the fact that the Welsh accent has recently been voted as being very unpopular, which doesn’t make any sense as there is no such thing as a generic Welsh accent. Most people in Cardiff have either a ‘Taffy’ accent or have a very anglicised dialect due to the high number of English people living in the Capital and its close proximity to the border. Personally, I love listening to the voices of Anthony Hopkins, John Humphreys and Richard Burton, but the North Walian (Gwynedd / Anglesey) accents are so harsh, they are horrible. Although this article is concentrating on accents and dialects, the way that a person actually speaks is equally important. I used to never miss a programme of the ‘Film …’ show on BBC 1 with Barry Norman and regularly listen to Radio 2, but if I hear Jonathan Ross speaking, immediately I have to change channels. I’m all for diversity and equality, but people with that sort of speech impediment (real or exaggerated) should not be allowed on TV or radio as they are so irritating.

Naomi from SE London
I’m an Australian living and working in London and loving the many accents I hear here. I am proud to be Australian and for the most part I speak grammatically ‘correct’ English (Aussie slang aside!) but at times feel a little ‘uncouth’ with the way I pronounce my words compared with the RP way of speaking. Friends and family back home tell me I’m starting to sound ‘English’ and ‘Posh’ I suppose because of where I live and the people I work with, but English people I meet know I’m an Aussie within seconds of meeting me. I love meeting new people and find it quite fun to try to match accents here to the areas they’re from but it is surprisingly difficult. I say celebrate your differences and be proud that your country’ accents are so diverse!

uncouth [ʌnˈkuːθ] a книжн. 1. неуклюжий, неловкий; 2. грубый, неотёсанный

Will from Yorkshire
I never notice my accent unless I am with people from other places, and depending on where they are from, my accent does sometimes sound very broad. But I am proud of my accent, and they say that Yorkshire People tell you what they are thinking and don’t hold back, and I think our accent makes that easier to take.

Owen, Reading
I used to be embarrassed about being “well spoken”/ talking posh. I often covered it up and everyone in the scouts laughed when they heard my accent change as I spoke to my family on the phone. These days (I’m in my mid-twenties) I am much more relaxed about it and have decided to “Keep it real” by speaking my natural RP. I still use dialect expressions like dissing (dis-respecting) which I am told sounds a bit strange.

Jennie (Kiwi living in Germany)
Oh, I forgot to mention before that my hubby grew up in Sheffield and went to a public boarding school. Generally he speaks very well and clearly but when a little tipsy tend to fall back on the “country bumpkin” type of Yorkshire accent. Living with this is sometimes very difficult where often my only English influence is him – sometimes I catch myself dropping the “t” sound in words like water and butter – or even just simply missing out words such as “goin’ t pub” etc.

tipsy [‘tɪpsɪ] a  подвыпивший, под мухой, навеселе

Mary Hinge from Peterborough
originally from the home counties, I have now resided in the armpit of the fens for nearly 20 years & I find it a constant battle to avoid sounding like my neighbours. “Toosdee”, “Fooneral” & “Cumpooder” …. Nice eh?

Elspeth from Paris
I suppose I have what might be classed as an educated Scots accent. In London some people chose to equate a regional accent with poor education treated me with a degree of condescension, which to be honest I found amusing to start with, but very annoying in the long term. A few years there and my accent started to modify itself, the pure northern vowels sliding into the more southern version. Interestingly, three months into living France my “English” language accent had reverted to pre-London days, and when I speak French with my Scottish accent it is perceived as being very interesting and even sexy! Many French people have said my accent when I speak English is particularly easy to understand, but also in my circumstances I am not picking up on “in” phrases, which could be a reason.

Jane from Singapore
Oz spoken English is one of the most dreadful to hear. Probably second to lots of Asians pretending to be Americans.

Oz [ɒz] = Австралия

Malcolm from London
I work in an office where the banter is merciless. If you think a regional or one typifying an ethnicity is a source of amusement to others… you want to try being “posh” in an environment where it is unusual. I get teased more than everyone! What is noticeable is that if everyone is proud of where they come from and who they are, Mickey-taking is not a problem and offends no-one.

typify [ˈtɪpɪˌfaɪ] v 1. быть типичным представителем; 2. символизировать; олицетворять; быть прообразом
banter [ˈbæntə] n 1) добродушное подшучивание; шутки; 2) шутливая беседа
merciless [ˈmɜːsɪlɪs] a  безжалостный; беспощадный; немилосердный; жестокий
Mickey-taking = teasing someone, making fun of someone

Liberty from USA
My mum is originally from Lancashire (Mossside, near Wrea Green, specifically) and still has her accent after nearly 30 years here in the States. I don’t notice it much since I’m used to it, but people in shops still ask her where she is from and how long she’s lived here, thinking she’s only been here for a few months. Both my sister and I have a bit of the accent too, despite being born over here. People ask us too where we’re from, and then look puzzled when they find out we were born here. I wouldn’t change my mum’s accent for the world. The local paper in the town where my parents first lived in the States did an interview with my mum when she first moved here back in the ’70’s. They exaggerated everything and, sorry to say this, made her sound like she had a London accent. Everyone here seems to think that’s the only English accent. I do prefer the English accent my mum has, but then again I may be biased since my boyfriend is from the same area too.

not for the world — ни в коем случае; ни за что на свете

JK, London
Having lived in England for the past 8 years I learned to dislike heavy accents. Since I am a foreigner, it is very often almost impossible for me to understand them, especially over the phone. I appreciate local accents and dialects and I think they should be cultivated, but I strongly believe that learning RP should be encouraged and used when necessary. I agree with Rosanna, it is a delight to listen to RP. I am saddened that it has become “unfashionable”…

Gerry Frankfurt
You don’t really notice your accent until you work abroad. Germans with all their umlauts find the northern accent with the flattened vowels hard to understand.

Peter in Baltimore originally from London
I definitely agree with the American perception of the London accent. I’ve been in the states for 5 months and it is the first thing that people mention when I talk. For the most part they actually ask if I’m from London, not from the UK which I found strange, but then realised they think most people in the UK talk a little bit like Hugh Grant! Although I don’t have a very pronounced London accent, I was always made to speak properly by my mum, I am still asked to teach people cockney slang! In general the Americans I have met do not distinguish between my London accent and my housemate’s Preston accent; they all come under the “British Accent” heading.
pronounced [prəˈnaʊnst] a  явный, определённый, резко выраженный

Scott in Taiwan
Very interesting and amusing to see how complex and contradictory attitudes are in the UK regarding regional accents of English. After agreeing that it’s wrong to harbour prejudices against persons who speak with regional accents instead of RP, or to place one single accent above all others, I see that many proceed to blame linguistic degradation in the UK on us North Americans. “…It comes across as a very lazy way to speak and loses all understanding, especially when the speaker ignores Basic English proper pronunciation. I blame this on the education system and the wide variety of American programmes we are now bombarded with…» “…I spend much of my working day speaking with Americans and they don’t understand plain English!” Will the public in the UK eventually demand that limits on American-language programming be legislated and imposed on broadcasters in the UK, similar to what is seen in France and Quebec? My question would be whether that kind of fear of cultural dilution derives more from attitudes of cultural superiority or inferiority. Another observation: I think people with years of experience in both the UK and the USA would agree that perceptions of regional accents have so much more to do with assumptions of a person’s class, status, and education in the UK than in the USA. Why is that? From Scott, in Taiwan. (and spoken with west-Texas pronunciation)

Chris, Okayama, Japan
I was brought up in East London to parents from Ireland and Malta, one with a standard accent and one with a Birmingham accent respectively. Then I moved to Manchester to go to University and soon developed a soft Manchester accent. Our house is a muddle of intonations, with my brother having a distinct Essex accent. I have always thought Northern accents sounded more friendly than Southern accents and are often less harsh (yes, there are exceptions).

(Kiwi living in Germany)
I have found it extremely interesting living in Germany as regard to the English language. Everyone here learns English at some stage as it is part of the schooling system. I often hear if someone has learnt English from an American or someone from England as this is very distinctive. People often comment on my extremely clear speech and people can understand me very well. When it comes to my Aussie counterparts they have much more difficulty being understood. One of my friends here is German but has grown up in India and speaks very fluently in Deutsch, Hindi and English. There is one problem with this however. His English speech resembles that of and Indian speaking English such as it “It ain’t half hot mum”. Curious Huh!

David Hand from Portsmouth
I am originally from Portsmouth but have lived for about thirty years in California. Americans still pick me out as an Englishman (sometimes Australian) but when I return to the UK I have a hard time convincing people that I am English. One store clerk even claimed he couldn’t understand me. Americans seem to love English accents though and haven’t a clue where they come from or if they are so called high class or not.

Sarah, Lancashire
I grew up in Lancashire but have spent most of my life living in the midlands and the south west. I’m very proud of my Lancashire accent – even though it has mellowed slightly. So much so that when I go back to my home town sometimes I cannot understand the locals. Lancashire must have one of the most varied county accents – each town has a different distinctive accent – so much so that sometimes you can place people’s origins within a 5 mile distance. Even the early movement of people from the countryside into the towns seeking work in the industrial revolution didn’t seem to dissipate the strong differences between each town. Not only does it contain many distinctive ways of pronouncing words (especially the vowels) but Lancashire has a dialect where sentences and grammar is different or other words are substituted. At school our teacher pointed out that we all asked for “me book” back rather then “my book” and as you may have noticed I’ve just used then rather then than! Something I have to check and correct in every report I write at work. Microsoft hasn’t come up with a Lancashire grammar checker yet!

Harpreet Singh from Birmingham
Coming from India 3 years back, I have a mix of Indian, American (due to my education) and Birmingham accent. I used to feel awkward due to my different accent but working in a call centre, I realised, people tend to forget your accent quicker than you think and they focus more on the content of your conversation. Also, its so weird/funny how British born Asians make fun of my accent and name me “Freshie” with a “freshie accent” and find it hard to accept someone with an Indian accent. And, again, I do tend to lose my confidence a bit when someone picks on the accent time and again (and imagine, mine is not a typical Indian accent at all, so God help those poor lads working in Indian call centres)… and the amazing thing is that when I speak to people outside UK, they think my accent is too British (they haven’t met someone with a typical British accent I guess)…. but I think I still have an edge over many natives when it comes to written English or use of professional/formal English, I do lose out on slang/ cockney rhymes and gangster dictionary though! But it’s ok! Doesn’t matter!

Ronald. Surrey
I love the English accent , being born in the Philippines in which we speak primarily an American twang, it is something new to me. The accent itself denotes a “posh kind of thing»

Tim in Vancouver, Canada
My family moved to Canada when I was a child and our English accents which were fairly non-regional formed a big part of our identity as British Canadians. Since then, I have lived in both countries on and off (mostly in Canada) and speak with what Canadians would call a crisp but mostly Canadian accent and what people in the UK would call a Canadian accent. For a long time, the fact that I can be so easily assimilated into Canadian culture and seemingly have nothing to distinguish me from an eighth-generation Canadian – not that there is anything wrong with that – bothered me for a long time. I realise now that there is there is a lot more to a cultural identity than how you speak. I will say that when I have been in the UK for a while and my accent sounds more to the right of the pond than to the left, people seem to perceive me as being more interesting but less one of them. This seems to be in line with the pre-conceptions on accents mentioned in your article.

Pete Regan from Lancaster
During my first year at Uni (Oxford Brookes) I shared a house with 4 girls (one Russian and one French). For most of the first term my English housemates had to translate anything I said to them! On the other hand, whenever I visited family I’d get stick for ‘talking posh’! I’ve recently moved back to Lancaster after having lived in Oxford for 10 years, and I often surprise myself and close friends with my wildly fluctuating accent! I just hope I settle back into the Lanky twang soon!

Nicola Hargreaves from Bolton, Lancashire
People are forever commenting on my Boltonian accent and often like to say the words I say for themselves. Even when I went to Uni in Liverpool the Scousers commented on it! Can you believe that? I am currently working in Sydney, Australia and sometimes it’s very difficult to get people to understand me over the phone! But I love Bolton and my Bolton accent and as proven of years of not living there, will never shift it either!!! Tara Cock sparra!

Dee from Glastonbury (brought up in Durham)
I’ve lived in Somerset for twelve years now and have not lost my own, northern accent (affectionately known as “pit-yakker”). However, when I heard myself interviewed on Radio 4 a couple of years ago, I was completely horrified at how thick and stupid I sounded, regardless of the big words I used. I regard myself as articulate and intelligent…but I’m obviously prejudiced against my own accent! I also find, living in Somerset, that very few people speak with a West Country accent any more. Those who do tend to be either older (over 50) or very rural, brought up on isolated farms or in very small villages. Although many of my friends here have what would be perceived as a Somerset accent, it’s actually a generalised “southern” accent that they use – my stepchildren being a case in point. An 18-year-old of my acquaintance has one of the broadest accents I’ve heard – but when she started imitating her grandfather, I only understood about one word in four!

Nadia from New York City
Hello all! This is an interesting discussion. In the US, we don’t really recognize the various British accents. They basically sound the same. Anyway, it’s really true that if you have a Southern drawl here in the States, you’re perceived as intellectually inferior. I mean it follows pretty logically considering that if George W. sounds like that, it doesn’t leave much hope for other Southerners, right? In any case, New York accents are the best!

Ben Thomas Wellington NZ
Accent does not bother me particularly, with the possible exception of Australian! What bothers me far more is sloppy and pretentious English – the type of person who thinks it is ‘posh’ to say “between you and I”, and similar solecisms, usually with a ‘refined’ voice.

Anna Roberts, New Zealand
To quote Lis Eastham “Whilst the use of ‘ain’t’, ‘innit’, ‘I done it’ and other such phrases are surely a function of upbringing, education and opportunity, none of these phrases can be said to be expressions which can be directly attributed to regional dialect – they are common in society where the individuals are brought up apparently not even being taught the basics, let alone the finer rules of English which the purists aspire to.” Agreed. There is exactly the same distinction here in New Zealand. Well educated people would never say “init” or “I done it”. You’ll get children with very Kiwi accents (as in I’m frum Noo Zulland) never using “I done it”, because they’ve been educated; and you would find children who speak modern RP/standard NZ hybrids who often resort to “I done it” when they haven’t been taught properly.

Sophie from Suffolk
What about the people with no particular accent? I was born and brought up in France by a mum from Leeds and a dad from Italy, moved to Yorkshire, spent some time in Durham, went to university where I was spoilt for choice in terms of different accents and am now based in Suffolk. I am constantly asked where I come from, and told it is impossible to pinpoint it to anywhere in particular, and certainly not to France. Could be Welsh, could be Swedish, could be ‘posh’, could be? It seems my accent and the way I speak have become a melting pot of expressions and intonations which are constantly fusing with any different accent I meet. It does strike up conversations and when it comes down to it, I quite like not belonging to a certain category!

Alex London
Estuary English is so strong now it has the power to influence all pronunciation for the future

Jeanette Majewski, Notts
We have been influenced by the media not to pass negative judgement about various accents e.g., how the BBC have taken aboard employees with regional accents from all over the UK over the years. However, there is still this discrimination over accents, causing flaws on who we are. Our accent is a large part of our identity and people should never forget this. On the other hand and in my experience, do not be fooled or agitated when someone takes the ‘mick’. This happened to me. I’m from the East Midlands, Mansfield and I was teased by people from the South but they were only kidding! I have learnt not to be embarrassed by my accent as it is in the ‘middle’ as much as I live location-wise and a lot of Southerns tell me they like it. I’m very good at impersonating accents from all over the UK but sometimes this gets me into trouble when people think I’m making fun of them. The truth is I only do an accent because I think it’s great. Quite strangely though, I interpret various accents into my every day speech in which I have no explanation for, they just get spoken.

Ann from Childwall, Liverpool.
Proud of where we come from not always proud to admit it! What we say or how we say it, what we drive/wear/live in, where we holiday/eat/shop….. BIG give aways aren’t they? Liverpudlian born and bred, I hate having to apologise for where I come from and the way that I speak.

Rachel from Liverpool
Scouse is BOSS

Robyn from Hull
I think the Hull accent is ok but it can be better, there are some places that are worse or better!

Lianne Vass, Hertfordshire
People should be accepting of all accents

Nadia from Nottingham
I was brought up in Sussex and then spent 10 years in Yorkshire. It is so true that Southerners are encouraged by media to perceive the Northern accent as second rate and the speaker stupid. At the age of 18 I was institutionally biased against the Northern Accent, I would crack up every time I heard a Barnsely or Bolton Accent. After 10 years I’m used to it, but would not wish to speak like it myself. I think it would still disadvantage me in my chosen profession. The hardest accent to understand is the mix of Indian or Pakistani with the Yorkshire accent. I really can’t make out what each word is and where it finishes. Check out ASDA in Dewsbury if you don’t believe me. . .I do like listening to regional accents, it all adds to the rich tapestry of culture, and it is pleasing to see gradually more acceptance of regional accents and fair exposure to these through the media.

Alf Berrington – Liverpool
Coming from Liverpool I never considered my accent to be too harsh. I was brought up in the north suburbs of the city, Neterton / Bootle / Litherland and in my teen years I certainly had a definite “scouse” accent. Over the years, with working in an office environment, I lost the harsh side of my accent and now have a softer twang which, I have been told, can sound “posh”. Not posh by, say, a Home Counties kind of “posh” but “posh” for my area. Away from the area I am told I have a definitely noticeable accent but not a harsh one. However, I do think the “scouse” accent has dropped to a gutter way of speaking where the younger people run a lot of words together and, sometimes, are very incoherent. I suppose this is what is called regional variation. Personally, you can keep it. It comes across as a very lazy way to speak and loses all understanding, especially when the speaker ignores Basic English proper pronunciation. I blame this on the education system and the wide variety of American programmes we are now bombarded with. When I went to school it was drummed into each schoolboy and girl how to pronounce words and in which order to use them in. That all seems to have gone by the wayside and wonder where regional accents will eventually end up.

Bobbie Ingram from Newton Stewart
At school, we were made to feel that our Scottish dialect was inferior and the teachers corrected both our pronunciation and the local terms that we used. I am from West Lothian originally and now live in Dumfries and Galloway. Here in Wigtownshire, there is a range of glorious local accents and people are proud to use them. I never tire of listening to them and am making a point, more and more often, of using my own dialect and not conforming to the expected RP. As they say in France, vive la difference!!

Rosanna, Buckinghamshire
From a foreigner’s point of view I would like to say that it’s a pleasure to hear RP.

Rosie, from North London
Up until I went to an independent school in Hertfordshire 5 years ago, I had a really strong North London accent, which, due to the influences of my friends, has been softened. However, I’m well proud of my North London “heritage” and the accompanying accent. I still don’t pronounce my Ts (I say “liaaal” instead of “little”) and say, “well” i.e. “that was well good”, and “innit” on occasions when I’m with fellow North Londoners. However, with school friends, my accent does soften. However, at school people think I’m common, and at home people think I’m posh!! I think it’s important to be able to adapt your accent to the place where you are, not change your complete dialect, say from Brummie to Geordie, but when I’m with N. Londoners, I speak their “language” because I think it’s important to put people at ease, and I don’t like people to think I’m really posh just cos I go to private school. Primarily, my accent is North (or should I say Norf?) London, and I’m proud of it. Some people say it’s a dead accent – not distinct enough to be east end, but not “well-spoken” enough to be anywhere like St Johns Wood. But I think it’s a nice blend of hardcore places like Tottenham and Wood Green, and the suburbs like Barnet and Hampstead. Rock on North Londoners!!

Des Wilkinson from Withington, Manchester
I’ve lived in London for 8 years though from Manchester, I am 46 and proud of my Mancunian accent though some Londoners say I speak too ”softly” as most Londoners are ”loud” No doubt they would excel in being ”fruit sellers” on the market stalls!!

Sara from Worthing
Although I have lived in Sussex for over 27 years, I was born and raised in Bristol and still have a marked accent. This is always commented on by every-one I meet. I also have a rich and varied vocabulary which I think is much more important than any perceived accent. I never mind when people are ungrammatical or use slang as long as they use as many words in our wonderful and diverse language as possible.

Jon from Southend/ Streatham
Although as a 1980s child I cannot claim genuine historical experience, to me the standard of spoken English has improved in the past 30-40 years and particularly in the last ten. The theory I have is that racial integration has encouraged everybody to adopt a more comprehensible tongue in order to interact. Also immigrant communities in the 1960s brought with them a far more polished appreciation of the English language than the indigenous population, and hence most inner London areas are more of a base for Standard English (SE) and even RP. Where I live now, in Southend on the Thames Estuary, the traditional Essex accent has notably declined.

Ben, Hampshire
I speak with a Hampshire accent which properly comes out when I come home from college in the holidays and work on the farm. ‘Inside out’ has got me thinking that people I know locally may be part of a dying (but proud) rural breed. Sadly only one of my friends my age (17) speaks like I do

Boisseau. Sussex
Estuary English is just lazy English. It is ugly and carries with it a ‘loutish‘ feeling. Proper dialects are quite different, provided they are not so pronounced as to be unintelligible. Why is received English suddenly so unacceptable?

loutish [ˈlaʊtɪʃ] a  неотёсанный, грубый; loutish behaviour — хамство
unintelligible [ˌʌnɪnˈtɛlɪdʒɪbəl] a  неразборчивый, неясный, непонятный

Mina, Essex
I speak ‘Estuary English’ and I’ve hated it all my life. It sounds so common all the time. I’ve tried to eradicate it to speak ‘proper’ but when I’m angry or passionate about something it creeps back in. I’m trying to stop my son talking the same way!

eradicate [ɪˈrædɪˌkeɪt] v  1) вырывать с корнем; 2) истреблять; искоренять
common [ˈkɒmən] a  грубый, вульгарный; простонародный
common manners – грубые манеры; common expression – грубое /вульгарное/ выражение

Fraser from Glasgow
Any thick accent or affectation is unattractive including the versions of Estuary based on Scouse. Local accents not pronounced lazily should be favoured and cherished
affectation [ˌæfɛkˈteɪʃən] n  вычурность, претенциозность (языка, стиля)

Teesside
I’m a student at Oxford and pretty much the only person in the entire university to have any kind of northern accent. The students are not so bad but people on the street/taxi drivers/shop assistants and the like think their role in life is to ridicule me every time I speak. Because they are so superior, coming from the south and all……

Penny from London, but brought up in Cornwall
I suspect I’m horribly average here. I love listening to an Edinburgh accent, Somerset or Cornish accents. I really find Northern Irish accents grate for me as does a Birmingham or Geordie accent. Perversely, most actors adopt an all-purpose West Country accent rather than a Cornish one which drives me nuts!

perverse [pəˈvɜːs] a  1. порочный, извращённый; испорченный; 2. 1) упрямый, упорствующий (в своей неправоте); 2) несговорчивый, капризный, своенравный; 3. превратный, ошибочный

JR Cookstown

I like all the accents and think there should be *more* Brummie accents on the BBC. There is however one voice I hate – Denise van Outen.

Sue McNeil from Aberdeen [Scotland’s third most populous city]
We’re definitely judged by how we speak. Americans love my RP accent, because it’s a sound they’ve heard many times before. Scottish people seem unable to understand the RP accent, or perhaps they choose to find it difficult because of the connotations of ‘BBC English’.

Commane from London
Estuary English is nothing more than a cockneyfied RP, it’s rife – everyone and their dog now speaks it.

rife [raɪf] a predic обычный, частый, распространённый
to grow rife — распространяться, делаться обычным

Marie M from Dronfield
Accents and dialects are part of our cultural heritage and I’m glad to hear more of them in the media rather than just RP

Lis Eastham – Milton Keynes (brought up in Sussex)
Having seen the article on this morning’s ‘Breakfast’, to me it seems obvious that whilst race or regional dialect is not particularly a decider, the nature of the use of English certainly is. The comment made by the Professor of Linguistics at Leeds that people are prepared to be ‘speech-ist’ is also interesting. Race certainly cannot be changed, politics and religion can and are changed dependant on the thoughts and beliefs of the individual but speech can be changed without necessarily affecting the innermost beliefs of the individual. A modulated accent certainly seems to be more attractive than some of the harsh inflections that are heard. The biggest difference between the thumbs-downers and the thumbs-uppers was that the thumbs-uppers use traditionally grammatical English whereas the thumbs-downers (in the main) used ‘lazy’ English. Whilst the use of ‘ain’t’, ‘innit’, ‘I done it’ and other such phrases are surely a function of upbringing, education and opportunity, none of these phrases can be said to be expressions which can be directly attributed to regional dialect – they are common in society where the individuals are brought up apparently not even being taught the basics, let alone the finer rules of English which the purists aspire to. Is it coincidence that those individuals seem to be the ones with the harsh voices? It should however, be noted that accent, whilst probably being affected by education, is not indicative of intelligence or knowledge. The extremes are spread across all sectors! Persons with the ‘Queens English’ RP accents can be ‘as thick as two short planks‘ and have apparently restricted knowledge of the world they live in and conversely people who have been brought up to use ‘lazy’ English can be highly intelligent, interesting people whose awareness of the arts, politics and other general knowledge is significantly above average. For the sake of interest I would say that I use upper-middle southern English (if there is such a thing). I could certainly be picked up on certain aspects of my use of English, however I speak han-dl not hen-dl or an-dl and would never be heard saying I ain’t or I done it. My use of English has a few Americanisms thrown in – this is because I spend much of my working day speaking with Americans and they don’t understand plain English!

innermost [ˈɪnəˌməʊst] = inmost [ˈɪnˌməʊst] a самый сокровенный
inflection  = inflexion n грам. 1) флексия; 2) изменение формы слова (обыкн. окончания)
aspire [ə’spaɪə] v (to, after, at) стремиться, домогаться
indicative [ɪnˈdɪkətɪv] a указывающий, показывающий, свидетельствующий
to be indicative of smth. — быть признаком /показателем/ чего-л., свидетельствовать о чём-л.
as thick as two planks — совершенный тупица /кретин/, настоящий «дуб» 
conversely [kɒnˈvɜːslɪ] adv обратно, противоположно, наоборот

Gideon from London
Nothing wrong with RP. On the World Service, it is what many expect. Better than mockney anyway.