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  • Hi. I'm Gill at www.engvid.com,

  • and today's lesson is about accents in the U.K.

  • So, U.K. accents and also dialects.

  • Okay, so what's the difference between an accent and a dialect?

  • Right. Well, an accent, as you know, is to do with pronunciation, how you pronounce the

  • word. Dialect is when you have a word that only people in a certain area of the country

  • use; it's not a national word, it's a local word that maybe people from other parts of

  • the country, they won't even know what it means, so that's dialect. Okay. So, let's

  • just have a look through some of the accents that we have in the U.K.

  • The one that you're probably learning as you're learning to pronounce English words is RP.

  • "RP" stands for "Received Pronunciation". It's a slightly strange term. "Received" where

  • do you receive it from? Well, maybe you receive it from your teacher.

  • This is how to say this word.

  • It's a slightly strange expression, but RP, it's usually referred to by the initials.

  • And it's the kind of accent you will hear if you're watching BBC Television programs

  • or listening to BBC Radio. Not everybody on the BBC speaks with an RP accent.

  • The news readers tend to be RP speakers, but not always.

  • But the strange thing is that in this country,

  • only a very small percentage of people do speak with this accent.

  • Apparently, just 3%,

  • but they tend to be people in positions of power, authority, responsibility. They probably

  • earn a lot of money. They live in big houses. You know the idea. So, people like the Prime Minster,

  • at the moment David Cameron, he went to a private school, he went to university,

  • Oxford, so people who have been to Oxford and Cambridge Universities often speak in

  • RP, even if they didn't speak in RP before they went to Oxford or Cambridge, they often

  • change their accent while they are there because of the big influence of their surroundings

  • and the people that they're meeting. So that's RP. It's a very clear accent. So, it's probably

  • a good idea to either learn to speak English with an RP accent, or you may be learning

  • with an American accent, a Canadian accent, all of those accents are very clear. Okay.

  • And being clear is the most important thing.

  • Okay, so moving on. RP, as I should have said, is mostly in the south of the country; London

  • and the south. So, also "Cockney" and "Estuary English" are in the south. Okay. So, Cockney

  • is the local London accent, and it tends to spread further out to places like Kent, Essex,

  • other places like that. Surrey. There's a newer version of Cockney called "Estuary English".

  • If you think an estuary is connected to a river, so the River Thames which flows across

  • the country, goes quite a long way west. So anyone living along the estuary, near the

  • river can possibly have this accent as well.

  • So, just to give you some examples, then, of the Cockney accent, there are different

  • features. So, one example is the "th" sound, as you know to make a "th" sound, some of

  • you may find it difficult anyway, "the", when you put your tongue through your teeth, "the",

  • but a Cockney person may not use the "the", they will use an "f" sound or a "v" sound instead

  • , so the word "think", "I think", they would say instead of: "think",

  • they would say it like that: "fink", "fink", and the top teeth are on the bottom lip, "fink".

  • And words like "with" that end with the "th", instead of "with",

  • it will be "wiv", "wiv", "wiv".

  • "Are you coming wiv me?" So that is one of the things that happens with the Cockney accent.

  • Words like "together" would be "togever". Okay?

  • The number "three", t-h-r-e-e is often pronounced "free":

  • "We have free people coming to dinner. Free people." So, there can be confusion there,

  • because we have the word "free",

  • which has a meaning in itself, "free", but if you actually mean "three",

  • the number three, there can be some confusion. So don't get confused by "free people".

  • "Oh, they're free? They're free to come?" -"No, there are three of them.

  • Three people who are free to come." Ah, okay.

  • Another example, another aspect of Cockney is the glottal stop. Words like "computer"

  • with a "t" in it, the "t" is not pronounced. So, some... A lot of Cockney speakers will

  • say: "Compuer, compuer", I don't need to write it, because you can hear I'm missing out the

  • "t" and doing a glottal in my throat instead: "compuer", "computer", "compuer". Okay? And

  • the word "matter": "Does it matter how I speak?",

  • "Does it maer? Does it maer how I speak?"

  • So, that's for you to decide: Does it matter or maer how you speak, how you pronounce?

  • There's another thing with Cockney.

  • When there is an "l" sound in a word, like in the word "milk", the word "milk",

  • Cockney speakers tend to make a "wa" sound where... Instead of the "l".

  • So, instead of: "A glass of milk", they will say:

  • "A glass of milwk, milwk",

  • and they "wa", go like a "w". So... And the "mail", m-a-i-l,

  • when you have the mail delivered,

  • they might say: "The maiwl, maiwl, maiwl", it's hard for me to say. "Maiwl", rather than

  • "mail", the "l" you make with your tongue, on the roof of your mouth just behind

  • your front top teeth: "mail, le, le", but "maiwl" is the Cockney.

  • And there's a place in the west of the country,

  • which I'm sure you've heard of... Oh, I'll put it by this one.

  • To the west of the West Country, the country called Wales, and you've

  • probably heard of the Prince of Wales, one of the royal family.

  • This word, with a very

  • strong Cockney speaker, with a very strong accent tends to pronounce it like: "Wows",

  • not "Wales", but "Wows", which is like saying "wow" with an "s" on the end.

  • "Wows. We went to Wows for our holiday."

  • But it's actually "Wales". So these are some examples of that.

  • And one more aspect of Cockney is the letter "h"...

  • So if you have a name like "Harry",

  • "Harry" would be pronounced "Arry", and "have" where you make the "h" sound "hu", "ave".

  • So, the Cockney speaker tends to miss off the "h". Okay, so okay that's just a few examples

  • of how the Cockney accent differs from RP.

  • Okay, so now we have a little bit more space, we'll move on a little bit further north.

  • And the Midlands is an area of the country about a hundred miles or more north of London,

  • the Midlands, which is in the middle of the country.

  • Okay? And there's the East Midlands

  • and the West Midlands. I happen to come from the East Midlands. So my accent is now, because

  • I now live in London and I've lived in London for a long time, my accent changed gradually

  • after I moved. But there is still a little bit of a mixture in my accent. For example,

  • I still say words like "bath" and "path",

  • which is the same as the American and Canadian

  • pronunciation. Lots of people say "bath" and "path", but the RP pronunciation of these

  • words is "baath" and "paath", so there are a lot of these words where the "a" is not

  • the "a" sound, but the "aa" sound. So that is one thing I have not changed in my accent;

  • I still say "bath" and "path", because to me it feels very strange psychologically to

  • talk about a "baath" or a "paath". It's just a step too far for me.

  • But other aspects of my previous accent I have changed.

  • For example, if you have a cup of tea...

  • A cup of tea, that's the RP pronunciation, but where I come from in the Midlands, we

  • called it "a coop of tea". Okay? So, I'll spell it like that, that's just a kind of

  • phonetic spelling. Coop, coop of tea. So, it feels very strange for me now to say "coop",

  • because I have trained myself to say "cup",

  • which feels more refined. A nice cup of tea,

  • not a coop of tea. Okay? And similarly, larger than a cup is a mug.

  • That sort of thing is a mug, pronounced "mug", but in the Midlands, they say "moog", a "moog".

  • "Do you want it in a coop or a moog?"

  • Okay? That's how they would say it. And the word "up", "up", "look up",

  • they would say: "Look oop", so that's another one. Similar.

  • And in the Midlands also, and in other parts of the country, sometimes people are very

  • friendly, and they call people "love".

  • "Hello, love, how are you today?"

  • They use it in the south, but of course in the Midlands and the north, they say: "luv", okay?

  • So, the word "love" as well used when you're speaking to somebody in a friendly way: "Hello, love".

  • "Love", "luv", they say "luv". Okay. Okay, so that's just a few examples of the Midlands

  • and the Northern as well. The further north you go, you still get these, "bath", "paths",

  • "cup", "mug", "love", "up", it's all very similar, really. So from the Midlands upwards.

  • Okay, moving on, there is the West Country, which is over obviously to the west of England.

  • Before you get to Wales, because Wales has its own accent, which is different again.

  • The West Country, I can't really imitate that very well, but it... People sort of imagine

  • it as a very sort of farming area, a kind of rural accent.

  • And if... If you ever listen to a radio program called "The Archers"

  • on the radio BBC Radio 4, they, some of the characters

  • in that program-it's a little drama series-speak in this West Country accent.

  • So, that's all I'm saying about West Country, because I can't imitate it.

  • So, moving on, apart from England, the country that has given the language its name, "English",

  • we have other countries. Scotland in the far north,

  • Wales in the far west,

  • and then Irish, the other island to the west,

  • an island all on its own called Ireland, which is confusing.

  • "Ireland" is the name of the country, and it is an island. And, of course, Britain,

  • Scotland, and Wales is another island, because it has the sea all around it. So, each of

  • these have their own accent again.

  • So, with the Scottish accent, if a Scottish person with their Scottish accent says:

  • "I don't know", they say: "Ah dinnae ken".

  • Okay? So that means "I don't know". So:

  • "Ah dinnae ken" is the... My accent isn't very good, but that... Those are the words that are used.

  • "I don't know". Okay. And

  • instead of saying "can't" or "cannot", they say "cannae".

  • "You cannae be serious.", "You can't be serious." I think a tennis player used to say that, didn't he?

  • If he was Scottish, he might have said: "You cannae be serious, man."

  • So, "cannae" instead of "can't" or "cannot". Okay?

  • So those are some examples of Scottish accent and dialect.

  • And Scottish people also, instead of saying: "Yes", they say "Aye", so a-y-e means "yes".

  • And they also, instead of saying: "Oh!", the exclamation: "Oh! Oh!" They say: "Och! Och!"

  • and they make this sound in the back of their throat, which is like the German "ch" sound.

  • So: "Och!" And they also have these large expanses of water, like big lakes, which are

  • called lochs, so "loch". So: "Och! I fell in the loch!" And they also have a slightly

  • different up and down in their voice as well. "Och! I fell in the loch! Och! I'm wet through!"

  • So they have a certain way of speaking. If you've ever heard Sean Connery in a film,

  • he changes his accent sometimes, but if you hear Sean Connery, he's a Scottish actor,

  • speaking in his Scottish accent, you will get some idea of the Scottish sound. And also

  • the younger actor, David Tennant, who also uses different accents, but sometimes he uses

  • his native Scottish accent. Okay, right, so that's some Scottish examples, and I just

  • need to clear some space again to give you just the last few examples. Okay.

  • Okay, so just one more example for you. There are various cities, which have their own distinct

  • accents. Okay? Places like Liverpool, which is up in the northwest;

  • Birmingham, which is in the West Midlands;

  • Newcastle, which is in the Northeast;