Sounds Familiar?


Suitable for: Year 10 - 13

Available: Monday – Friday

Length: 60 minutes. Please allow more time after your workshop to explore the galleries and public spaces

Group size: minimum 10

Subject and Key Skills

English Language

Workshop outline

Led by British Library research staff, experts in English accents and dialects, this session introduces ways of analysing spoken English.

A classroom-based talk, students will learn about language change, language variation, and regional vocabulary, pronunciation and grammar in the UK. Students will be introduced to Sounds Familiar?, a site that captures and celebrates the diversity of spoken English in the second half of the twentieth century, and Voices of the UK, a British Library research project that opens up the BBC Voices sound recordings to students and researchers.

Pre-visit activities

  • Discover a rich and unusual collection of over 400 British Library texts, including cookbooks, ships' logbooks, slang dictionaries, quack doctors' pamphlets, Victorian guidebooks and traders' shopping lists in Texts in Context. Use the site to explore how language varies with situation and across time.

Post-visit activities

  • Explore our online resource Sounds Familiar? and uncover the UK’s rich landscape of diverse accents and dialects. Visit the Your Voices section of the website to find out how your class can make recordings of their speech, which will be added to the site and to the British Library's ongoing survey of speech patterns across the UK.

Ready to book?

Watch a short video about your visit to the British Library   How to book