Do you call a ‘bread roll’ a cobbatchbread cakebarm cake or scuffler? How do you pronounce the words cup and plant? And are you sitting or sat while reading this? The UK is a rich landscape of regional accents and dialects, each evidence of our society's continuity and change, our local history and our day-to-day lives. British Accents and Dialects captures and celebrates the diversity of spoken English in the second half of the 20th century.

  • Aerial view of English houses and fields

    Accents and dialects of England

    From Anglo-Saxon roots, through Norman and Viking invasions to the diversity of the late 20th century, read a brief history of the English language in England.

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    Minority Ethnic English

    Find out how migrants from the Indian subcontinent and the Caribbean have added variety and diversity to the rich patchwork of accents and dialects spoken in the UK.

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    Social variation across the UK

    When feeling ‘pleased’ we might say we are ‘chuffed’, ‘delighted’, ‘happy as a sandboy’, ‘over the moon’, ‘tickled pink’ or ‘thrilled to bits’. Discover how speakers use English differently according to age, gender, ethnicity and social or educational background and explore how people adapt their speech according to context and audience.

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    Geordie connected speech processes

    Some words are pronounced differently in isolation than in continuous speech – a phenomenon known as a connected speech process. Listen to examples of typical connected speech processes associated with speakers in Newcastle upon Tyne and Tyneside.

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    Received Pronunciation

    Variously referred to as the ‘Queen’s English’, ‘BBC English’ or ‘Oxford English’, Received Pronunciation, or RP for short, is the accent usually described as typically British. Find out more about its origins and its current status in the UK.

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    Geordie vowel sounds

    As with any variety of English, Geordie includes a wide range of speakers – from broad dialect to speakers with only a faint hint of a Tyneside accent. Listen to the range of vowel sounds used by speakers in Newcastle upon Tyne and Tyneside.

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    Regional voices: An introduction to language variation across the UK

    If you travel across the UK you experience changing landscapes, architecture and customs, but also variation in the voices you hear. Discover the difference between an accent and a dialect, and explore attitudes to language variation across the country.

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    Asian English

    What is the status of English today within the huge variety of languages spoken on the Indian sub-continent? Find out about the history of English in India and listen to examples of speakers in the UK’s Asian communities.

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  • Aerial view of Glasgow

    Accents and dialects of Scotland

    Although the Acts of Union in 1707 declared English the official written language of Scotland, the history of spoken English is far more complex. Find out more about Scottish English and its relationship with Scots and Scottish Gaelic.

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    Geordie: A regional dialect of English

    Find out more about the origins of the Geordie dialect of Newcastle upon Tyne and discover how the history of the area shaped the dialect spoken today.

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    Caribbean English

    Find out about the history of English in the Caribbean, discover the difference between a pidgin and a creole and listen to examples of speakers from the Caribbean and in the UK’s Caribbean communities.

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    Phonological change in the English language

    Do you pronounce ‘dune’ exactly the same as ‘June’ or do you distinguish between the two? Discover how pronunciation changes can affect an individual word or English accents more fundamentally.

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Featured themes

The UK is a rich landscape of regional accents and dialects, each evidence of our society’s continuity and change, our local history and our day-to-day lives. Explore the themes below to discover the diverse voices of English across the UK and over time.

Received Pronunciation

Explore the accent traditionally described as ‘typically British’.

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English voices from around the world

Explore the accents and dialects of Britain's Caribbean and Asian communities.

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Regional voices: English across the UK

Explore how accents and dialects vary across the UK.

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Geordie voices: dialect in the North East

Explore one of the most distinctive British dialects.

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