Diverse voices: varieties of English in the UK

Why do speakers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland use distinctive varieties of English? Discover the history of English in each nation and find out more about recent influences on British English.

Aerial view of English houses and fields

Accents and dialects of England

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

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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Photograph of Welsh coastline

Accents and dialects of Wales

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

Welsh English, surprisingly, is arguably a younger variety than the English spoken in the USA. Find out more about the history of English in Wales and its relationship with the Welsh language.

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Aerial view of Glasgow

Accents and dialects of Scotland

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

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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Aerial view of Belfast

Accents and dialects of Northern Ireland

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

From 1609 onwards, British settlers started to arrive in Ireland in increasing numbers, bringing the English language with them. Find out more about the diverse influences and distinctive sounds that characterise English in Northern Ireland.

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Photograph of two men

Received Pronunciation

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

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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Black and white photograph of two women

Minority Ethnic English

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

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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Further themes

Changing voices: English over time

Explore how spoken English has changed over time.

Regional voices: English across the UK

Explore how accents and dialects vary across the UK.

Diverse voices: varieties of English in the UK

Explore how English is spoken in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

Geordie voices: dialect in the North East

Explore one of the most distinctive British dialects.

English voices from around the world

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

Received Pronunciation

Explore the accent traditionally described as ‘typically British’.

Your Voices: contemporary accents of the UK

Explore present-day English voices across the UK.