Standard English

  •  “By the end of the 15th century, "Standard English" was established in the City of London.  A mixture of London speech with elements from East Midlands, Middlesex and Essex,”  
Key Characteristics:
  • Non-rhoticity, meaning the r at the ends of words isn’t prounounced (mother sounds like “muhthuh”).
  • Trap-bath split, meaning that certain a words, like bath, can’t, and dance are pronounced with the broad-a in father. 
  • The vowels tend to be a bit more conservative than other dialects in Southern England, which have undergone significant vowel shifting over the past century.
Example:
  • Dame Judi Dench (See video to the right)

Cockney

  • Working class accent in the East End
Key Characteristics:
  • Raised vowel in words like trap and cat so these sounds like “trep” and “cet.”
  • Non-rhoticity and Trap-bath split
  • London vowel shift: The vowel sounds are shifted around so that Cockney “day” sounds is pronounced IPA dæɪ (close to American “die”) and Cockney buy verges near IPA bɒɪ (close to American “boy”).
  • Glottal Stopping: the letter t is pronounced with the back of the throat (glottis) in between vowels; hence better becomes IPA be?ə (sounds to outsiders like “be’uh”).
  • L-vocalization: The l at the end of words often becomes a vowel sound Hence pal can seem to sound like “pow.” (I’ve seen this rendered in IPA as /w/, /o,/ and /ɰ/.)
  • Th-Fronting: The th in words like think or this is pronounced with a more forward consonant depending on the word: thing becomes “fing,” this becomes “dis,” and mother becomes “muhvah.”
Example:
  • British Singer Lily Allen (See video to the right)

Estuary English

  • A combination of Cockney and Standard English, Estuary English originated in southeast England. Since then, it has spread to Norwich and west towards Cornwall.
Key Characteristics:
  • Emphasizes prepositions and auxillary verbs
  • Grammatically more proper than Cockney
  • /r/ realization - sounds more like an American "r" than a Cockney "r"
Example:



West Country

  • West Country encompasses several accents in southwest England.
Key Characteristics:
  • Rhoticity - the letter "r" is pronounced after vowels. It sounds more like an American "r" than a Standard English "r."
  • Frequent use of "to be."
  • The final "y" is pronounced as /ei/.
  • Pronounciation of the final "a" as [ɔː], which sounds like "aw."
Example:
  • Comedian Justin Lee Collins (see video to the right)


Midlands English

  • Midlands English can be broken into two different types, East Midlands and West Midlands. 
Key Characteristics:
  • The East is characterized by how the dialect tends to drop r’s and and pronounce strong h’s. The dialect also has a tendency to change “ou” to u. 
  • The dialect tends to stick to Received Pronunciation, also referred to as “posh” English. West Midlands tends to differ from RP more than the dialect of East Midlands.
  • The most famous person with a West Midlands accent is Ozzie Osbourne. In this dialect am is usually substituted in for are. And "bin" tends to take the place of “have been.” 
  • Specifically Brummie is the version of West Midlands spoken in Birmingham. It demonstrates all of the above characteristics.
Example:
  • Ozzie Osbourne portrays the West Midlands accent.

Northern England English

  • Northern English is dominated by the dialect referred to as Geordie.
Key Characteristics:
  • This dialect is prominent in the Newcastle area. It also resembles the southern Scottish accent. 
  • Specific ways this accent is expressed is in the substitution of “our” with “wor.” 
  • The you plural also takes on the pronunciation “youse.”
Example:
  • Lee Mack is a famous comedian known for impersonations of the Geordie dialect.

Welsh English

  • Welsh English is the dialect of English most commonly found in Wales.  
Key Characteristics:
  • It contains words and grammatical styles that are derived from Welsh, causing many people to consider it a hybrid language.  
  • A common feature of Welsh English is ending sentences with the subject instead the predicate, as in “Fed up, I am.” or “Running on Friday, he is.”  
  • Over time, Welsh English has become less of a dialect and more of an accent as many Welsh words have fallen out of common use.