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50 shades of English: all the accents spoken in the UK

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There are over 50 different accents in the UK, with only 3% of Britons boasting classic literary pronunciation. In order to understand the speech of the native speaker, regardless of the possible accent, it is very important to develop listening comprehension and realize the full power of linguistic diversity. This will help at least not to get confused when meeting, for example, with an Irish or a native of Wales.

7 striking accents you hear in Britain

In Great Britain, as a multilingual state, not only English is used: the Queen's subjects speak Scottish, Welsh, Irish, Gaelic and Cornish. Of course, English is the most widely spoken - only 10-20% of Britons speak another native language. Despite this, other languages have an impact on English, and this is one of the reasons for the large number of accents in the islands.

Normative pronunciation


Received Pronunciation is a common variant of Literary English, also known as Royal English and BBC Pronunciation.

Where can you meet

Most dictionaries use RP, and teachers around the world tend to lead their lessons on an approximate version of the literary version. RP sounds on the stage of the British theater scene, on TV channels, and at official events.

RP in cinema - TV series "Sherlock"

Benedict Cumberbatch, who played the role of Sherlock, studied at the private school Harrow School, one of the most famous and oldest educational institutions in London. Here he received a classical education, participated in Shakespearean productions, and then even taught English in a Tibetan monastery in India - therefore, the actor has an impeccable standard British pronunciation. The perfect pronunciation is also called by the actor Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman.

Aristocratic accent

Main features

In many ways, this variant of pronunciation is considered exemplary in the fields of education and the media.

Where can you meet

In the upper strata of society, media, education

What makes

The aristocratic accent caresses the ear of a foreign person, it is understandable and especially effective. The consonants are pronounced slowly and pretentiously, and the tone can be perceived as arrogant.

Aristocratic accent in film and media

BBC Announcers, speech by Margaret Thatcher.

Welsh English accent

Main features

Welsh English is influenced by the Welsh language and often includes words coined by locals.

What makes

This accent is melodic - the Welsh pronounce the words as if in a chant. Not surprisingly, standard English sounds smoother against its background.


  • Skipping sound / j /: word juice - / uːz / instead of / juːz /, word news - / nuːz / instead of / njuːz /;
  • The / r / sound is highlighted.

Welsh English in Cinema: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

Bard the Archer, King of Dale, is one of the central characters in the film. He was played by Welsh actor Luke Evans, whose melodious intonations stand out strongly against the background of the speech of other British actors.

Scottish English accent

Main features

The Scottish English accent refers to several variants of the English spoken in Scotland. Scottish accents vary by region.

What makes

The Scottish dialect has its own words - aye (yes), bonny (beautiful), lassie (girl), wee (tiny), etc.


  • The / r / sound is firm and longer than standard English
  • Skipping diphthongs / ai /, / eə /, / əʊ / and others
  • In words with the ending -ed a dull sound: carried - / karɪt /.

How the sentence I'm going to take the baby to the river for a picnic will sound in different parts of Scotland:

  • West of Scotland: Um gunny tak the wee'un ta the ruvur fe a pucnic
  • In the east: Ah'm gonny teak the wee bairn te the riv'r f'r a pucnuc.

Scottish accent in cinema: "Braveheart"

The main character of the film, William Wallace, was played by Mel Gibson, who was born in Ireland, and according to many, his Scottish did not come out very well. But James Robinson (young William) and Sean Lawlor (William's father) did better.

Liverpool English accent

Key features: Renowned linguist Fritz Spiel described it as "one-third Irish, one-third Welsh and one-third with a cold". Scause is characterized by bright nasal tones, reminiscent of a slight cold. Pronounced hard pronunciation of consonants and short vowels. Liverpool people are distinguished by a viscous timbre and melodious tones, because the British believe that the Scousers do not speak, but sing.

A prime example of the Liverpool accent - The Beatles songs

Scouse has long been regarded as something of a low-grade, but thanks to the legendary band, the attitude towards Liverpudlians has softened.


  • Fast and ascending-descending tonality
  • The name of the letter H is pronounced like / heɪtʃ /
  • Words ending with -ch are firmly pronounced.

Cockney accent


A working class accent in the English society of East London that is considered not prestigious.

Cockney in the movie: "Harry Potter"

Cockney is spoken by several characters at once - the caretaker of Hogwarts Argus Filch, the owner of the Three Broomsticks pub Madame Rosemert and another bartender, a train conductor, a bus conductor, 2 Death Eaters, a rogue and a thief Landnikus Fletcher.

Bright features

Rhymed Phrases - The Cockney representative uses phrases in which the second word reveals the meaning of the entire phrase. For example:

  • bees and h * oney * = m * oney *
  • near and f * ar * = b * ar *.


  • Rounding off the diphthong / ai /, it looks more like / oi /, i.e. I is pronounced like / oi /: find - / foind / etc.
  • The diphthong / ei / sounds like / ai / in the words face, rain
  • Pronunciation of the sound / h / at the beginning of words before vowel sounds, skipping / h / in those words where there is an h, i.e. ham is pronounced / æm /, and egg is / heg /
  • Replacing the sound / l / with / w /: silk - / sɪwk /;
  • And, of course, interdental / ð / and / θ / in the th combination are pronounced like / v / / f /, i.e. three will sound like / fri: /, and that - / væt /.

Irish English accent


Irish English is musical and melodious, influenced by the Irish (Gaelic) language.

Bright features

The Irish do not say yes or no to a question. In response, they simply repeat the verb of the question: Do you drive? - I do. Can you sing? - I can't.


  • Clear pronunciation of the sound / r / in all positions: car - / ka: r /, corner - / korner /, far - / fa: r /
  • The sound th / θ, ð / is replaced by voiceless / t /, / d /: that - / dæt /, thirty - / tɜːtɪ /
  • / t / pronounced after u as / tʃ /: butter is / ˈbʌtʃə / instead of / ˈbʌtə /
  • The diphthong / ai / is pronounced as / ɔi /, for example like - / lɔik /, Irish - / ɔirɪʃ /.

Irish English in Cinema: "Once Upon a Time in Ireland"

Irish actor Brendan Gleeson played the role of an Irish police sergeant in the film and speaks in the film with a Dublin version of the Irish accent.

Brummy accent


This unusual accent is common in Birmingham. It is believed to be the most difficult accent to reproduce, which is why movies are not often shot in Birmingham.


  • the vowel sound / əʊ / can sound close to / ɑʊ /: the word goat is / gɑʊt / instead of / ɡəʊt /;
  • the vowel / aʊ / may sound like / æʊ /: the word mouth is / mæʊt / instead of / maʊθ /;
  • the unstressed sound / i / at the end of words can be pronounced as / əi /: the word happy is / ˈhæpəi / instead of / ˈhæpi /.

Brummy in the movie: "Peaky Blinders"

All the members of the crime family speak brummi. The main character in the series is played by Irishman Cillian Murphy, and according to critics, he did a good job of conveying the accent of Birmingham.

What accent should you aim for?

A few years ago, it was believed that the classic pronunciation of RP was the ultimate truth, and this is the pronunciation you should strive for. But today teachers are less categorical - some even recommend mastering the English accent that they like best.

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