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Reference for accents of the British Isles


The reason I am doing this web page is for people who would benefit from a quick index of the various types of British accents without having to take a lot of time out to hunt down web pages all over the place. Many Americans are still under the impression that there is an "English accent" (easily confused for some with Australian) as well as a "Scottish accent" and an "Irish accent" (the Celtic accents often confused with each other) but this is simply not true just like there is more to the U.S. than just a "Northern accent" and a "Southern accent" and yes, some foreigners literally think that. I personally never got Australian confused with English but I do admit before I began listening to sound clips that I couldn't distinguish between Irish and Scottish. Now I almost always can unless the accent is very slight but I still have trouble discerning where in Scotland or Ireland they are from and this is mostly because I have more trouble finding sound files for them. I still have trouble seperating Northern English and some Welsh with other "Celtic" types since they rarely sound "English" to me. I'll go into more detail on my learning experience with all this about British accents in other places but suffice it to say it's been interesting.


Most Useful
If you’re trying to learn about British accents the following BBC projects are especially useful. They have many pages of sound files.

Collect Britain Project
They have many different samples of much older, very traditional British accents. These are online recordings of subjects born mostly in the latter part of the 19th century so many of these are nonexistent (in exact form) today.

BBC Voices project
This is a modern project so it’s useful if you’re
looking to see the different dialects of today.

The above links have several sound files for various accents and I usually don’t reinterate by posting links below for some of the files included in these projects but I sometimes do if I can’t find enough independent links out there and it’s just my way of indexing various files for easy reference.

Scottish Corpus Sound Files
This is a Scottish equivalent with many files- and much info, but most of the files seem to be recent, so this is not a historical thing necessarily.

London coffee house

Celtic types

Ireland


Republic of Ireland
Dublin

Northern (Ulster) Ireland (UK)
Northern Ireland 1
Northern Ireland 2
Has several files to choose
Northern Ireland 3

Ulster Scots


Scotland


Standard Scottish means it just says it's Scottish
Standard Scottish 1


English Border area:
Southern Scotland 1
Southern Scotland 2
Southern Scotland 3

Area around the capital city
Edinburgh area 1

Area around the largest city
Glasgow area 1

Central and Northern Scotland outside the largest cities and the highland/border areas
Scottish Heartland 1
Scottish Heartland 2
Scottish Heartland 3

Scottish Highlands and Isles
Scottish Highlands 1
Scottish Highlands 2



Wales

Southwest Wales
Southeast Wales

Northwest Wales
Northeast Wales 1
Northeast Wales 2

Mid Wales 1
Mid Wales 2


Anglo-Saxon types


England

Northern Borders
English border with Scotland down to Yorkshire/Lancashire area

Geordie
Nice page with lots of phrases to choose from.

Pitmatic
This is Northumberland around Geordie land

Cumbrian
Very interesting- you can drag various words to a line and have them read out you in Cumbrian dialect

Cumbrian Bible
More Cumbrian


Northern Midlands
Yorkshire and Humber, note Yorkshire is a very large area and is typically divided into three sections although they don’t often specifiy which one

Yorkshire 1
Yorkshire 2
Yorkshire 3

West Yorkshire 1
West Yorkshire 2

South Yorkshire

Humber


The Northwest
Lancashire down to north Staffordshire outside the Black Country

Lancashire
Lanky Talk

Scouse (Liverpool)
Singer Cilla Black
Example of Liverpool

Mancunian (Manchester)

North Staffordshire
Story/joke told at a convention of some kind

West Midlands

Jasper Carrot
He’s often cited as an example of Brum, the Birmingham accent

Dr. Carl Chinn
This page had both small video and sound file of Dr. Carl Chinn, who is an expert on all things Brummie. Note the woman doing the interviewing in the video is Scouse and the man in the sound file is Posh. The video has other Brummie speakers.

ebrummie page

Black Country
This is the area just to the north of Birmingham

Coventry and Warwickshire

Shrewsbury
Small program but doesn't take long to load, has four parts
Shropshire
This is Shrewsbury too

Gloucestershire
Ancient Gloucestershire Forest Dialect (poem)

East Midlands

Derbyshire

Leicestershire 1
Leicestershire 2

Nottinghamshire

Lincolnshire

The West Country

Bristol
Small program but doesn't take long to load

Somerset
Devon
Lots of sound files by alphabet covering the accent and dialect well

Cornwall

East Anglica

Cambridgeshire

Norfolk
These web pages include both more modern and very old (broad) speakers so you can compare- big difference!

Norfolk 2
Friends of Norfolk Dialect

Norfolk- Suffolk border accent
You have to click on “Greater Yarmouth” and then scroll down to the part that says “recollections”… you can get some really old broad speakers on these

Suffolk/Ipswich accent

Home Counties

Estuary English
Shows three different examples of this popular accent across the Southeast

Janet Street-Porter
Popular Estuary speaker

Brixton
Afri-Carribean influenced speech around London

Cockney
Coming soon
Non-regional

Posh 1

Various Mixed

Number 1
  • Norfolk (East Anglicia)
  • Geordie (city of Newcastle upon Tyne)
  • Scouse (Liverpool, think the Beatles)
  • Yorkshire (very large north central part of England)


  • Number 2
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Cambridge (East Anglicia-Midlands area)
  • Newcastle (Northeast-may be Geordie)
  • London (probably Estuary English or Cockney- could be posh)
  • Liverpool (Northwest- may be Scouse)
  • Bradford (Northern part of England around Leeds)


  • Number 3
    Has a broad sample of almost everything- from Scottish, Welsh, Posh, Norfolk, West Country, Yorkshire, Cumbrian ...you name it.

    Number 4
    Has a spot where they have Brummie and Yorkie reciting famous lines so that you can compare the two diretly. VERY HELPFUL for many Americans who listen to a lot of these accents and forget what they sound like because there's nothing to compare and contrast directly. You can really hear and remember the difference this way!

    Number 5
    Has many accents which are useless for historical purposes but some of those are older with strong rural dialects like Norfolk (East Anglicia) and Devon (West Country), etc.

    Number 6
    Various English accents but they are large files


    Updated July 29, 2005