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English Dialects

We may usefully define dialects as sub-forms of languages which are, in general, mutually comprehensible, while languages as forms are not. English an unusual language. Already a blend of early Frisian and Saxon, it absorbed Danish and Norman French, and later added many Latin and Greek technical terms. In the US, Canada, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and elsewhere, it absorbed terms different items from native and immigrant languages. Plus, the various dialects, from Cockney to Jamaican, and innumerable sources of slang, from Polari to hip hop, continue to add new terms and expressions to the mix.

Southern English engages in r-dropping, that is, r's are not pronounced after vowels, unless followed by another vowel. Instead, vowels are lengthened or have an /'/ off-glide, so fire becomes /fai'/, far becomes /fa:/, and so on. regular use of "broad a" (/a:/), where GA (General American) would use //. "long o" is pronounced /'u/, where GA uses /ou/. final unstressed i is pronounced /i/, where GA uses /i:). t between vowels retained as /t/ (or a glottal stop, in its variants), where GA changes it to /d/.

Originally the dialect of the working class of East End London.
initial h is dropped, so house becomes /aus/ (or even /a:s/). /th/ and /dh/ become /f/ and /v/ respectively: think > /fingk/, brother > /brv'/. t between vowels becomes a glottal stop: water > /wo?i/. diphthongs change, sometimes dramatically: time > /toim/, brave > /braiv/, etc.

Cockney Besides the accent, it includes a large number of slang words, including the famous rhyming slang: north and south -- mouth boat race -- face trouble -- wife [from trouble and strife = wife] whistle -- suit [from whistle and flute = suit] oily rag -- fag = cigarette jam jar -- car pen and ink -- stink porkies -- lies [from pork pies = lies] titfer -- hat [from tit for tat = hat] apples and pears -- stairs Jimmy -- urinate [from Jimmy Riddle = piddle] loaf -- head [from loaf of bread = head] brown bread -- dead

Received Pronunciation An instantly recognisable accent often described as typically British. Popular terms for this accent, such as The Queens English, Oxford English or BBC English are all a little misleading. The Queen, for instance, speaks an almost unique form of English, while the English we hear at Oxford University or on the BBC is no longer restricted to one type of accent. RP is an accent, not a dialect, since all RP speakers speak Standard English (avoiding non-standard grammatical constructions and localised vocabulary). RP is also regionally non-specific, that is it does not contain any clues about a speakers geographic background. But it does reveal a great deal about their social and/or educational background.

Received Pronunciation
As well as being a living accent, RP is also a theoretical linguistic concept. It is the accent on which phonemic transcriptions in dictionaries are based, and it is widely used (in competition with General American) for teaching English as a foreign language.

Estuary English
From London down the Thames and into Essex, Sussex, and even Kent, a new working and middle class dialect has evolved and is rapidly become "the" southern dialect. It combines some of the characteristics of Cockney(replacement of [t] with the glottal stop in weak positions, the vocalisation of [] (dark L) to [o]) with RP, but makes much less use of Cockney slang.

Multicultural London English

Multicultural London English (abbreviated MLE), colloquially called Blockney or Jafaican, is a dialect(and/or sociolect) of English that emerged in the late 20th century. It is spoken mainly by youths in inner London. The speech of Jamaicans, or children of Jamaican parents, in London shows interesting combinations of the Jamaican accent with the London accent. / is replaced by [t], for example both /bot/. Hypercorrections like [f] for foot are also heard from Jamaicans.

East Anglian

This easternmost area of England was probably home to the first-ever form of language which can be called English This dialect is very similar to the Southern: t between vowels usually becomes a glottal stop. /ai/ becomes /oi/: time > /toim/. RP yu becomes u: after n, t, d... as in American English. Merger of the vowels of near and square (RP // and //), making chair and cheer homophones.

East Midlands
The dialect of the East Midlands, once filled with interesting variations, is now predominantly RP. R's are dropped, but h's are pronounced. The only signs that differentiate it from RP: ou > u: (so go becomes /gu:/). RP yu; becomes u: after n, t, d... as in American English.
Reflexive pronouns are characterised by the replacement of Self with 'Sen' Y'usen - Yourself, Mesen - Myself, Thisens - Themselves/Yourselves, Ussens - Ourselves Example "We sh'll ay to do it ussens." (We shall have to do it ourselves)

Grammar Personal pronouns differ from standard English as follows: yorn yours mine Mine

theirn Theirs ourn ours

Dialect words
Badly hungover/ill Clouts trousers (usually pronounced claarts) Mash to make a pot of tea (i.e. "I'll go mash the tea.") Tabs ears Wazzerk/wassock fool (used across the east & west midlands) Sketa useless person. Twitchel alleyway Tuffees sweets, confectionery Nesh a weak person, or one who feels the cold Oakie ice cream (common in Leicestershire)

West Country

Owing to the West Country's agricultural history, the sound of the West Country accent has for centuries been associated with farming and, as an effect, with lack of education and rustic simplicity. This can be seen in literature as early as the 18th Century in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's play The Rivals, set in the Somerset city of Bath. r's are not dropped. initial s often becomes z (singer > zinger). initial f often becomes v (finger > vinger). vowels are lengthened.initial f often becomes v (finger > vinger). vowels are lengthened.

Dialect words
"Acker" (North Somerset) friend "Anywhen" At any time "Appen" (Devon) Perhaps, possibly "Boris" (Exeter) daddy longlegs "Crowst" (Cornwall) a picnic lunch, crib "Cuzzel" (Cornwall) soft "Gockey" (Cornwall) idiot "Somewhen" At some time (still very commonly used)(compare German; irgendwann) "Sprieve" (Wiltshire) Dry after a bath, shower or swim by evaporation. "Thic" (North Somerset) that - said knowingly, i.e. to be make dialect deliberately stronger. E.g. "Get in thic bed!" "Thic/Thac/They Thiccy/Thaccy/They" (Devon) This, that, those. e.g. "Put'n in thic yer bo

West Midlands

The accent has experienced ridicule within the UK for its unusual sound. The accent is a result of extensive migration to the region during the Industrial revolution. Birmingham and its surrounding suburbs received people not only from England and Ireland, but also in smaller numbers from Wales and Scotland. There are some local phrases that are renowned. People do tend to substitute a reply of "arr" for "yes". Generally, most words are shortened, most commonly being "I haven't" to "I ay" (which can be argued as an even shorter form of "I ain't").

West Midlands This is the dialect of Ozzie Osbourne! While pronunciation is not that different from RP, some of the vocabulary is: are > am am, are (with a continuous sense) > bin is not > ay are not > bay
Varieties of West Midlands English: Black Country (Yam Yam) - a reference to the use of "Yow am" ( or yow'm)
instead of "You are"

Brummie (spoken in Birmingham) Potteries (North Staffordshire) Herefordshire Warwickshire Worcestershire Salopian (Shropshire)

This dialect, spoken north and east of Liverpool, has the southern habit of dropping r's. Other features: // > /u/, as in luck (/luk/). /ou/ > /oi/, as in hole (/hoil/)
Scouse is the very distinctive Liverpool accent, a version of the Lancashire dialect, that the Beatles made famous. the tongue is drawn back. /th/ and /dh/ > /t/ and /d/ respectively. final k sounds like the Arabic q. for is pronounced to rhyme with fur.

The Northern dialect closely resembles the southern-most Scottish dialects. It retains many old Scandinavian words, such as bairn for child, and not only keeps its r's, but often rolls them. The most outstanding version is Geordie, the dialect of the Newcastle area. -er > //, so father > /fdh/. /ou/ > /o:'/, so that boat sounds like each letter is pronounced. talk > /ta:k/ work > /work/ book > /bu:k/ my > me me > us our > wor you plural > youse


The Yorkshire dialect is known for its sing-song quality, a little like Swedish, and retains its r's. // > /u/, as in luck (/luk/). the is reduced to t'. initial h is dropped. was > were. still use thou (pronounced /tha/) and thee. aught and naught (pronounced /aut/ or /out/ and /naut/ or /nout/) are used for anything and nothing.