British types of English

South West England. South-East Midlands. North-East England. Leinster and Greater Dublin. Dialects and accents amongst the four countries of the United Kingdom. The traditional dialects of Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and south Northamptonshire.

Рубрика Иностранные языки и языкознание
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«Министерство образования и науки РФ»



на тему:

«British types of English»


Набокина А.И


Барабанова И.Г

г. Ростов-на-Дону, 2012


1. Introduction

2. History

3. Dialects

4. General features

5. Southern England

6. South West England

a) Norfolk b) Midlands c) West Midlands d) East Midlands

7. South-East Midlands

8. Northern England

a) Manchester dialect b) Liverpool (Scouse) c) Yorkshire d) Middlesbrough area e) Lancashire f)Cumbria

9. North-East England

a) Geordie b) Mackem c) Pitmatic d) Multicultural London English

10. Welsh English

11. Scottish English

12. Ulster Scots

13. Hiberno-English

14. Leinster and Greater Dublin

15. Список литературы

1. Introduction

British English, or English, is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere. The Oxford English Dictionary applies the term to English "as spoken or written in the British Isles; esp[ecially] the forms of English usual in Great Britain", reserving "Hiberno-English" for the "English language as spoken and written in Ireland".

There are slight regional variations in formal written English in the United Kingdom. For example, although the words wee and little are interchangeable in some contexts, wee (as an adjective) is almost exclusively written by some people from some parts of northern Britain (and especially Scotland) or fromNorthern Ireland, whereas in Southern England and Wales, little is used predominantly. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in writtenEnglish within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, "For many people . . . especially in England [British English] is tautologous," and it shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word British, and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity."

2. History

English is a West Germanic language originated from the Anglo-Frisian dialects brought to Britain by Germanic settlers from various parts of what is now northwest Germany and the northernNetherlands. The resident population at this time was generally speaking Brythonic--the insular variety of continental Celtic which was influenced by occupation by the Romans. This group of languages (Welsh, Cornish, Cumbric) cohabited alongside English into the modern period, but due to their remoteness from the Germanic languages, influence on English was notably limited. However, the degree of influence remains debated, and it has recently been argued that its grammatical influence accounts for the substantial innovations noted between English and the other West Germanic languages. Initially, Old English was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of England. One of these dialects, Late West Saxon, eventually came to dominate. The original Old English language was then influenced by two waves of invasion; the first was by language speakers of the Scandinavian branch of the Germanic family; they conquered and colonised parts of Britain in the 8th and 9th centuries. The second was the Normans in the 11th century, who spoke Old Norman and ultimately developed an English variety of this called Anglo-Norman. These two invasions caused English to become "mixed" to some degree (though it was never a truly mixed language in the strictest sense of the word; mixed languages arise from the cohabitation of speakers of different languages, who develop a hybrid tongue for basic communication).

Cohabitation with the Scandinavians resulted in a significant grammatical simplification and lexical enrichment of the Anglo-Frisian core of English; the later Norman occupation led to the grafting onto that Germanic core of a more elaborate layer of words from the Romance branch of the European languages. This Norman influence entered English largely through the courts and government. Thus, English developed into a "borrowing" language of great flexibility and with a huge vocabulary.

3. Dialects

Dialects and accents vary amongst the four countries of the United Kingdom, as well as within the countries themselves.

The major divisions are normally classified as English English (or English as spoken in England, which comprises Southern English dialects, West Country dialects, Midlands English dialects and Northern English dialects), Welsh English (not to be confused with the Welsh language), and Scottish English (not to be confused with the Scots language). The various British dialects also differ in the words that they have borrowed from other languages.

4. General features

There are many different accents and dialects throughout England and people are often very proud of their local accent or dialect. However, accents and dialects also highlight social class differences, rivalries, or other associated prejudices --as illustrated by George Bernard Shaw's comment:

It is impossible for an Englishman to open his mouth without making some other Englishman hate or despise him.

For the English language in England ("English English"), three major dialect groupings are recognized: Southern English dialects, Midlands English dialects, and Northern English dialects. The most prominent isogloss is the foot-strut split, which runs roughly from mid-Shropshire (on the Welsh border) to south of Birmingham and then to The Wash. South of the isogloss, in the Midlands and Southern dialects, the Middle English phoneme /?/ split into /?/ (as in cut, strut) and /?/ (put, foot); this change did not occur north of the isogloss.

The accent best known to many people outside the United Kingdom as English English, is that of Received Pronunciation (RP). Until recently, RP English was widely considered to be more educated than other accents and was referred to as the Queen's (or King's) English, or even "BBC English" (because for many years of broadcasting it was rare to hear any other dialect on the BBC), even though this was not the accent held by the majority of English people. Since the 1970s regional accents have become increasingly accepted in mainstream media, and are frequently heard. RP is also sometimes called "Oxford English", and the Oxford Dictionary gives RP pronunciations for each word.

Native English speakers can often tell quite accurately where a person comes from, frequently down to within a few miles. Historically, such differences could be a major impediment to understanding between people from different areas. There are also many cases where a large city has a very different accent from the rural area around it (e.g. Bristol and Avon, Hull and the East Riding, Liverpool and Lancashire). But modern communications and mass media have reduced these differences in some parts of the country. Speakers may also change their pronunciation and vocabulary, particularly towards Received Pronunciation and Standard English when in public.

British Isles varieties of English, including English English, are discussed in John C. Wells (1982). Some of the features of English English are that:

? Most versions of this dialect have non-rhotic pronunciation, meaning that [r] is not pronounced in syllable coda position. Nonrhoticism is also found elsewhere in the English speaking world, including in Australian English, New Zealand English, and South African English, as well as most nonnative varieties spoken throughout the Commonwealth of Nations. Rhotic accents exist in the West Country, parts of Lancashire, the far north of England and in the town of Corby, both of which have a large Scottish influence on their speech.

? As noted above, Northern versions of the dialect lack the foot-strut split, so that there is no distinction between /?/ and /?/, making put and putt homophones as /p?t/.

? In the Southern varieties, words like bath, cast, dance, fast, after, castle, grass etc. are pronounced with the long vowel found in calm (that is, [??] or a similar vowel) while in the Midlands and Northern varieties they are pronounced with the same vowel as trap or cat, usually [a]. For more details see Trap-bath split. There are some areas of the West Country that use [a?] in both the TRAP and BATH sets. The Bristol area, although in the south of England, uses the short [a] in BATH.

? Many varieties undergo h-dropping, making harm and arm homophones. This is a feature of working-class accents across most of England, but was traditionally stigmatised (a fact the comedy musical My Fair Lady was quick to exploit) but less so now. This was geographically widespread, but the linguist A.C. Gibson stated that it did not extend to the far north, nor to East Anglia, Essex, Wiltshire or Somerset. In the past, working-class people were often unsure where an h ought to be pronounced, and, when attempting to speak "properly", would often preface any word that began with a vowel with an h (e.g. "henormous" instead of enormous, "hicicles" instead of icicles); this was referred to as the "hypercorrect h" in the Survey of English Dialects, and is also referenced in literature (e.g. the policeman in Danny the Champion of the World).

? A glottal stop for intervocalic /t/ is now common amongst younger speakers across the country; it was originally confined to some areas of the south-east and East Anglia.

? The distinction between /w/ and /hw/ in wine and whine is lost in most varieties, "wh" being pronounced consistently as /w/.

? Most varieties have the horse-hoarse merger. However some northern accents retain the distinction, pronouncing pairs of words like for/four, horse/hoarse and morning/mourning differently.

? The consonant clusters /sj/, /zj/, and /lj/ in suit, Zeus, and lute are preserved by some.

? Many Southern varieties have the bad-lad split, so that bad /b??d/ and lad /l?d/ do not rhyme.

? In most of the eastern half of England, plurals and past participle endings which are pronounced /?z/ and /?d/ (with the vowel of kit) in RP may be pronounced with a schwa /?/. This can be found as far north as Wakefield and as far south as Essex. This is unusual in being an east-west division in pronunciation when English dialects generally divide between north and south. Another east-west division involves the rhotic [r]; it can be heard in the speech of country folk (particularly the elder), more or less west of the course of the Roman era road known as Watling Street (the modern A5), which at one time divided King Alfred's Wessex and English Mercia from the Danish kingdoms in the east. The rhotic [r] is rarely found in the east.

? Sporadically, miscellaneous items of generally obsolete vocabulary survive: come in the past tense rather than came; the use of thou and/or ye for you.

5. Southern England

In general, Southern English accents are distinguished from Northern English accents primarily by not using the short a in words such as "bath". In the south-east, the broad A is normally used before a /f/, /s/ or /?/: words such as "cast" and "bath" are pronounced /kst/, /b?/ rather than /k?st/, /b??/. This sometimes occurs before /nd/: it is used in "command" and "demand" but not in "brand" or "grand".

In the south-west, an /a?/ sound in used in these words but also in words that take /?/ in RP; there is no trap-bath split but both are pronounced with an extended fronted vowel. Bristol is an exception to the bath-broadening rule: it uses /a/ in the trap and bath sets, just as is the case in the North and the Midlands.

Accents originally from the upper-class speech of the London-Oxford-Cambridge triangle are particularly notable as the basis for Received Pronunciation.

Southern English accents have three main historical influences:

? The London accent, in particular, Cockney. [However, London has continuously absorbed migrants throughout its history, and its accent has always been prone to change quickly]

? Received Pronunciation ('R.P.').

? Southern rural accents, of which the West Country, Kent and East Anglian accents are examples.

Relatively recently, the first two have increasingly influenced southern accents outside London via social class mobility and the expansion of London. From some time during the 19th century, middle and upper-middle classes began to adopt affectations, including the RP accent, associated with the upper class. In the late 20th and 21st century other social changes, such as middle-class RP-speakers forming an increasing component of rural communities, have accentuated the spread of RP. The south-east coast accents traditionally have several features in common with the West country; for example, rhoticity and the a: sound in words such as bath, cast, etc. However, the younger generation in the area is more likely to be non-rhotic and use the London/East Anglian A: sound in bath.

After the Second World War, about one million Londoners were relocated to new and expanded towns throughout the south east, bringing with them their distinctive London accent (and possibly sowing the seed of Estuary English).

6. South West England

The West Country dialects accents are generic terms applied to any of several English dialects and accents used by much of the indigenous population of South West England, the area popularly known as the West Country.

This region encompasses Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset, while Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Wiltshire are usually also included, although the northern and eastern boundaries of the area are hard to define and sometimes even wider areas are encompassed. The West Country accent is said to reflect the pronunciation of the Anglo-Saxons far better than other modern English Dialects.

In the nearby counties of Berkshire, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, it was possible to encounter comparable accents and, indeed, distinct local dialects until perhaps the 1960s. There is now limited use of such dialects amongst older people in local areas. Although natives of such locations, especially in western parts, can still have West Country influences in their speech, the increased mobility and urbanisation of the population have meant that local Berkshire, Hampshire and Isle of Wight dialects (as opposed to accents) are today essentially extinct.

Academically the regional variations are considered to be dialectal forms. The Survey of English Dialects captured manners of speech across the West Country that were just as different from Standard English as anything from the far North. Close proximity has completely different languages such as Cornish, which is a Celtic language related to Welsh, and more closely to Breton.

a) Norfolk

The Norfolk dialect is spoken in the traditional county of Norfolk and areas of north Suffolk. Famous speakers include Lord Nelson and Keith Skipper. The group FOND (Friends of Norfolk Dialect) was formed to record the county's dialect and to provide advice for TV companies using the dialect in productions.

East Anglian dialect is also spoken in areas of Cambridgeshire. It is characterised by the use of [ei] for /i:/ in FLEECE words.

b) Midlands

? As in the North, Midlands accents generally do not use a broad A, so that cast is pronounced [kast] rather than the [k??st] pronunciation of most southern accents. The northern limit of the [??] in many words crosses England from mid-Shropshire to The Wash, passing just south of Birmingham.

? Midlands speech also generally uses the northern short U, so putt is pronounced the same as put. The southern limit of this pronunciation also crosses from mid-Shropshire to the Wash, but dipping further south to the northern part of Oxfordshire.

? The West Midlands accent is often described as having a pronounced nasal quality, the East Midlands accent much less so.

? Old and cold may be pronounced as "owd" and "cowd" (rhyming with "loud" in the West Midlands and "ode" in the East Midlands), and in the northern Midlands home can become "wom".

? Whether Derbyshire should be classed as the West or East Midlands in terms of dialect is debatable. Stanley Ellis, a dialect expert, said in 1985 that it was more like the West Midlands, but it is often grouped with the East and is part of the region East Midlands.

? Cheshire, although part of the North-West region, is usually grouped the Midlands for the purpose of accent and dialect.

c) West Midlands

? The best known accents in the West Midlands area are the Birmingham accents (see "Brummie") and the Black Country accent (Yam Yam).

? There is no Ng-coalescence. Cases of the spelling -ing are pronounced as rather than. Wells noted that there were no exceptions to this rule in Stoke-on-Trent, whereas there were for other areas with the pronunciation, such as Liverpool.

? Dialect verbs are used, for example am for are, ay for is not (related to ain't), bay for are not, bin for am or, emphatically, for are. Hence the following joke dialogue about bay windows: "What sort of windas am them?" "They'm bay windas." "Well if they bay windas wot bin them?". There is also humour to be derived from the shop-owner's sign of Mr. "E. A. Wright" (that is, "He ay [isn't] right," a phrase implying someone is saft [soft] in the jed [head]). Saft also may mean silly as in, "Stop bein' so saft".

? The Birmingham and Coventry accents are quite distinct, even though the cities are only 19 miles/30 km apart. Coventry being slightly closer to an East Midlands accent.

? Around Stoke-on-Trent, the short i can sound rather like a short e, so milk and biscuit become something like "melk" and "bess-kit". Strong 'Potteries' accents can even render the latter as "bess-keet". The Potteries accent is perhaps the most distinctly 'northern' of the West Midlands accents, given that the urban area around Stoke-on-Trent is close to the Cheshire border.

? Herefordshire and parts of Worcestershire and Shropshire have a rhotic accent somewhat like the West Country, and in some parts mixing with the Welsh accent, particularly when closer to the English/Welsh border.

d) East Midlands

? East Midlands accents are generally non-rhotic, instead drawing out their vowels, resulting in the Midlands Drawl, which can to non-natives be mistaken for dry sarcasm.

? The PRICE vowel has a very far back starting-point, and can be realised as.

? Yod-dropping, as in East Anglia, can be found in some areas for example new as /nu/, sounding like "noo".

? The u vowel of words like strut is often , with no distinction between putt and put. In Lincolnshire, such sounds are even shorter than in the North.

? In Leicester, words with short vowels such as up and last have a northern pronunciation, whereas words with vowels such as down and road sound rather more like a south-eastern accent. The vowel sound at the end of words like border (and the name of the city) is also a distinctive feature.

? In north Nottinghamshire ee found in short words is pronounced as two syllables, for example feet being [fij?], sounding like "fee-yut" (and also in this case ending with a glottal stop).

? Lincolnshire also has a marked north-south split in terms of accent. The north shares many features with Yorkshire, such as the open a sound in "car" and "park" or the replacement of take andmake with tek and mek. The south of Lincolnshire is close to Received Pronunciation, although it still has a short Northern a in words such as bath.

? Mixing of the words was and were when the other is used in Standard English.

? In Northamptonshire, crossed by the North-South isogloss, residents of the north of the county have an accent similar to that of Leicestershire and those in the south an accent similar to ruralOxfordshire.

? The town of Corby in northern Northamptonshire has an accent with some originally Scottish features, apparently due to immigration of Scottish steelworkers. It is common in Corby for the GOAT set of words to be pronounced with /o/. This pronunciation is used across Scotland and most of Northern England, but Corby is alone in the Midlands in using it.

7. South-East Midlands

england dialect dublin accent

The traditional dialects of Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire and south Northamptonshire are closer to Received Pronunciation than any other dialects in Britain. This is because the upper-class who migrated into London during the 15th century were mostly from the counties just north of London. However, there are still a number of differences between their dialects and R.P.:

? This area traditionally used /a/ in words where an was followed by /f/, /s/ or /?/. Younger speakers in the area are more likely to use the R.P.

? The isogloss for the vowel in cup, strut, such, etc. is another traditional north-south marker, but the isogloss is slightly further south for this. Much of the area uses . Some parts of this area, such as Peterborough, would use the southern pronunciation for "bath" but the northern pronunciation for "suck".

? The TRAP vowel (corresponding to RP /?/) is realised as [a], as is the case in all of England except the south-east and East Anglia.

? In common with the south-east, the vowel in about, pound, sound, etc. may be rather than /a/.

? It is common for residents of this area to pronounce the -shire in county names as /?/ rather than the more common /?/, which is used in the Oxford Dictionary.

? In some areas, an /ai/ can turn into an [oi] sound. For example, nineteen ninety-five would be said as noineteen noientee foive.

8. Northern England

There are several accent features which are common to most of the accents of northern England (Wells 1982, section 4.4).

? Northern English tends not to have // (strut, but, etc.) as a separate vowel. Most words that have this vowel in RP are pronounced with // in Northern accents, so that put and putt are homophonous as [pt]. But some words with / in RP can have [u] in the more conservative Northern accents, so that a pair like luck and look may be distinguished as /lk/ and /luk/.

? The accents of Northern England generally do not use a //. so cast is pronounced [kast] rather than the [kst] pronunciation of most southern accents. This pronunciation is found in the words that were affected by the trap-bath split.

? For many speakers, the remaining instances of RP // instead becomes [a]: for example, in the words palm, cart, start, tomato.

? The vowel in dress, test, pet, etc. is slightly more open, transcribed by Wells as rather than [e].

? The "short a" vowel of cat, trap is normally pronounced [a] rather than the [?] found in traditional Received Pronunciation and in many forms of American English.

? In most areas, the letter y on the end of words as in happy or city is pronounced, like the i in bit, and not [i]. This was considered RP until the 1990s. The longer [i] is found in the far north and in the Merseyside area.

? The phonemes /e/ (as in face) and /o/ (as in goat) are often pronounced as monophthongs (such as [e] and [o]). However, the quality of these vowels varies considerably across the region, and this is considered a greater indicator of a speaker's social class than the less stigmatised aspects listed above.

Some dialect words used across the North are listed in extended editions of the Oxford Dictionary with a marker "North England": for example, the words ginnell and snicket for specific types of alleyway, the word fettle for to organise, or the use of while to mean until. The best-known Northern words are nowt, owt and summat, which are included in most dictionaries. For more localised features, see the following sections.

The "present historical" is named after the speech of the region, but it is often used in many working class dialects in the south of England too. Instead of saying "I said to him", users of the rule would say, "I says to him". Instead of saying, "I went up there", they would say, "I goes up there.

In the far north of England, the local speech is indistinguishable from Scots. Wells said that northernmost Northumberland "though politically English is linguistically Scottish".

a) Manchester dialect

Mancunian (or Manc) is a dialect, and the name given to the people of Manchester, England.

The dialect is distinguishable from other Northern English dialects. A major feature of the Mancunian accent is the over-enunciation of vowel sounds when compared to the flattened sounds of neighbouring areas. This is also noticeable with words ending in <er> such as tenner. Traditionally, the Manchester area was known for glottal reinforcement of the consonants /k/, /p/ and /t/, similar to modern speech in the north-east of England.

John C. Wells observed the accents of Leeds and Manchester. He found them to be similar despite the historic divide between the two sides of the Pennines. His proposed criteria for distinguishing the two are that Mancunians avoid Ng-coalescence, so singer rhymes with finger /s??/ and king, ring, sing, etc. all end with a hard sound, and also that Leeds residents employ "Yorkshire assimilation", by which voiced consonants change into voiceless consonants in words such as Bradford /?bratf?d/, subcommittee /spk?mt/ and frogspawn /frkspn/.

The Mancunian dialect may have originally developed from the old Lancastrian dialects and could have been affected by the vast influx of immigrants introduced to the city during the Industrial Revolution, when the cities of Salford and Manchester became a port due to the building of the Manchester Ship Canal. Immigrants moved to the city for work opportunities from many parts of Europe, most notably Ireland.

b) Liverpool (Scouse)

The Liverpool accent, known as Scouse colloquially, is quite different from the accent of surrounding Lancashire. This is because Liverpool has had many immigrants in recent centuries, particularly of Irish people. Irish influences on Scouse speech include the pronunciation of unstressed 'my' as 'me', and the pronunciation of 'th' sounds like 't' or 'd' (although they remain distinct as dental /t/ /d/). Other features include the pronunciation of non-initial /k/ as [x], and the pronunciation of 'r' as a tap /?/.


Scouse is notable in some circumstances for a fast, highly accented manner of speech, with a range of rising and falling tones not typical of most of northern England.

Irish influences include the pronunciation of the name of the letter "H" as /het/ and the 2nd Person plural (you) as 'youse/yous/use' /juz/.

There are variations on the Scouse accent, with the south side of the city adopting a softer, lyrical tone, and the north a rougher, more gritty accent. Those differences, though not universal, can be seen in the pronunciation of the vowels.

Words such as 'book' and 'cook', for example, can be pronounced as 'boo-k' or 'bewk' and 'koo-k'. This is true to other towns from the midlands, northern England and Scotland. Oddly enough words such as 'took' and 'look', unlike some other accents in northern towns, revert to the type and are pronounced 'tuck' and 'luck'. Not all Liverpudlians are brought up to speak with this variation but this does not make it any less Scouse.

The use of a long /u?/ in such words was once used across the whole of Britain, but is now confined to the more traditional accents of Northern England and Scotland.

RP English


[?] as in 'book' [u?]

[?] as in 'cook' [u?]

The Scouse accent of the early 21st century is markedly different in certain respects from that of earlier decades. The Liverpool accent of the 1950s and before was more a Lancashire-Irish hybrid. But since then, as with most accents and dialects, Scouse has been subject to phonemic evolution and change. Over the last few decades the accent is no longer a melange but has started to develop further. One could compare the way George Harrison and John Lennon spoke in the old Beatles films such as A Hard Day's Night with modern Scouse speakers such as Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Harrison pronounced the word 'fair' more like the standard English 'fur' - as Cilla Black does still. This is a pure Lancashire trait but modern Scousers do it the other way round pronouncing 'fur' like 'fair'. Huge changes have taken place in Scouse vowels, which show astonishing length and exaggeration at times in words like 'read' but conversely shorter than standard in a word like 'sleep'. A final 'er' is a sound whilst pronounced 'schwa' in surrounding Lancashire and Cheshire is emphasised strongly as the 'e' in 'pet' /p?t/. In a strong Scouse accent, the phoneme /k/ in all positions of a word except the beginning can be realised as /x/ or sometimes /kx/.

Even if Irish accents are rhotic, meaning that they pronounce /r/ at the beginning as well as at the end of a syllable, Scouse is a non-rhotic accent, pronouncing /r/ only at the beginning of a syllable and between vowels, but not at the end of a syllable.

The use of the glottal stop as an allophone of /t/ can occur in various positions, including after a stressed syllable. This is called T-glottalisation and is particularly common amongst the younger speakers of the Scouse accent. /t/ may also be flapped intervocalically. /t/ and /d/ are often pronounced similarly to the fricatives /s/ and /z/.

The loss of dental fricatives, /?/ and /?/, was commonly attributed as being present due to Irish English influence. They were realised as /d/ and /t/ respectively. However, in the younger generation, this feature is being outnumbered by those who realise them as a labiodental fricatives.

? /?/ becomes /f/ in all environments. [???k] becomes [f??k] for "think."

? /?/ becomes /v/ in all environments except word-initially, in which case it becomes /d/. [d???] becomes [d?v?] for "dither"; [???] becomes [d??] for "though."

The use of me instead of my was also attributed to Irish English influence: for example, "That's me book you got there" for "That's my book you got there" An exception occurs when "my" is emphasised: for example, "That's my book you got there" (and not his).

Other Scouse features include:

? The use of 'giz' instead of 'give us'.

? The use of the term 'made up' to portray the feeling of happiness or joy in something. For example, 'I'm made up I didn't go out last night'.

? The term 'sound' is used in many ways. It is used as a positive adjective such as 'it was sound' meaning it was good. It is used to answer questions of our wellbeing, such as 'I'm sound' in reply to 'How are you?' The term can also be used in negative circumstances to affirm a type of indifference such as 'I'm dumping you'. The reply 'sound' in this case translates to 'yeah fine', 'ok', 'I'm fine about it', 'no problem' etc.

? [k] pronounced as [x] at the ends of some words.

c) Yorkshire

The Yorkshire dialect refers to the varieties of English used in the Northern England historic county of Yorkshire. Those varieties are often referred to asBroad Yorkshire or Tyke. The dialect has roots in older languages such as Old English and Old Norse; it should not be confused with modern slang. TheYorkshire Dialect Society exists to promote use of the dialect in both humour and in serious linguistics; there is also an East Riding Dialect Society


Some features of Yorkshire pronunciation are general features of northern English accents. Many of them are listed in the northern English accents section on the English English page. For example, Yorkshire speakers have short [a] in words like bath, grass, and chance as opposed to the long [??] of Received Pronunciation (RP). Yorkshire speakers tend to have no contrast between /?/ /?/, making pairs of words like put and putt homophones, both pronounced as the former with /?/.

Most Yorkshire accents are non-rhotic, but rhotic accents do exist in some areas that border with Lancashire. Parts of the East Riding had rhotic accents traditionally, but this is now highly recessive.

Other features of pronunciation include the following:

Vowel table

The table below shows the main vowels used in phonological key words in the Yorkshire cities of Hull and Sheffield. Sheffield has an extra phoneme than Hull, as it has a GOAT-GOAL split.


? Words like city and many are pronounced with a final [] although in the Sheffield area, it is more likely to be [].

? It is increasingly common for the words none, one, once, nothing and a few other STRUT words with an o in the spelling to be pronounced with /?/ rather than the traditional. Petyt noted in 1985 that the word love was pronounced /l?v/ in Huddersfield, which was very unusual.

? Several Yorkshire accents have the GOAT-GOAL split, in which GOAT takes a monophthong and GOAL takes a diphthong. This is evident in several placenames in the Huddersfield area that have lost the phonetic [l] yet are still pronounced with a diphthong: for example, Golcar [k?], Holmfirth [hmf??] and the river Colne [kn].

? In some areas, especially in the southern half of Yorkshire, there is a tendency to pronounce the phoneme /a/ (as in mouth) as a monophthong [a], often represented as "ah", hence "dahn" fordown, "sahth" for south. In these areas, the words out and art may be indistinguishable. In the northern fringes of Yorkshire, such as Whitby, there is an older pronunciation, /u/, which is also still used in Scotland and written as "doon".

? Words such as car, far, art, park, etc. have an [a] sound, except in the few rhotic areas of Yorkshire.

? The phoneme /a/ (as in prize) may become a monophthong, or [a]. For example, five becomes [fav], prize becomes [praz]. This does not occur before voiceless consonants, so "prize" takes[a] whereas "price" takes /a/. This is largely confined to East Yorkshire, specifically in the areas surrounding and including Hull.

? Many Yorkshire accents have an extra vowel phoneme compared with other accents such as RP, pronounced as a diphthong, used in words with eigh in the spelling, such as eight and weight, which is then pronounced differently from wait. See wait-weight merger vowels. Some words with igh in the spelling, like night, can be pronounced with /i/ (as in fleece) instead of /a/ (as in price).

? In West Riding dialect, the word right can also be pronounced with the same [ee] as meet, similar to an RP pronunciation of sweet. The word write is usually pronounced as in RP, however. Fightcan also be pronounced to rhyme with weight.

? Another group of words where may turn up in some accents is in words with ea in the spelling derived from a Middle English // lengthened by Middle English open syllable lengthening, such aseat, meat and speak. In some accents, the three words meet, meat and team, which all have the same vowel /i/ in RP, may have three different vowels, [i], and [?] respectively.

? The vowel in words like face, space, and taste (in RP a diphthong [e]) is usually pronounced either as a diphthong /e?/ or as a monophthong /e/. Words with ake at the end may be pronounced with // (as in dress), as in tek, mek, and sek for take, make, and sake. The traditional Yorkshire pronunciations are tak, mak, and sak but are now considered archaic.

? Words with the RP vowel /o?/, as in goat, may have a variety of different sounds. In traditional accents, diphthongs including [oi], [u], [?], and [u?] are used, and, in south Yorkshire particularly, words such as coal and hole may rhyme with coil. Other common sounds include a long back monophthong and, in a recent trend, a fronted monophthong (which can sound close to the vowel of RP nurse). The latter is said to originate amongst females in Hull; it has developed only in the last decade, yet it has now spread as far as Bradford. (Watt and Tillotson 2001)

? A feature particular to Sheffield and the surrounding towns is the disyllabic pronunciations of "no" and "nowt" as [ne.] and [ne.t].

? In the "broadest" speech, the old long /u?/ in words such as book, cook, and look can still be heard. This is more likely to be heard the farther west in Yorkshire, and it is fairly widespread inLancashire.

? In both the West Riding and in the city of York, the vowel /u?/, as in goose, can be realised as a diphthong [u].

? The West Riding, to the south of Leeds and Bradford shares one feature with much of the east of England. Plural and past participle endings that are pronounced /z/ and /d/ (with the vowel of kit) in RP may be pronounced with a schwa, /?/ (with the vowel of fur). As those accents are mostly non-rhotic, that means that badges can sound like of badgers and the boxes can sound like boxers.

? In Hull, Middlesbrough, and other parts of the east coast, the sound in word, heard, nurse, etc. is pronounced in the same way as in square, dare, etc., with an extended /e?/ sound (e.g. imagine elongating the vowel part of wed to sound word).

? In the Barnsley area, there are some words where an /a/ becomes an /e/. For example, have is pronounced 'ev and master and is pronounced mester. Note that in the former example, h dropping occurs, as is usual here.

? In some areas of South Yorkshire "won't" may be pronounced [wint], wain't. A more traditional Yorkshire pronunciation is [wi?nt], wian't.

? Where and there often become a diphthong [i?] leading to pronunciation as whia and thia with the a representing a schwa. This sound was once used in any mid-word ea--for example, team, head, and deaf--but this is now found only with the very oldest speakers.

? In some areas, an originally voiced consonant followed by a voiceless one can be pronounced as voiceless, as is done in Dutch and German. For example, Bradford may be pronounced as if it wereBratford, with [t] (although more likely with a glottal stop,) instead of the [d] employed in most English accents. Absolute is often pronounced as if it were apsolute, with a [p] in place of the[b].

? As with most dialects of English, middle and final [?] sound in, for example, thing, sing, and singer are often reduced to [n]. However, the Sheffield accent avoids all ng coalescence, so [?] is used in place of RP [?]. Sheffield agrees here with the speech of Liverpool, Manchester and the West Midlands, but is at odds with the rest of Yorkshire.

? As in most of England, the younger generation presents an increasing tendency to use a glottal stop for all non-initial [t] sounds, excepting those in consonant clusters. e.g. [bl] for bottle, [sa] forsat. This originates in London and parts of East Anglia, but has now spread across England so that it is common in people under 30. However, older residents of Yorkshire are more likely to replace a /t/ before a vowel with an /r/ so that "getting better" becomes "gerring berrer", "get off" becomes "gerroff", "put it down" becomes "purrit down", etc.

? A glottal stop may also be used to replace /k/ (e.g. like becomes [la??]), but this is less common.

? Sheffield pronunciation of "th" (especially where it represents /?/) tends somewhat towards [d]. This pronunciation, particularly in the second person pronouns dee and da (for thee and thou/thy), has led to Sheffielders being given the nickname "dee das" (cf. "thee tha") by people from nearby Rotherham and Barnsley. However, the pronunciation is now very rare and had already begun to die out by the time of the 1950s Survey of English Dialects.

? The swallowing of k, p, and t is associated more with the northeast of England, but it can be heard in the Barnsley area also

d) Middlesbrough area

The accents for Middlesbrough and the surrounding towns are sometimes grouped with Yorkshire and sometimes grouped with the North-East of England, for they share characteristics with both. As this urban area grew in the early 20th century, there are fewer dialect words that date back to older forms of English; Teesside speak is the sort of modern dialect that Peter Trudgill identified in his "The Dialects of England". There is a Lower Tees Dialect group A recent study found that most people from Middlesbrough do not consider their accent to be "Yorkshire", but that they are less hostile to being grouped with Yorkshire than to being grouped with the Geordie accent. Some examples of traits that are shared with [most parts of] Yorkshire include:

? H-dropping.

? An /a/ sound in words such as start, car, park, etc.

? In common with the east coast of Yorkshire, words such as bird, first, nurse, etc. have an [] sound. It is difficult to represent this using the alphabet, but could be written bare-d, fare-st, nare-ss. [This vowel sound also occurs in Liverpool and Birkenhead].

Examples of traits shared with the North-East include:

? Absence of definite article reduction.

? Glottal stops for /k/, /p/ and /t/ can all occur.

The vowel in "goat" is an /o?/ sound, as is found in both Durham and rural North Yorkshire. In common with this area of the country, Middlesbrough is a non-rhotic accent.

e) Lancashire

Lancashire dialect and accent (Lanky) refers to the vernacular speech in Lancashire, one of the counties of England. Simon Elmes' book Talking for Britainsaid that Lancashire dialect is now much less common than it once was, but it is not yet extinct. As the county encompassed what are now Greater Manchester, Merseyside and part of Cumbria until 1974, the accents found in these areas are also covered by this article. The historic dialects have received some academic interest, most notably the two-part A grammar of the dialect of the Bolton area by Graham Shorrocks

Within historic Lancashire are dialects belonging to two groups of English dialects: West Midland in the south and Northern in the north. The boundary represented originally the boundary between Mercia and Northumbria and in modern times has tended to move further north. The dialects of south Lancashire have been much affected by the development of large urban areas centred on Liverpool and Manchester.

There is also some evidence of Scandinavian influence - possibly linked to the medieval Norse settlements of West Lancashire and neighbouring Wirral Peninsula in Cheshire. For example - the Lancastrian dialect word 'skrike' (meaning to cry out, to weep or shriek - definition from Crosby (2000)) is found in other places such as Lowland Scotland. Sources link this word to the Old Norse skrika- meaning scream


Older dialect has some other vowel shifts: for example, speak would be said with a /e/ sound, to rhyme with R.P. break; words ending in -ought (e.g. brought, thought) would rhyme with oat. These pronunciations are now extremely rare but still used in the Preston area.

Grammatical and phonological features

? Definite article reduction. The is shortened to t or glottalled.

? Rhoticity is a key feature of a Lancashire accent. The closer that one gets to Manchester and Liverpool, rhoticity dies out. Northwards it seems to die out somewhere between Preston andLancaster.

? In some words with RP /?/, a sound more like may be used, for example, "hole" is pronounced [hl] "hoil".

? Some areas have the nurse-square merger: for example, Bolton, St. Helens, Widnes and Wigan. Traditionally, both nurse and square would be said with // but the Scouse-like // can also be heard.

? In areas that border Yorkshire, it is more likely for there, where, swear, etc. to be pronounced with /?/, to rhyme with "here".

? Words that end -ight often are pronounced /i/. For example light, night, right are pronounced /lit/, /nit/, /rit/.Some areas pronounce fight and right with an /ei/ vowel -- a split that is also found in the West Riding of Yorkshire.

? An oo in words such as book, look, hook can be pronounced with /u?/. This is a feature of Early Modern English, and is not unique to Lancashire dialect.

? The third person feminine (she) appears to be rendered as "'er" (her) but is in fact an Old English relic which dialect poets of the 19th century would render as Oo - the pronunciation is in fact aschaw (that is, the er in better = "er's a funny un" = she is a funny one/a little strange.

? In the past "open" would have become "oppen", "spoken" becomes "spokken", "broken" becomes "brokken", etc. but these are now uncommon amongst younger generations. They are still fairly common in West Yorkshire.

? Traditionally, a /t/ was replaced with an /r/; for example, "I'm gerring berrer", "a lorra laughs". Amongst the younger generation, it is much more common to replace /t/ with a glottal stop [?].

? Words such as cold and old are pronounced cowd and owd (e.g.: owd mon = old man)

? Rather than a mixed use of was and were such as occurs in Standard English, Lancashire dialects tend to use only one of the words and employ it in all cases. The west coast of Lancashire always uses was, the rest of the county always using were.

? Certain words ending in -ool drop the l. School therefore becomes skoo" and fool becomes foo. eg: th'art a foo - you are a fool.

? Use of a /z/ sound for an /s/ as in bus /b?z/ for example in Darwen or even as far south as Oldham, Wigan and Leigh.

? The word self is reduced to sen or sel, depending on the part of Lancashire.

? Make and take normally become meck and teck. In older dialect, parts of north and east Lancashire used mack and tack.

? A marker of a traditional Lancashire accent is the frequent replacement of /a/ with /o/. For example, land became lond and man became mon. This is now considered to be old-fashioned.

? As noted above the second person familiar (tha) is used by older speakers to the extent that they will (correctly) inflect the verb. Th'art an owd mon = Thou art/you are an old man, th'as(t) gone owt = thou hast/you have gone out). Also amongst some older speakers a distinction is (or rather was) made between the familiar tha and yo/yer for other circumstances. Even rarer is the (again correct) use of the imperfect subjunctive ending for tha for example: if tha wert owd, tha'dst know = if thou wert/if you were old, thou wouldst/you would know.

It must be noted that for speakers of the Lancashire dialect the accent/dialect from even a neighbouring town is perceived as different as for example Cockney and a Somerset accent. Thus many of those who live in Bury pronounce the town name as Burri yet speakers in some of the neighbouring towns would say Berry. To assume, therefore, that all Lancastrians strongly roll the r (in fact none of them do; that's just a non-rhotic speaker's way of trying to describe rhoticity) as did Gracie Fields (her having a typical Rochdale accent) would be greeted with the same derision as might be visited on those North American actors who assume all English speakers are Cockneys. Older speakers of South Lancashire, for example, could place a person with a remarkable degree of accuracy, with the distinctive accents of Wigan, Bolton, Leigh, Chorley, Westhoughton and Atherton having their own sometimes subtle (but often not) differences in pronunciation.

Several dialect words are also used. Traditional Lancashire dialect often related to the traditional industries of the area, and these words became redundant when those industries disappeared. There are, however, words that relate to everyday life that are still in common use. Words that are popularly associated with Lancashire include "gradely" for excellent and "harping (on)" for talking in a mindless manner. The word "lunch", now in worldwide usage, actually originates from Lancashire. The term "moggy" a popular colloquial term for a cat in many parts of the country, means a mouse or insect in many parts of Lancashire, notably in the regions surrounding Wigan and Ormskirk. If older dialect speaking residents of these areas are asked what a 'moggy' is, they will say 'owt smo' an' wick ', i.e. anything small and quick. In the same districts, cheese is often referred to as 'moggy meyght' i.e. 'moggy meat', or in other words, food for mice. Many etymological authorities believe that cats were originally referred to as 'moggy catchers' and the term was abbreviated over time. The word 'maiden' for 'clothes horse' is now used even by people who consider themselves too "proper" to use dialect.

f) Cumbria

The Cumbrian dialect is a local English dialect spoken in Cumbria in northern England, not to be confused with the extinct Celtic language Cumbric that used to be spoken in Cumbria. As in any county, there is a gradual drift in accent towards its neighbours. Barrow-in-Furness (within the historic boundaries of Lancashire) has a similar accent to much of Lancashire whilst the northern parts of Cumbria have a more North-East English sound to them. Whilst clearly being an English accent approximately between Lancashire and Geordie it shares much vocabulary with Scots.

Accent and pronunciation

Cumbria is a large area with several relatively isolated districts, so there is quite a large variation in accent, especially between north and south or the coastal towns. There are some uniform features that should be taken into account when pronouncing dialect words.

When certain vowels are followed by the glides /?/ or /l/, an epenthetic schwa [?] is often pronounced between them, creating two distinct syllables:

? 'feel' > [fi?l]; 'fear' > [fi?]

? 'fool' > [fu?l]; 'moor' > [mu?]

? 'fail' > [f?l]

? 'file' > [fa?l]; 'fire' > [fa?]

The pronunciation of moor and poor is a traditional feature of Received Pronunciation but is now associated with some old-fashioned speakers. It is generally more common in the north of England than in the south. The words cure, pure, sure may be pronounced with a triphthong [?u?].

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