In this fun accent training video, you will learn about UK regional accents. Voice over artist Perdita Lawton gives us tips for speaking with some of the most interesting and distinctive UK regional accents. Follow along with the lesson and you will speak English with an accent from Essex, Yorkshire, Manchester, Somerset or Wales!
UK Regional Accents are Highly Diverse
For a relatively small landmass, the British Isles has a wide variety of different accents. Most students of English are only familiar with the two most famous accents, which are the posh English accent and Cockney English (the traditional accent of Londoners). But in fact, there are 43 distinct UK accents. All of these have characteristic pronunciations, rhythm and cadence (music).
How to Do a UK regional Accent
Watch the video below to see examples of UK regional accents. Notice that each accent has its own distinctive music or cadence. We are experimenting with these accents just for fun, which is why the characters we have chosen to represent each accent are stereotypical and a little exaggerated.
Qualities of Different UK Regional Accents
Yorkshire accent – the lyrical sound of the Yorkshire accent requires a tight mouth. The up-and-down cadence of the accent can be figuratively said to reflect the Yorkshire Dales (landscape of valleys).
Welsh accent from The Valleys – make sure that when you try the Welsh accent you have a ‘sing-song’ tone of voice. Like the Yorkshire accent, the Welsh accent goes up-and-down but this time it is even more exaggerated. This could be because the landscape is even more hilly than in Yorkshire.
Somerset accent – the Somerset countryside has a pastoral quality in that it looks like The Shires of the Lord of the Rings. The landscape here is very soft and pleasing, and gives you a sense of being unspoilt for centuries. Perhaps this is why the Somerset accent is so soft. To do this accent, say the stereotypical phrase ‘combine harvester’ while keeping your pronunciation soft.
Essex accent – the Essex accent is lyrical, fast and funny. The sounds of the accent require a wide mouth and a nasal quality. The people of Essex are stereotypically bold, brash and flash. The people of Essex stand out in a crowd, and so does their accent!
Manchester accent – The stereotypical Mancunian accent is influenced by the band Oasis, who were famous for having a bad attitude and not smiling very much. You can see this quality in our stereotypical Mancunian accent character: notice that the jaw is very tense and there is a slight frown on the face. Life on the city streets is hard; we can hear and see this in the face when doing a Manchester accent.
Extend Your Learning
▶︎ Check out Perdita Lawton’s website for information about her work as a voice over artist.
▶︎ Learn another UK regional accent: How to do an Estuary English Accent (London accent).
Professional English: 12 Words You Pronounce Incorrectly.
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