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The truth about the ‘British’ accent

British Accent
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When it comes to British accents, there’s one difference that distinguishes the Brits from everyone else. It’s that people in the UK never use the phrase ‘British accent.’

The reason they don’t is because there’s no such thing as a British accent. There are instead hundreds of varieties in the UK. You may think from films that there is only one type of UK voice – Received Pronunciation, or RP. Apart from where RP is used, generally in the south of the UK, ways of speaking vary widely between regions.

Firstly, Welsh and Scottish accents are very different to English ones. Then, within those countries, there are many differences, depending on where you live. In the north of England, for example, many vowels are pronounced differently than they are in the south. As you discovered two weeks ago, in the north, people pronounce ‘bath’ as /bæƟ/. In Received Pronunciation it’s /ba:Ɵ/, but people from the south who don’t use RP tend to pronounce ‘bath’ as /  

If you’re learning Received Pronunciation, then you may find it less easy to understand voices from other parts of the UK. If you’re studying for the OET, you’ll hear a wide variety of accents in the listening part of the test. As these are dialogues created for the test, they should be easier to understand than those out in the field. If you want to recognise different English accents, try watching British TV dramas or films set in different areas of the UK. If they’re hard to understand, use subtitles to help you.

Here are some unique ways people in various parts of Britain pronounce the name of their area.











London (non-RP)


London (RP)


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Stephanie Lam
About the author

Stephanie Lam is a writer, journalist, and English teacher. She specialises in writing fabulous words for the wellbeing and health industries.

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