British Accents

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      I think somewhere around junction 25 of the M1, the word "the" stops at services and goes, "I can go no further! I'm going to stay here with my friends nothing and something"

      Michael Mcintyre, describing the Yorkshire accent

      "A lorry pranged the banger in the boot, but I 'aven't the ready to get it out of the ricky. So d'you fancy takin' the tube to the pictures, or rollin' round to the local for a pint?"


      'ello, Guv. You want me to describe British Accents 'ere, you do?

      As any Brit will tell you, there is no such thing as a "British" accent. It's especially odd when the speaker uses both the phrases "British accent" and "Scottish accent", given Scotland is in Britain (and your average Scot would not look kindly on an implication that Scotland is part of England). Presumably they mean "English", but England also has a ridiculous number of very markedly different accents -- in some areas people can tell which village one comes from by listening to them speak -- and each has its own distinct stereotype. These stereotypes are sadly hard to escape on British TV. American TV largely avoids this by not distinguishing between different regions of Britain at all.

      Recently, scientists have postulated that the further back into the history of Western Civilization you travel, the more likely you are to have spoken with a British Accent.

      These stereotypes even extend beyond characters that are not supposed to be British. Despite the fact that the dialect should be irrelevant, the cast of the show Rome is entirely British (and Irish), and their actual accents are used to reflect their characters' positions in the social hierarchy of Ancient Rome: the lower class soldiers usually speak with rougher accents, while the noblemen speak with more refined accents. Taken to logical extremes in Life of Brian (in which everyone in Jerusalem has various London accents, with a smattering of Welsh ones) when the title character is arrested by Roman centurions. The head Centurion proclaims "You're fu'in' nicked, me old beauty!"

      Movie Romans in general tend to have British accents. We can probably blame Shakespeare. It is almost impossible to find an example of Jesus Christ being depicted without an English voice too, even though the man was a Palestinian Jew.

      (Of course, Tropes Are Not Bad, and performance, casting, and character are more important than accuracy with accents. Nevertheless, any number of people from the UK are such extreme sticklers about this trope as to fly off the handle upon hearing the very words "British accent" without pausing to consider that the user of the words was probably using an umbrella term because specifics were unnecessary in the context of what he/she was saying, instead of claiming or implying that in all of Britain there is only one accent. That does not, however, excuse writers or actors their carelessness if they don't invoke the trope deliberately and for a reason.)

      In what may be the finest British Accents twist of all time, author Bernard Cornwell revised the Backstory of the character Sharpe to reflect Sean Bean's portrayal. The books had established that Sharpe was from London, but Bean is from Sheffield and has a distinct Northern accent; Cornwell established in later novels that while Sharpe had indeed been born in London, he had been raised in an orphanage in the North. *cough*

      English people in American movies tend to have one of two accents: Received pronunciation (traditionally associated with the upper-class: "I say, old chap, let's go and have tea and scones. Pip pip!") and Cockney (the accent of East London: "Cor blimey guv'na! Gi' 's a pint!"). Okay, also occasionally pirate ("Aaar! Shiver me timbers!") -- in other words, the "country" accent.

      The phrase most likely to give away someone trying to bluff any British accent is "Bloody Hell" and, especially its more gutterspeak variant, "Bloody 'ell". This phrase may be the most flexible in British English and can be used to express a staggering array of emotions, dependant on context, syllable stress, syllable length, volume, whether teeth are gritted or not, the social class of the speaker and so on. Everything from mild surprise to absolute outrage, from slight irritation to a overwhelming sense of awe can be expressed with these two simple words. It is often the first "swear" that children learn, each region has its own subtle variants and there really isn't an "RP" way to use it. Americans seeking to bluff their way in British English should never, ever attempt to use the dropped-H version. They will be busted in a flash (another excellent shibboleth is "water", which packs a lot of tricky phonemic differences into a small package). And that's before the Australian variants come into play.

      Speaking of which, many Americans seem to believe the Australian accent is a British accent, as demonstrated by the use of a "fake British accent" by Ross Geller in Friends which is in fact far closer to an Australian accent. As Australia and Britain are on opposite sides of the world, this is not the case, but keep in mind that many Americans literally cannot tell the difference. Most people are far better at distinguishing their own accent from other accents than they are at distinguishing two accents they don't hear often, and the average American may not be exposed to a non-American accent until well into adulthood.

      One of the big differences between the accents most commonly heard in England and those most common in North America is something called rhoticity: in a nutshell, American and Canadian accents are rhotic (except New England accents; Southern American accents used to often have this trait but the modern-day Southern United States is almost completely rhotic) and British accents (except Scottish, Northern Irish and the West Country) are non-rhotic.[1] People with non-rhotic accents do not pronounce the letter "r" as a consonant when it ends a word or syllable, while those with rhotic accents pronounce it in almost all situations. (Instead, a syllable-final "r" is pronounced as an alteration of the vowel: thus bat, Bart, bet, Bert etc. all have different vowels. The typical non-rhotic accent has roughly twice as many vowel phonemes as the typical rhotic accent.)

      This can sometimes create confusion in written communication. For instance, an English writer on an online linguistics forum described children's attempts to pronounce letters as sounding like "ar, ber, cer, der", which confused the North Americans on the forum. It turned out that the kids were saying "ah, buh, kuh, duh"; the English writer added an "r" to every syllable because she expected the "uh" sound to end in the letter "r". In addition, this has influenced the spelling of foreign names and words such as Park[2], Parcheesi[3], Burma/Myanmar[4] and char siu[5]. Scottish accents, however, are rhotic: the Proclaimers song "Throw the R Away" is a protest against Scottish people being advised to adopt English accents and the anti-Scottish prejudice that gave rise to this advice. Though is should be noted that not all English accents are non-rhotic and there are some Brits who would find that offensive.

      Contrast American Accents. See also Fake Brit, Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping. See also the Mid-Atlantic Accent, an artificial accent used in the theatre and during the Golden Age of Hollywood, which blends some American elements with British elements.

      Oh, and for our non-British friends, the second of the page quotes can be translated as...


      A truck rear-ended my jalopy, but I don't have the money to get it out of the garage. So do you want to use the London subway to go to the movie theater, or visit the neighborhood bar/restaurant for a beer?



      Black Country (Yam Yam)

      Often confused with the Brummie accent (Black Country residents can be resentful of this). Preserves many traits of Middle English and Early Modern English. Therefore, can be difficult for people who are unfamiliar with it to understand. Doesn't appear on TV much. If you were wondering, the Black Country is a loosely-defined area in the English West Midlands, to the north and west of Birmingham and to the south and east of Wolverhampton, so-called because the area was heavily polluted during the Industrial Revolution.

      • Simon Templeman's character in Just Shoot Me had a Black Country accent. Many American viewers complained that it was an unrealistic attempt at a British accent, probably because when Black Country(wo)men speak in full on "yam yam", it sounds like they're making it up. Even if they're long-term friends of yours. There's some element to it that makes it sound like they're about to crack a joke and go back to their "real" voice any second, in all but the most sombre situations.
      • Anita and Me is probably the best fictional example of a Black Country accent, possibly the TV production of Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit as well.
      • "Doris Day" "No, she didn't" ... only funny if you're familiar with Black Country Dialect.

      Birmingham (Brummie)

      The Birmingham accent. Sounds whiny and unattractive to many other Brits, so is often given to whiny or nerdy characters, e.g. Barry from Auf Wiedersehen, Pet. Interestingly, a poll has revealed that this is the least attractive British accent (and this editor is a Brummie, so no bias). Weirdly, a scientific (somewhat) study has found that the accent is the funniest and the best to use when telling jokes. It should also be noted that many people from Birmingham insist that what the rest of the country considers to be a Birmingham accent is in fact a Dudley accent.

      • Ozzy Osbourne, whose singing in his natural accent was cited as a reason Black Sabbath's music sounded much darker than most music at the time. Sometimes practically unintelligible, as lampshaded in a recent phone network ad. Though his (non-singing) unintelligible voice is most likely due to him being so brain-fried.
      • Particularly Jeremy Clarkson's take on it, or Barry himself (his actor isn't even from the Midlands, for crying out loud -- it's FAKE Brummie). Neither sound anything more than a shallow mocking of the actual one; typically far too flat/monotone, and the vowels are all off -- nowhere near mangled enough! They manage a reasonably good Midlands accent, but it's probably more off towards Bromsgrove or somewhere (JC's take on it -- and probably Barry too -- is seemingly based on that of British Leyland workers being interviewed while on strike at the Longbridge plant, which is about as close to Bromsgrove as it is to the major urban/innercity areas of Birmingham, with the classier areas of Edgbaston et al in-between). That, or it's actually a Staffs/Stoke/Coventry twang (all of them also on the M6...). Dudley is more "Black Country", fiercely distinct in itself. Real Birmingham-area accents, as found on people such as Carl Chinn or (ugh) Tony Butler, are far more animated, sing-song (though not quite as much as Geoorrwwdie or Liverpoo'ool), and occasionally hard to decipher when the words stray too far from RP either in pronunciation or straight-out dialect. I'll retract that when I hear either of them give a reasonable reading of "I wanted to go home, but they wouldn't let me take my bike on the bus". Also, and my out-of-region friends go to great lengths to point this out, there's an overemphasis on G's when we try to speke proper instead of slurrin' it.
      • Oddly enough, these assumptions can be averted outside of England if tropers of a certain age think back to all of the Duran Duran interviews they remember and recollect how Nick Rhodes and John Taylor spoke. Both of these people are born-and-bred Brummies with definite and distinct Birmingham accents, yet they drove girls (and gay men) crazy throughout the world, in part because of how they spoke. John Taylor was even one of the biggest teen idols of the '80s, with millions of teen girls plastering his posters all over their bedroom walls and hanging onto every one of the words he spoke. Nick and John -- two childhood friends making "Brummie" sound sexy around the world since 1981.
      • Timothy Spall has perfected this accent, and most appearances of his play off British stereotypes of a working class Brummie "twonk" (idiot), particularly his appearance in the Red Dwarf episode "Back To Reality" as the video game engineer.
      • JRR Tolkien, who grew up in Birmingham. Surviving recordings reveal that he spoke with an upper-class Brummie accent, a kind of cross between the Midlands accent and Oxford-style RP. Ian McKellen's line delivery as Gandalf was consciously modeled after Tolkien's voice.
      • Despite the above mention of Jeremy Clarkson, Top Gear has a better star for representing the Brummie accent: Richard Hammond actually is from Birmingham, and it becomes obvious whenever he talks.

      East London (Cockney)

      Seth MacFarlane: "Cockney British, back then, really wanted you to make sure that they knew what you were talking about."

      A character with an East London accent will very often be involved in some form of criminality. They can either be London Gangsters (such as anything played by Vinnie Jones) or a Loveable Rogue. The more Cockney the accent, the more likely to be the latter. Double that if he uses impenetrable Cockney rhyming slang. However, there are exceptions to the rule- Badger from Firefly is a bad Cockney and Ray Winstone has played good (although often aggressive) East Londoners on a number of occasions.


      RP's crass, vulgar cousin (or if you prefer, Cockney's gentrified, suburban relative). Originally spoken in southeastern England on the estuary of the Thames, but increasingly co-opted by people with higher levels of income and education who view Received Pronunciation as too stuffy. As a result, it (or a slightly more refined variant thereof) has increasingly become the default "newscaster" accent of media based in London. Even the Queen's speech has drifted noticeably in this direction over the past few decades. Sounds somewhat similar to RP, but incorporates a number of elements traditionally associated with Cockney and other southeastern dialects (notably, pronouncing "t" as a glottal stop, fronting "th" to "f" and "v" and pronouncing a hard "g" in "-ing" words). Stereotype: Originally, stupid and poor, or otherwise middle-class and trying to come across as "earthy"; possibly really annoying. (See half of Catherine Tate's characters or the classic "Essex Girl" archetype.) Has risen in profile in recent years, to the point where it's become more-or-less "neutral", though some of its old associations remain.

      • Michael Caine approximates this in most of his roles. It was much stronger in his youth: his performance in Sleuth was one of the first times an actor had used the accent in a film.
      • David Tennant, a native Scot, adopted the Estuary accent for his portrayal of the Doctor.
      • South East England, specifically the county of Kent, has its own, fading, country dialect (Captain Jack Sparrow has it in modified form); a cousin of the 'Mummerset' below. In the Medway towns area another accent is discernable; sometimes called 'Chav' (derived from a Romani word for 'child') or locally 'Chathamese' (from the town of Chatham, where it's worse excesses are spoken). It includes local words like 'chaw' for 'to take', and is itself replaced by another accent on the Isle of Sheppey in the Medway estuary.


      Sounds a bit like Yorkshire (a lot like it to most), but rolls the "r"s more depending on where in the country one comes from - Eastern and Pennine areas more prone to rhotic accents like Jane Horrocks in Absolutely Fabulous or most of the Northern comic characters played by Stephen Fry. South Lancashire is not a rhotic accent - see St Helens comedian, Johnny Vegas. Overall - vowels also tend to be a bit more rounded (especially noticeable in the 'oo' sound in words like 'book', which in Lancastrian comes out as more like 'boo-wuk'). Cricket fans can contrast the commentary of Geoffrey Boycott (Yorkshire) and David Lloyd (Lancashire). But for the love of god don't get them mixed up.

      Liverpool (Scouse)

      The stereotype of criminal activity is fairly common, often involving stealing car wheels or stereos. Also often portrayed as Roman Catholic as in Carla Lane eighties sitcoms like Bread or serious movies like Antonia Bird's Priest or the work of Terence Davies. Hence, the city has one of the highest percentages of Roman Catholicism in the country - it was often the first port of call for Irish immigrants particularly from the early 19th century onwards. The connection between Ireland is still strong today - as Dublin has often been used for movie locations set in Liverpool and vice versa. Scousers are portrayed as fun-loving and highly likely to be the comic relief (see Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, which in itself came from Harry Enfield sketch - which also came from the soap opera Brookside). The Bill is notable for the fact that four out of five Liverpool-originating regular characters have ended up dying violent deaths. Also, you know, The Beatles.

      "Scouse" has changed a lot over the years, adding to the confusion. The word now can refer to a whole range of accents. What used to be closer to a Midlands accent has gotten higher in pitch, faster in delivery, and a touch more nasal. For example, if the Beatles said "That's not fair," fair comes out as "fur." If a contemporary Liverpudlian said, "She's wearing a fur coat," fur comes out as "fair."

      • Dave Lister in Red Dwarf is a Scouser, as is Craig Charles.
      • Just mentioning "The Beatles" would've sufficed for 99.9% percent of people reading this... except they weren't deeply Scouse from any point they were well known. Ringo Starr was maybe the strongest (and the one with the most voice work on the record, handily) Liverpool-area accent. But choose Lister as a closer example of Merseysider scouse. (Or if the quiet invasion continues, anywhere along the North Wales A55 corridor... eh? EH?)
        • Cam down, cam down.
        • The Beatles are also a big exception to your average Scousers in that you can understand them. Even Red Dwarf‍'‍s Lister is much more eloquent.
        • In fact, the Beatle with the strongest Scouse accent was Pete Best.
      • Wakko Warner has a Liverpool-ish accent despite being ostensibly American, because Wakko's voice actor, Jess Harnell, modeled the character's voice after Ringo Starr.
      • One of the vultures from Disney's The Jungle Book had a heavy Liverpudlian accent. Of course, he was also a send-up of Ringo. The vultures were designed based on the Beatles, and Disney even wanted the Fab Four to voice them.
      • Another rather famous Liverpudlian is Anne Robinson of the BBC's consumer affairs show Watchdog and subsequently (and much more infamously) The Weakest Link, although her accent is effectively indistinguishable from RP.
      • Melanie C from the Spice Girls has a very distinct Scouse accent, considering her upbringing in the Merseyside region.

      Manchester (Manchestrians)

      Associated with ITV Granada and Coronation Street, along with general mouthiness.

      • A very similar accent is Christopher Eccleston "Lots of planets have a North!" Eccleston's Ninth Doctor from Doctor Who.
      • A very notable example is DCI Gene Hunt from Life On Mars and Ashes to Ashes.
      • Practically the entire cast (except for the main character's first girlfriend, who is from Wales) of the drug-dealing sitcom Ideal. It was made and set in Manchester. It displays quite a range of Mancunian accents - from very broad to very subtle.
      • Almost the entire cast of Waterloo Road, as the school is set near Manchester... again a variety of accents, including a few outside accents.
        • Though most of the local characters speak Mancunian, the typical Rochdale accent in real life is a variety of East Lancashire (see above) and can sometimes be picked up in background chatter.
      • The South Manchester accent is rarely seen in media; it sounds upper (or at least middle) class to most other Mancunians by association because a lot of the more upscale districts of Manchester are south of the city, and has more of a Midlands sound to it than a typical Manchester accent.
        • Probably the nearest you'll get to South Mancunian accents in TV drama is Emily Bishop in Coronation Street; her actress comes from a south west suburb of Greater Manchester.
      • Shameless is another series set in Manchester and includes many authentic accents within the cast.

      The Midlands

      Because it's in the middle of the country there's nothing hugely outstanding about the Midlands Drawl. They have extremely sloppy vowels and the tendency to drawl every syllable while bringing words to a full close. Words are usually pronounced, if not properly, then at least fully. For example, no Midlander would be caught dead missing the 'g' off an 'ing'.

      Most Midlanders have lower tones of voices than many other regions, adding to the effect of the drawl, and manage to speak most single-syllable words as multi-syllable words, for the sole purpose of dragging them out.

      North East

      Mainly Geordie, the urban accent of Newcastle-upon-Tyne (and by extension other regions of Northumbria, but local prejudice will mean they hate you for not knowing the tiny, local variations). Ranges from "distinctive" to "nearly incomprehensible to non-Geordies", which is often played for laughs (as in the case of Alan Partridge's friend Michael). Associated with macho, beer-drinking, sexist guys, especially thanks to the comic strip Andy Capp (actually from Hartlepool), the adult comic Viz and the show Auf Wiedersehen, Pet and easy young women who don't wear coats (or much else) when out clubbing even in the middle of winter. Don't call someone from Sunderland a Geordie (similarly, don't call anyone from North of the Tyne a Mackem, as the two groups have quite the rivalry between them - You Have Been Warned). Another famous North-Eastern accent belongs to Marcus "Day 42 in the Big Brother house" Bentley, who often exaggerates his natural accent for effect. Ant and Dec are also Geordies.

      • Geordies are depicted as constantly using the word "like" as punctuation, like, and they only have one vowel, man. "Æ"...
      • When the Boat Comes In set in Northumberland, features a title song sung in the local dialect and enough use of the word "bairns" (children) to make it inadvisable to use as part of a Drinking Game.
      • Reality TV show judge and hair product peddler Cheryl Cole is the most famous Geordie at the moment. After her comes those cheeky Geordie homoerotic goblins, Ant and Dec.
      • QI had an episode "Hodge-Podge", where, after Northumberland comic Ross Noble speculated on what circular-triangle confection might look like, Phil Jupitus noted that the best three words of the English language are "Rolo-Toblerone Combo" as spoken by one with the Geordian accent.

      Received Pronunciation (Posh/Educated/BBC/Queen's English/RP/Oxford)

      Nobles, intellectuals, snobs, the Battle Butler, older people who went to public school or worked for the BBC, and/or foreigners substituting this for their own native accent. Although ironically, in Real Life, there are three variants of RP, two of which are less affected. The BBC used to insist on everyone speaking RP, but this is no longer the case: some of the old announcers still use the accent, though. The closest thing to an American equivalent is Midwestern (the area around Chicago), which is used in American media as "standard American English".

      • In US media this accent is most commonly heard emanating from an Evil Brit, Although not always -- Alfred Pennyworth of Batman used to speak in RP.
      • On Canadian TV, the male character speaking in RP has at least a 50% chance of being gay.
      • This is Rowan Atkinson's accent. At least for general usage. Atkinson also does a very good Geordie accent (mostly used on older NTNON sketches, on account of being from County Durham.
      • Chap-Hop artists Professor Elemental and Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer have made this accent popular of late.
      • 'Oxford' RP is reasonably distinguishable from 'standard' RP, at least for those of us who live in Oxford, anyway. Might have been caused by a slight mixing with the 'Rose Hill'/'Jericho' accent.
        • To clarify: Jericho is a small area of Oxford, which used to be a bit of a slum (and it's still not got a great reputation). Many inhabitants moved to Rose Hill (another small area of Oxford) and brought their accent (and unfortunately, the reputation) with them. The accent might indicate someone being lower-class, rough or criminal.
        • For an example, Lyra in Northern Lights associates with people from the Jericho area, and Philip Pullman transcribes some of the way she therefore speaks into her dialogue. Note the use of 'ent' for 'haven't' and 'isn't', particularly: 'That ent right!' or 'I ent got it!'.
      • Yeah, it's not just towns that have distinct accents. It's areas of towns too.


      Also called "Mummerset". Stock accent for a broadly defined region stretching from Cornwall through to Somerset and old Wessex. Plenty of "oo-ar", while chewing a stalk of hay (stalk, not stack); associated with intellectual challenge, broad ignorance and depthless cunning, and usually used as comic relief.

      • In Somerset can be found explantory T=shirts with local expressions: 'Where zat to? Yer tizz' ('Where's that? Here it is.') or proper job (pronounced 'pruppar jaab') 'that's been done right'. Familiarity is marked by the expression 'my love'.
      • The exception being Phil Harding, an archaeologist who appears on the long-running "Time Team" archaeology programme, speaks with a broad Somerset accent, looks like a poacher, has a worrying affection for digging very, very big holes (he's the one most likely to call for the JCB) and knows pretty much all there is to know about ancient pottery. But he * still* gets used as comic relief.
      • More accurate programs set in this area will contrast working class Mummerset with upper-middle class RP. Associated with much fearful pointing at planes, shunning of cameras in fear of their soul, etc.
        • Careful observation will reveal a "Yokel Belt" stretching from Cornwall to Norfolk, with a generally common sort of drawl but of course the usual regional variation. Ooh-arr is Somerset and Dorset for example. Cornish tends to be more piratical sounding. Softer consonants to the east (suff-uhk vs zummerzet).
      • We tend to see a great deal of inaccuracy when it comes to the portrayal of eastern rural accents in the media, particularly the Norfolk accent. The ITV production, "Kingdom", for instance, is a classic example of this. Accents tend to end up somewhere a great deal nearer to Somerset. But then, it's possible that the only people who would notice are the ones who actually speak the accent, and are therefore the only portion of the audience who it annoys.
      • There's a good reason for Cornish being "Pirate sounding"; the connection was sledgehammered into the public consciousness by Robert Newton's depiction of Long John Silver (originally not even "Captain", mind) in the 1950 film version of Treasure Island. He refrained from putting on a more classy RP acting accent and used his native Kernow drawl instead to make the character a little more low-class and exotic... arrr, an' so 'igh profyle a depikshon 'twere, Pirates 'ave shared what be 'til then a rougher brarnch o' the classic farrmurrs' (an' tin-miners') acsent to this 'ere day. It would at least have been a fairly genuine sailor's accent however, given the geography and economy of the region; for a softer, related, half-Welsh example there's the Bristolian (sorry, Bristowyan) voice, as heard from such, er, greats as Justin Lee Collins. Also consider that the major sea-trade region of Britain during the age of pirates was the Bristol Channel coast, it isn't too surprising that the accent became associated with pirates. There is also a reputation for this accent to belong to people who simultaneously viewed as the height of country bumpkinism but also surprising cunning to take advantage of this reputation. See Wiltshire resident's historic Moonraker tag, from a probably apocryphal story where some west country smugglers were retrieving some goods stashed in a pond, and when caught by an official claimed to be trying to rake in a cheese -- the moon's reflection -- something he believed because of the region (and accent's) rep.
        • Estimates for the regional origin of pirates actually put the plurality (note, not the majority) as being Cornish. This presumably because of the amount of press-ganging which went on around Plymouth and the tendency of press-ganged sailors to desert or mutiny and take up as pirates. Certainly the consensus seems to be that the majority were from the West Country (the Cornish peninsula from Bristol westwards).
      • Accurate programs and the Archers The Archers.
      • Hagrid has a West Country Funetik Aksent in the Harry Potter series.
      • Wheatley in Portal 2 has a West Country accent, which fits with his character as being well-meaning but rather dim.
      • Most of the cast of Hot Fuzz displays the accent, being that the movie is set in a fictional West Country town. Star Simon Pegg was born in Gloucester and director Edgar Wright grew up in Wells, Somerset.

      Yorkshire (Tyke)

      Rural with a twist of lime and 256-bit encryption. Noticeably archaic ("thee" and "thou", somewhat altered, are still used in conversation in rural areas) with broadly shifted vowels compared to Received Pronunciation, Yorkshire dialect is heavily influenced in both vocabulary and phonemes by (of all things) Norwegian, thanks to invading Vikings long ago. As a result, it can, at its worst, be absolutely impenetrable to non-Brits, to the point of not sounding like English at all. Americans know this accent best from the "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch made famous by Monty Python (though it actually came from At Last The 1948 Show). For a sample, see the county song, On Ilkla moor Baht'at, though despite the aforementioned sketch the accent is most often associated with blunt speaking, with hard headed and intractable speakers nonetheless being unfailingly honest.

      • The number one source for the Yorkshire accent on American television: All Creatures Great and Small. The vets don't have Yorkshire accents (they all speak RP or Estuary despite the fact that the real James Herriot was actually from Glasgow), but most of the farmers have a Yorkshire accent.
      • Number two being Sean Bean in Sharpe - despite Cockney origins of the character in the books! 'Red Riding' also shows some examples of generic screen-Yaaaarkshire accents too.
      • Dickon (Andrew Knott) in the 1993 film version of The Secret Garden has an at-times impenetrable Yorkshire accent.
      • If a character uses the word "reight/reet", "owt" or "nowt" (for "right", "anything" and "nothing"--the last two come from "aught" and "naught"), and greets people by deadpanning "Now then", you're in Yorkshire. Unless he's Fred in Coronation Street. T' is also a good giveaway, although if the Ts are actually pronounced the actor has probably never been farther north than Portsmouth. The Yorkshire T' is actually a glottal stop, sounding more like adding a T sound to the end of the preceding word: "I've been down t'pit" is pronounced "I've been downt pit".
      • Brett Domino is an example of a Yorkshire (Leeds) accent on YouTube.
      • 3-year old Millen gives you the gist of it.
        • Those Americans who watch old Last of the Summer Wine episodes will recognize this as the accent of "Compo" Semmonite.
        • The alternative greeting is, "'Ey up," as used by certain Essex-born persons who identify as Northern in an attempt to avoid any remaining doubt in their accent. Or your choice of "Ey up pet" or "Ey up duck", if you're being familiar. "Ey up me duck" is also known to be a common greeting from those of Derbyshire and the East Midlands. "Chuck" is nice one too. Which means "chicken". It's not clear what poultry has to do with any of this.
      • It's essentially a true to life Running Gag that a Yorkshireman can go to the next town and be instantly recognised and identified (and often ridiculed) for not being local. Huddersfield, Wakefield, Barnsley, Pontefract and Leeds all have their own dialects and accents that are immediately identifiable to someone who lives in any of them (and sometimes there are even dialect differences within different areas of those same cities), despite them all not being more than 30 miles from one another.

      Nordunn Oireland

      Stroke Country offers three main flavours of the local accent:

      Some natives of counties of the Irish Republic which border NI have accents that sound recognisably more "Northern" than "Southern", because they're in the geographically north part of the island.

      One of the most notable sounds in the Northern Irish accent is "ar." People speak into their jaws, again audible when the "ow" sound is used. So when you next meet a Northern Irish person ask them to say "An hour in the power shower", and it comes out as "An arr in the par shar". Also, "ow" is pronounced more like "oi", leading to Hilarity Ensues when it comes to "how now brown cow". This sound is particularly distinctive because it tends to be retained by Northern Irish people even when otherwise they are toning down their accent (such as newsreaders presenting national news): in the middle of an otherwise RP-sounding sentence we will be told that the Prime Minister has announced that interests rates will come "doyn". Although again, this is not the same all over Northern Ireland. People from (London)Derry do tend to pronounce power - "Pau-yer". Also see "k-yar" for "car", "say-vin" for "seven" and "fill-um" for "film".

      The key to speaking Irish Sea Coast Norn Irn (which is a mix of the above, Scottish and 'rural') - talk through your nose and drop the middle out of every word, or drop half the syllables. Spaces are optional. "I went to see the doctor" becomes "Aahwentuh se thu doc'er". You can see English people's brains stop dead as they try to decipher it. Trying to talk to anyone from Pakistan, Africa or Jamaica is a lost cause.

      Long story short - we have the same amount of regional variations in accent, in an area smaller than Wales, as in the rest of the UK.

      Stereotype: Inevitably, Western Terrorists taking random elements from the Villain tropebook.

      Fictional examples:

      Real life examples:

      • Ian Paisley - "criminality" used to be one of his favourite words.
      • James Nesbitt of Murphy's Law fame, who commonly subverts the NI accent stereotype by regularly playing good guys.
      • Nadine Coyle of Girls Aloud has an exaggerated Derry accent.
      • As mentioned above, Damian McGinty, who rose to fame after winning The Glee Project, and now plays Rory Flanagan on Glee, has a Derry accent.



      One that seems to appear far more in the US, especially cartoons. Often kilt-wearing. See Groundskeeper Willie in The Simpsons, The Scotsman in Samurai Jack, Scotty in Star Trek, and Duff Killigan in Kim Possible. There is no such thing as a "Scottish" accent either, of course; this usually has elements of various Lowland dialects. Stereotypes include a bad temper, a dislike of the English or being generally miserable and miserly. The latter is present in the Headcases caricature of Gordon Brown.

      • The miserly portrayal of Mr. Brown really isn't accurate (warning -- contains Nightmare Fuel in the form of Alastair Darling).
      • There's as much a generic "Scots" accent as there is an English or American (...or French, German etc) one. Put together a native each from Glasgie and Edinbrarh (i.e. Glasgow and Edinburgh) and see how much common dialectic ground there is between them.
        • In a Glaswegian accent, the names of the cities would be 'Glesca' and 'Embrah'.
      • It may be barely recognisable to natives of Scotland.
        • Probably related to Mike Myers's London-ish English in Austin Powers being about as accurate, and not that much different (nor either that far removed from his everyday Canadian lilt)? Also...
        • This may be because the American film depiction of the Scottish accent is actually closer to Welsh.


      Characters with strong Glasgow accents are usually violent alcoholics. Even if the programme is set in Glasgow, the character with the strongest accent will be a violent alcoholic. In fact, the Violent Glaswegian is a trope in its own right on British Telly. Lighter Glasgow accents usually imply much the same as Liverpool.

      • Jamie from The Thick of It and In the Loop is often cited as Glaswegian but actor Paul Higgins is from Wishaw in Lanarkshire. Malcolm Tucker is very much an educated Weegie though - as is Armando Iannucci.
        • Wishaw might as well be in Glasgow as far as accents go. Same with Paisley and Renfrew though it's not hard to spot the differences.
      • For a Real Life example look for any recording of interviews or panels with Grant Morrison.
      • Kelvinside - The posh bit of Glasgow: A Kelvinside accent is very clipped, and mangles vowels (most notably turning "a" into "e"). Usually only used by female characters and indicates extreme snobbishness. A common gag is for a character to drop her Kelvinside accent when annoyed, implying it's a pure affectation. A similar Edinburgh accent is Morningside.
        • The main female characters in Rab C. Nesbitt, Mary and Ella, are prone to adopting Kelvinside voices which invariably drop when confronting their husbands - whose Govan accent remains constant in the series. Such is the impenetrable nature of the Govan accent, many viewers used Ceefax subtitles to understand what was actually being said.
      • And to listen to some East End of Glasgow accents watch some Mister Glasgow. And Glasgow Television.

      North East Scotland

      A somewhat deep accent though not as abrasive as Glaswegian or traditional Scottish, usually associated with farming, fishing and 'teuchters'. Has its own distinct dialect ("Fit like, min?", "Caumie doon!" "Awa 'n' bile yer heid, pal.") Put someone from Aberdeen, Fraserburgh or Elgin in a room with a Glaswegian and they'll probably have some difficulty understanding each other.

      • How they speak up in Moray, Aberdeenshire and some parts of the Highlands is so distinctive that it barely resembles the common image of Scottish dialect/accent.
      • Even more distinct than you'd think; each of those three phrases originate from different regions, Fit Like is a Fife expression, Caumie Down sounds like a very Highlands accent and Awa 'n' bile yer heid is mostly a Dundee expression. Another Dundee expression would be "It's a braw, bricht, moonlicht nicht tonich, awa 'n' get me twa pehs and bridies, a plen ane an an ingin ane an aw."
      • The Aberdonian dialect is frequently referred to as "Doric". Doric may be the only language/dialect in which an entire sentence (Fit fit fits on fit fit?) can be made from two words (it meant "Which shoe fits on which foot?").

      West Coast Highlander

      Only ever seen in specifically Scottish programmes. A lilting accent which often barely pronounces consonants. Almost Sounds Irish to the untrained ear. Usually implies much the same as Rural or Welsh (or for that matter a devout Presbyterian who will never do anything on "t' S-habbath").


      Often used for comic relief, but more in a Funny Foreigner-style "they have their own ways" manner. In terms of sound, some have compared it to a light Indian accent (of all things). When it comes to impersonating the accent for comic effect, it's quite common for an attempt at one to slip into the other; this, of course, says more about impersonation than it does about the many (fine, noble, steeped in history etcetera etcetera) qualities of the actual accents in question. Often described as "singsong" or "musical", partly because of the tonal aspect and partly because Wales is associated with singing in the popular imagination.

      • There doesn't seem to be much acknowledgement that there's a distinct difference between north and south Welsh, either. There's a hundred miles of mountain between each coast, or between Cardiff and Swansea and the Valleys...
      • As with Irish, the grammar and usage of the Welsh language tends to influence Welsh English, even if its speakers do not speak Welsh itself. This mostly manifests itself through Verbal Tics such as ending sentences with it "is it?" and "look you" (basically the equivalent of " know?)

      Stereotype: Liking sheep. A lot. This comes from the fact that up until fairly recently, there were more sheep in Wales than people.

      Fictional examples:

      • Absolutely - Frank Hovis, Denzil and Gwyneth and spin-off characters Barry Welsh and Hugh Pugh (all featuring Welsh comedian John Sparkes)
      • Gavin and Stacey - the Wests, Nessa (tidy)
      • Hi-De-Hi - Gladys Pugh
      • Pobol y Cwm - Set in Southwest Wales, where they love to mention which characters are "gogs" (from gogleddol, "Northern")
      • Torchwood - Gwen, Ianto, Rhys, and their family members.
      • The redone Dalish Elves in Dragon Age 2 all have Welsh accents.
      • "Sketch" (real name: Lucy) in the second season of Skins.

      Real life examples:

      • Rob Brydon
      • Catherine Zeta Jones
      • Many bands and musicians, such as the Super Furry Animals, Manic Street Preachers, Catatonia, Tom Jones...

      The 'ole rest...

      Mixed accents

      More common in Britain than other parts of the world, due to the close proximity different regions have to each other. Usually happens when either you have two parents with different accents or when the parents are from one region but they moved to a different one when the child was still very young. Often leads to many questions along the lines of "So where are you from?" which the poor mixer will have to deal with everywhere they go. In these days of multiculturalism, this can lead to gems such as Pakistani-Glaswegian or Italian-Aberdonian. A very likely risk of attending university, there is only so long you can live with a welshman, a scouser and a brummie before your accent does whacky things.

      Hong Kong

      Special mention goes to Hong Kong, a former colony of the UK. Most of the citizens speak English with a mostly British and Cantonese accent.


      Gibraltarians have a unique accent that no other Europeans have. They also sometimes refer to themselves as Llanitos.

      Notable uses of British accents:

      Anime & Manga

      • In the English translation of the Excel Saga manga, Sumiyoshi's lines are in the Geordie accent.
      • The American dub of Sailor Moon has Luna speak Received Pronunciation.
      • Anime characters who sound inexplicably British are all over the place in dubs. Like Bakura. The idea is to make these characters sound polite and well educated, the stereotypical British accent being the closest the English-speaking world has to "ultra-polite Japanese". It's similar to how the stereotypical Southern Accent is used to portray The Idiot From Osaka in some English Dubs.
        • In the case of Ayeka from Tenchi Muyo!, it's intended to portray the particularly archaic and upper-class form of Japanese that she uses in the original.
      • In the English dub of Pokémon, all princesses, their butlers and maids speak in British accents. And terrible ones.
      • In the English dub of Black Butler all of the characters have some form of British accent, mainly because, well it's set in Britain of course.
      • Of course, England in the English dub of Axis Powers Hetalia has one. It's an exaggerated RP accent to go with his British Stuffiness. However, when he gets drunk, he will lapse into a Cockney accent and start ranting at the nearest person, who is usually America.
      • Greg Ayres does a fairly well-done RP accent as Negi Springfield, the child-teacher protagonist in the anime incarnations of Mahou Sensei Negima. As well done as it may be, though, he's actually doing the wrong accent because both Ken Akamatsu and an early volume of the manga stated that Negi was originally from Wales.


      • Actual Brit Peter Sellers' 1979 album Sellers Market has a nearly 16-minute sketch, "The Compleat Guide to Accents of The British Isles", based around working in as many regions and associated stereotypes as possible: London Cockney, Received Pronunciation, Suffolk, Birmingham (as a joke, the speaker is actually Indian, something which is becoming increasingly the case in Real Life...), Yorkshire, Scotland, Glasgow, Liverpool, Wales, and the West Country. In addition, there's a Fake American narrator, and fake Germans, Italians, and Frenchmen in a montage early on.
      • Have I Got News for You's Paul Merton has two British accents to be used at any point when impersonating someone he doesn't know: An exaggerated Cockney accent (IE: "Oi've been down the Colliadah!), or an incredibly upper class RP accent, accompanied usually by a mimed tea cup (IE: "I'm a ferret, dontcha know!").
      • Eddie Izzard's routine "Definite Article" features a bit where he goes on about Pavlov and his dogs. For whatever reason, he decides to do Pavlov as an expatriate Welshman in Russia.


      • Trainspotting delivers a film entirely steeped in various Scottish accents from the relatively "posh" Edinburgh dialect to the angry "Weegie" alcoholic. Justified in that the film takes place in Edinburgh for the most part. The characters even lampshade other Scottish accents such as Sean Connery.
      • Johnny Depp's accent in Pirates of the Caribbean is noticeably British; it's difficult to determine what kind of British, however.
        • East Anglia, shading towards Estuary, and based on Kent-born Keith Richards.
      • Inexplicably, Tai Lung of Kung Fu Panda, although it is likely due to the Rule of Cool factor. Then again, considering all of the main cast except two (Monkey and Viper) are straight-out American, and only Oogway and Mr. Ping are voiced by genuine Chinese actors, this shouldn't be surprising.
        • Tai Lung was voiced by Ian McShane, using his normal voice. He is perhaps best known for playing Lovejoy.
      • Virtually all of the evil characters in Star Wars speak with an Evil Brit accent -- with the noticeable exception of Darth Vader. And Obi-Wan Kenobi, who is decidedly good but speaks with a British accent anyway.
        • Well, he was played by real Brits Sir Alec Guinness (Eps. 4-6) and Ewan McGregor(1-3)
          • Of course, McGregor is Scottish and proud of it.
            • And since Scotland is a part of Great Britain, that puts it squarely in this trope.
        • A meta-example: The main reasons why David Prowse didn't do Darth Vader's voice was a) he had a tenor speaking voice, and b) he had a West Country accent, which is quite possibly the least intimidating British accent there is.
          • "Ee, the force is strong in this 'un!"
          • Also, while James Earl Jones' own accent is a mish-mash due to his moving from Mississippi to Michigan as Vader he adopts a very proper, enunciated if undefined accent.
        • Natives of the planet Coruscant (the cultural center of the galaxy) tend to speak with a British accent.
        • Grand Moff Tarkin's homeworld was Eriadu, which was not a Core World but aspired to be.
        • Queen Amidala (when speaking formally, as to the Trade League) attempts (and, sadly, fails) to use the Queen's English: 'Ai cannot condown ai corse ev ection that will led us intew wah.' It's possibly one of the most disastrous attempts at an English accent on film - only Dick Van Dyke is worse.
        • It is understood in the EU that this world's RP accent is the Star Wars Universe's Coruscant accent. The Empire probably encourages the use of the Coruscant accent throughout the military.[6]
        • Admiral Motti, the prissy guy who insults Vader's belief in the Force, hasn't got a Bitish accent. He's played by American Richard LeParmentier.
        • The original trilogy of films encountered some criticism for being Anglo-centric, although the Imperial officers like Tarkin who speak with English accents are clearly meant to be "bad guys" and the Rebel Alliance characters usually speak with American accents (granted, Obi-wan was a good guy and had a British accent, but his actor was British). The suspicion is that they tried to overcompensate for this during the Prequel Trilogy... an attempt which backfired in spectacular fashion. Instead of aliens speaking with British accents, they had borderline offensive Chinese accents (Trade Federation), a Middle-eastern accent (or Italian, depending on who you ask) for a scrap dealer (Watto), and a nails-on-chalkboard high-pitched Caribbean accent (Jar Jar Binks). Then again, bad guy Count Dooko still had a Received Pronunciation accent... because he was played by Christopher Lee!
      • Speaking of hooligans, Charlie Hunnam's antipodean-leaning cockney accent in Green Street is the worst ever English accent by an actual English person.
      • Hot Fuzz takes place in the fictional village of Sandford in The West Country; naturally, Gloucestershire accents are the norm, some so thick they require translation.
        • Sometimes in three steps: farmer to village man, village man to local cop, local cop to out-of-town cop. The village square was actually the town City centre of Wells, Somerset.
      • The Full Monty has Robert Carlyle (a Scot) playing a Sheffielder, requiring a South Yorkshire accent. Both he and the rest of the cast do a pretty good job (Mark Addy, for one, is from Yorkshire). However, as a Barnsley lad, I can tell you that it isn't a Sheffield South Yorkshire accent. Sounds more like Doncaster, actually.
      • Mary Poppins features Dick Van Dyke playing chimney sweep Bert with a notoriously exaggerated cockney accent (occasionally slipping out of it during some lines of dialogue and on the occasional sung verse). Van Dyke's accent is often ranked as one of the worst attempts at a "British" accent by an American actor, a factor acknowledged -- with good humor -- by Van Dyke on recent DVD releases of the film. (It's also why he didn't use one in the later Chitty Chitty Bang Bang even though his character's father and children all had proper British accents). One English language coach in the movie industry reported that the one thing practically every director says to her in productions with English accents is "I don't want to anyone to sound like Dick van Dyke".
      • In the Harry Potter films each member of the Weasley family has a different British accent! Ron has a bit of a cockney accent while his sister Ginny has a more posh, upper class accent.
        • Also, the Black Country accent of Smethwick-born Julie Walters, aka Molly Weasley. Or the West Midlands accent of her husband Arthur, played by Mark Williams of Bromsgrove, just outside Birmingham...
          • To be fair this is basically Truth in Television: RP (or at any rate faintly Brummised RP or EE) speakers with full-on comedy Brummie parents are far from unknown. Regional accents tend to be a lot stronger in people's parents these days as RP and EE bulldoze regional accents into nothing, especially with accents generally seen as rather undesirable like Brummie and Yam Yam. Unremitting, terminal Geordies are also rarer than they were.
        • And Luna, who lives near the Weasleys, is Irish. Rhys Ifans, who is Welsh, played Xenophilius as a Fake Irish to match Evanna Lynch's accent.
      • The 1993 film version of The Secret Garden features a wide range of accents, but most notable is Dickon's broad Yorkshire. (Oddly, his sister Martha sounds much closer to Received Pronunciation.)
      • Angelina Jolie adopts a rather convincing RP accent for her roles as Lara Croft in the Lara Croft: Tomb Raider films and again as Franky in Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow.
      • Gwyneth Paltrow pulls off surprisingly convincing Estuary English in Sliding Doors, becoming one of very few Americans indeed to successfully use the word "wanker" without sounding like an American trying to use the word "wanker". Her more RP accent in Shakespeare in Love is perhaps less surprising, but pretty decent.
      • In Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams' character adopts a generic british accent while dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire. Notable in that a British character points out that it's a generic sounding accent, and he's unable to tell where in Britain she's from. (It's mainly a form of Lowland Scots.)
      • Don Cheadle attempts a British accent in Ocean's Eleven and its sequels; it's bad. Really bad. But also intentionally.
      • In Love Actually pretty much every character has a British accent of some sort (it's set in London!). However a notable mention is Collin, who is convinced he can pick up any girl in America because of his accent. It's funny because it works (to a ridiculous degree)!
      • Lampshaded in Shooting Fish. Dan Futterman's character (an American playing an American) tries putting on a British accent while pretending to be a local workman. He drifts across several accents in the course of a few minutes, even managing to change between two or three in a single sentence, and leaves one of the marks commenting "I think one of them was Australian".
      • Twin Town is set in Swansea, and basically works as an introduction to the accents and syntax of English as spoken in South Wales.

      Fatty Lewis: You two boys behave yourselves now today now.

      • Bram Stoker's Dracula mostly has British characters played by U.S. actors while the Brit thesps get to play "continentals". Especially notable for Keanu Reeves' bizarre rendition of RP outdoing both Dick van Dyke and Natalie Portman by some distance.
      • Recall the special mention for Hong Kong? The Chuck Norris actioner Forced Vengeance showcases this briefly as Norris is given a physical by a Hong Kong doctor.

      Doctor: Right. Drop your pants, mate.



      • Usually the way Americans are exposed to Yorkshire is through The Secret Garden, as the book transliterates the housemaid Martha's Yorkshire dialect, including "thous" and "thees" ("Canna thy dress thysen?"). Until I was about 12, I thought that's how all British people who weren't rich, on the BBC, or from London spoke.
      • Similarly Bram Stoker's original Dracula contains dialogue written in phonetic approximation of a North Yorkshire accent (specifically Whitby). Much of this dialogue - written by an Irishman attempting to replicate the local turn of phrase - is especially difficult to understand when read from a modern perspective, coupled with the fact that the book is over a hundred years old and the working class Whitby dialect suggested by Stoker is effectively extinct nowadays.
        • There is a free podcasted audio version of the book produced by Librivox and read by primarily American voices. One reader's brave attempt to reproduce this Whitby accent they were most likely completely unfamiliar with has to be heard to be believed. The result sounds closer to Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonating Sean Connery impersonating a drunken pirate, and is one of the most bafflingly bad accents you will likely ever hear.
      • Redwall is absolutely packed with Funetik Aksent dialogue, mostly based on real accents. Burr aye, ee molers iz ee best known. Vermin tend to be generic pseudo-cockney/thug/piratical, or with completely fictional accents such as Wraith's Trrrilling Rrrs, though there were two in Salamandastron who spoke with a noticeable Brummie twang (especially in the audiobook) and the Big Bad characters tend to use Standard English.
        • And in the first book, the extreme accents are Lampshaded when the sparrow's dialect is treated like a foreign language.

      Live Action TV

      • In Headcases, a British political satire show (think Spitting Image in CGI and you're in the right area), David Cameron, leader of the Conservatives, is portrayed with two accents. In his press conferences, he is portrayed in a suit with a lower-class, "chummy" accent. When he returns to his house, his accent becomes much posher and he acquires a top hat and monocle (Cameron is an Old Etonian). William Hague is a permanently drunk Yorkshireman (he hails from the area and the thing references his very dubious 2001 election claim that he'd drunk 14 pints of beer a day as a teenager).
        • Note also the differences between the "public" and "private" accents of Dames Judi Dench and Helen Mirren in the same show.
      • The new series of Doctor Who is an interesting case. Christopher Eccleston's Ninth Doctor has a Salford/Manchester accent and keeps it for his role, but David Tennant (from Scotland) takes on an Estuary accent and John Simm (Lancashire) takes on a similar accent with a slightly Northern influence when portraying Time Lords. Earlier in the series' history, Sylvester McCoy's Seventh Doctor retained the actor's Scottish accent, while most other Doctors, including the latest, Matt Smith, use a variation of RP. There are various Fan Wank ideas over why the Doctor's accent changes.
        • Rose Tyler even questions the Ninth Doctor's accent after he reveals himself to be an alien.

      Rose: But you sound like you're from the north!
      The Doctor: Lots of planets have a north!

        • Karen Gillan's Amy Pond maintains a distinct Scottish lilt despite having spent most of her life in Gloucestershire - the Doctor notes that if she's kept the accent, she clearly doesn't belong there.
        • Paul McGann as the Eighth Doctor is an interesting case -- McGann, who's from Liverpool, makes a game attempt at RP, but it fades in and out. (McGann, on the DVD Commentary, chalks it up to being tired during the shoot.) In Big Finish Doctor Who, you can clearly tell that when he's being particularly emotional, his accent tends to get more Scouse. It doesn't sound so bad... at all, in fact.
        • In the episode "Smith and Jones", the line "Judoon platoon upon the Moon" was put in to torture David Tennant because it makes him struggle to quelch his Scottish accent.
      • In Battlestar Galactica, Gaius Baltar is one of the few characters with a non-American accent and normally speaks in RP. When he assumes his native Aerelon accent, he speaks in a Yorkshire accent. As Baltar explains, he grew up a farmer's son on a poor working-class planet, but always dreamed of moving to the capital planet Caprica. He got accepted to university on a scholarship, and due to his innate scientific genius and hard work he rose to become a world-renowned scientist (sort of their version of Stephen Hawking or Richard Dawkins). Always ashamed of his working-class accent, since he was 10 years old he consciously practiced to re-train his neutral speaking accent to be more refined (to the point that he has to concentrate to speak with the Yorkshire accent). Of course, what actor James Callis pointed out is that most people on Caprica do not speak with a British accent, and the exact rules of which accent come from which planet were laughably inconsistent throughout the series.
        • But then this is ruined when we are shown his father in season 4, who seems to speak in a mangled west country dialect. This could be fanwanked from being from elsewhere on the planet.
        • Mark Sheppard also uses his native London accent as Romo Lampkin. He's probably from Caprica, as he had been a student of Joseph Adama, but he could have been an immigrant from elsewhere (like Joseph Adama).
        • Additionally, Jamie Bamber suppresses his London accent in favor of an American one, to match Edward James Olmos (his character's father). Olmos wore blue contact lenses in exchange.
          • This got really annoying at scifi conventions throughout the show's run, because inevitably someone will always ask Bamber "how do you fake an American accent?". Three to four seasons into the show, this had long since stopped being amusing: if the con only has time to take the questions of ten people, one will get used up asking him about that.
      • Firefly -- Genuine London-born Mark Sheppard using a London accent as Badger.
        • Oddly enough for a show that usually uses actors' real accents, Atherton Wing (villain of the week in the episode "Shindig") has a slight American accent, despite being played by an actor born and raised in Birmingham...
      • Buffy the Vampire Slayer -- the most famous example is Spike, played by James Marsters with a very fair painful but gradually improving attempt at a Cockney/Estuary accent. During flashbacks he also uses a similarly decent RP accent. This leads to a bit of a shock when you hear him with his natural Californian accent!
        • On the other hand there's Giles, played by actual Brit Anthony Stewart Head with an RP accent (in contrast to his natural Estuary accent).
        • Drusilla's accent, and those of the British Slayers-in-training, stayed pretty awful throughout.
          • Not true -- Juliet Landau's accent as Drusilla is admittedly a bit "Cor blimey guv!" theatrical cockney, but she gets the actual pronunciations correct on the whole, unlike James Marsters who is far more hit and miss/jarring to a UK native with his accent.
      • Primeval being set in London manages to get a wide variety of British accents in there outside of the normal RP such as Abby and Connor. But the fourth and fifth seasons were filmed in Ireland so a lot of the cast are Irish actors trying to do British accents. Ruth Bradley (Emily) and Ruth Kearney (Jess) are Irish and hide their accents very well but you do get the occasional extra failing awfully and one episode (filmed in Wicklow) had a man with a passable accent but his mother had a thick Irish accent.
      • Stargate Atlantis -- Paul McGillion (Scottish parents) using a Scottish accent to play Doctor Carson Beckett.
      • The British comedy 'Allo 'Allo! is set in France, and it's presumed everyone speaks French there. When Michelle speaks English to the British airmen, it's presented as her accent changing from comedy-French to British RP. 'Now listen, chaps...'
      • In one episode of Kingdom, northerner Lyle is complaining about the Household Cavalry regiments of the British Army being exclusive to the upper class. We hear another northern accent- it's one of his working-class school mates.
      • Special 1 TV (formerly I'm On Setanta Sports) used a variety of stock British accents. The Wayne Rooney puppet has a generic Scouse accent, caller "Alex in Manchester" (a.k.a. Sir Alex Ferguson) speaks with a generic Glaswegian accent, and caller "Dave in Newcastle" (a generic Newcastle United fan) speaks Geordie.
      • The 2007 remake of Bionic Woman featured an episode in which actress Michelle Ryan, who in real life speaks with a rather posh RP accent, but who in the series adopted a midwest US accent, was allowed to revert to her natural accent for a few scenes in which Jaime Sommers had to impersonate a British woman. Needless to say, it was a pretty ham-fisted excuse for the lead actress to show off her natural accent.
      • In Sanctuary, Amanda Tapping, who normally speaks with a Canadian/Ontario accent, adopts RP for the character of Dr. Helen Magnus. Tapping almost averts the trope owing to the fact she was actually born in Essex, but she's lived in Canada since she was three and is never heard using the accent in interviews.
      • David Anders played English villains in Alias and Heroes, complete with accent. He does it so well that it often surprises people that he is from Oregon and speaks with an American accent in real life.
      • Philip Glenister, DCI Gene Hunt in the original UK version of Life On Mars and its sequel Ashes to Ashes, speaks with what is presumably intended to be a Mancunian accent, despite originating from considerably further south. His efforts to replicate an American accent for a subsequent ITV drama, Demons, however, were less successful...
        • Ashes to Ashes has an interesting mix of British Accents. You have Glenister, Dean Andrews (Ray) and Marshall Lancaster (Chris) using Mancunian; Keeley Hawes (Alex) uses her RP, which works because Alex is fairly posh; Montserrat Lombard is from London and speaks RP in real life, but uses Estuary for Shaz; and Daniel Mays (Keats) uses Estuary as well.
      • The Thick of It is a veritable smörgåsbord of British Accents, but by far the most famous is Malcolm Tucker's thick Glaswegian accent. In a nod to the real-life "Scottish Raj" in the Labour government, Olly remarks about how everyone in the Number 10 press office seems to be from Scotland (the most notable example being Jamie, Malcolm's assistant in the specials).
      • Farscape, the noted science fiction series of the early 2000s, was produced in Australia and, except for American lead actor Ben Browder and the occasional guest star, its cast was made up primarily of Australian actors. While most actors retained their Australian accents, notable exceptions were those playing "Peacekeepers" or "Sebaceans" who often (but not always) adopted some form of "British" accent, in particular the recurring villain Scorpius, played to the hilt in Evil Brit mode. On several occasions Browder's American character impersonates Peacekeepers and also has his consciousness taken over by Scorpius; in both cases, he adopts a mild RP accent.
      • Something of a Real Life example -- Mark Ballas of Dancing With the Stars is the British-born son of Corky Ballas (American, lived in the UK for years) and Shirley Ballas (British) who lives in the U.S. Most of the time in the rehearsal footage and interviews, he sounds more or less American, but sometimes he slips into a very odd, possibly Estuary British. Whether it's an affectation or he just switches isn't really clear.
      • Another Real Life example: John Barrowman of Torchwood fame has a US accent but was born and raised in Scotland. In a documentary he was shown visiting his parents, whom he speaks to in his original Scottish accent.
        • Barrowman made an effort to learn an American accent when his family relocated to America as a child because he was being bullied. He and his sister are what they refer to as "bi-dialectical" and can switch between their American and Scottish accents at will.
      • Pobol y Cwm, a Welsh-language opera sebon full of accents from all over Wales, and even the occassional Sais wandering in from England and looking around in terror.
      • Saturday Night Live: Don' You Go Rounin' Roun to Re Ro' is a can't-miss British film, if you like movies you cannot understand.
      • The BBC's 1983 adaptation of Robert Westall's The Machine Gunners provides a sound grounding in Geordie accents and pronunciation. Notable in that virtually everyone in the serial, children and adults alike, speaks with a Geordie accent. Only a few of the Grammar school teachers have RP ones.


      British rock singers frequently change their accents while singing to make themselves sound a bit more American or at least "mid-Atlantic" (much as many American singers try to sound Southern). Others will just adopt a generically "British" accent for no apparent reason. Thus singers that enthusiastically embrace their regional accents are at least somewhat noteworthy.

      • The Beatles, especially John Lennon, were fond of using exaggerated joke accents in recording sessions. From Revolver onward, they started using them in the final versions of songs as well. John Lennon managed to sneak his exaggerated Liverpudlian accent into such tracks as "The Ballad Of John And Yoko", "Maggie May" and "Polythene Pam", to name a few. An equally jokey London accent is used at the start of "Two Of Us".
      • Nick Drake's upper class English accent is audible in his singing, and his relaxed delivery is a big part of the exotic feel of his songs.
      • John Cale, formerly of the Velvet Underground, sings in his native Welsh accent. The accent is on clearest display in "The Gift" (on White Light/White Heat), where Cale is actually just reading a story written by Lou Reed over the music. People unfamiliar with Welsh accents listening to the "song" (if that is what you call it...) for the first time often ask what an Indian dude is doing on a Velvets album. The better-educated tend to have to explain that it's John Cale, and that he's from Wales....
      • Arctic Monkeys are from Sheffield (well, near Sheffield), and don't let anyone forget it.
        • Which is kind of awkward if you're from Sheffield because, being a very urban and modern area, very few of us are like that any more.
      • Lena Meyer-Landrut, the German winner of the Eurovision Song Contest 2010, sings with a Cockney accent. She blames her English teacher.
        • I can only assume her English teacher was Dick Van Dyke...
        • It's likely that she was also strongly influenced by Kate Nash, considering her overall style of music.
      • Madchester bands like The Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, The Charlatans and the like.
      • Folk music is one genre in which the singers accent is played for all it's worth. Kate Rusby, a Barnsleyite, often stresses a strong Barnsley accent in her songs. This Barnsleyite has noticed this, even though she is from Harrogate, a rather posh end of the town.
      • Both Murdoc and 2D of Gorillaz speak with cockney-ish accents, with 2D's being the stronger of the two.
        • For that matter Damon Albarn's singing voice (especially on their early work) is far more cockney sounding in his singing voice than it is in real life.
      • Shirley Manson has a powerfully Scottish accent, but sounds practically American when she sings...mostly. Listen to "I Think I'm Paranoid" and pay attention to how she pronounces "paranoid." She sounds like a cartoon character.
      • Sophie Ellis-Bextor keeps her strong London accent when singing.
      • The Proclaimers are fairly well known in Scotland for singing in a broad Scots accent, and Glasvegas (although less well known) have an even more audible, very Glaswegian accent.
        • Biffy Clyro also sing in a slight Scottish accent, though it's not nearly as obvious as the other two examples.
      • Kate Nash doesn't attempt to disguise her accent, which has an interesting effect on her cover of the aforementioned Arctic Monkeys' "Fluorescent Adolescent."
        • For this matter, Lily Allen sounds exactly like a typical North Londoner right down to the way she enunciates her lyrics.
        • And The Twang do this incredibly well as well. they're brummies.
      • Maxïmo Park's Paul Smith has a very clear North-East England[7] accent he sings with.
      • Terrorvision are from Bradford, but for their first album Tony Wright tried to suppress his accent and adopt a fairly neutral transatlantic accent. From the second album onwards he started using more of his natural Yorkshire drawl.
      • Joe Strummer was very well spoken in real life but sang with a cockney accent.
      • Many Americans were surprised when Adele accepted her multiple awards at the 2012 Grammys and she spoke in a Cockney accent. As one person on Twitter commented: "Singing voice of an angel, speaking voice of a chimney sweep."

      Tabletop Games

      • The Orks of Warhammer 40,000 use a very mangled version of Cockney. Then again, they're pretty much warmongering suicidal pub-crawling football hooligan looters IN SPACE.
        • When attacking the Ork base in Dawn of War: Dark Crusade, one of the massed Orkish voices is quite clearly shouting "WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!!!" in RP.
        • Oddly enough, the Eldar seem to have extremely mangled accents from Barrow.
        • The Eldar troops seem mostly to speak with received pronunciation, except for the Warlock in the Soulstorm Eldar stronghold cutscenes who for some reason has a distinctly northern accent.


      • George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion centres around a bet that a guy can pass a Cockney flower girl off as a duchess by among other things poshing up her accent.
      • A Very Potter Musical has Draco as a Fake Brit (obviously fake), and its sequel adds his father Lucius (less obviously fake, but it's not great) and Seamus Finnegan, who, despite being Irish in the books and films, gets a (very very poor) cockney accent.

      Video Games

      • Recent iterations of popular fighting games such as Street Fighter, Tekken and the Soul Series have taken the trouble to voice the British characters with their appropriate accents. Wealthy boxer Dudley from Street Fighter speaks with an RP accent, as does MI 6 femme fatale, Cammy White. As an aristocrat, Ivy Valentine from the Soul Series speaks with a heightened RP accent, as befits her status. She is also the only character in the English dub to be voiced with their native accent - Spaniard Cervantes and Frenchman Raphael both have American accents. Steve Fox from Tekken is a curious example -- he's had both an Estuary, almost RP accent in one of his appearances and more of a cockney accent in another, the latter probably being more appropriate, given his character. In Marvel vs. Capcom 3, Scottish succubus Morrigan Aensland is now (finally) voiced with a (General) Scottish accent in the English dub (despite her voice actress being Welsh), while Rocket Raccoon in Ultimate speaks with a Cockney accent despite his voice actor, Greg Ellis, being from Lancashire.
      • Fable: Lionhead Studios is British, so that's not surprising. Black & White also uses mostly British accent (although your evil side and most of the leaders of other tribes in the sequel use others). Bullfrog, the developer that preceded Lionhead, was also British, hence the accents in Dungeon Keeper and their other games.
      • Male Voice 1 for the Boss in Saints Row 2 has a Mockney accent that wavers between authentic (the VA is British) and perplexingly loose. Many of the Britishisms are correctly used, but oddly takes the American "ass" over the British "arse".
      • Star Fox Adventures features a wide variety of different British accents. Makes sense, because the developers of this specific game were British, but notable because it contrasts with the other games in the series, which were developed in Japan and in dubbed into English in the US.
      • Professor Layton has...well, Layton. Layton speaks RP English and his sidekick, Luke, speaks with a Cockney accent. Interestingly, Luke has a different voice actor in the US version of the game to the UK version. This is because the original American voice actor voiced Luke with a butchered approximation of what "an English accent" sounds like. As such, you can pick out a smattering of cockney, estuary, RP, and... what can only be described as... Australian? Whatever it is, it went down so badly with English test audiences, the character was re-dubbed, this time with using an English voice actor, who played Luke as a straight-up cockney. Interestingly enough, if you visit a forum in which this is discussed, the majority of American fans say they prefer the original, butchered accent.
      • DOSH! Just take a look at the Killing Floor article.
      • A few are dotted inexplicably around Fallout: New Vegas. Especially notable is one, and only one, of the Great Khans, whose father is an NCR citizen and has no accent.
      • Seeing as Ferelden is a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to pre-Norman England, a lot of characters in Dragon Age have some sort of British accent (notable exceptions include dwarves and Dalish in the first game). The second game continues this trend, despite the fact that the primary setting is no longer Ferelden, and actually increases the Britishness with the addition of Welsh accents to the Dalish.
      • Yangus from Dragon Quest VIII talks exactly like the introductory sentence of this page, with "guv" being used whenever he calls The Hero.
      • In Jeff Wayne's War of the Worlds (which is, after all, set in Britain) the Officer and a Gentleman who acts as your adjutant in the human campaign has a standard RP accent, and Richard Burton is of course the same as he was in the rock opera, while the human units have a mixture of English- and Scottish-sounding voice sets.
      • Xenoblade Chronicles was dubbed in Britain rather than America, and all the characters display British accents as a result. Notably, most of them speak with working-class accents (especially Rein), whereas the standard 'received pronunciation' does not appear to exist. The first speaking Mechon you meet speaks in very distinct Cockney, which may make it somewhat difficult to be menaced by him.
      • Dark Souls and Demon's Souls are notable in that they are voiced by British actors, even in their native Japan.

      Web Original

      • At the Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe, there are a number of students from the U.K. Several are busy faking a Received Pronunciation or Home Counties accent, with occasional slippage when they're surprised. Some, like Stunner (from Liverpool) don't fake their accents. Few of the Americans know the diff.
      • "Wallace House Sings English Folksongs claims to use 16 different dialects (Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Kent, Lancashire, Dorsetshire, Cumberland, Somersetshire, Gloucestershire, London, Westmoreland, Norfolk, Northumberland, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Derbyshire, Devonshire). House, born on Gerunsey and taken to Canada at age 9, was a professor of Folklore in New York when the record was made (1952), and I remember when it was first issued as being the first examples I had heard of most of these dialects. Being a born and bred USian I can't swear to the accuracy. It's certainly the first time I ever heard "On Ilkley Moor Bar t'At"!
      • This hilarious Let's Play of Super Mario 64. "I can't believe someone this English exists."

      Web Comics

      • In Sluggy Freelance's "Lara Kroft-Macaroni-And-Cheese" Arc, the titular character character speaks in a Cockney accent. The Tomb Raider character who is being spoofed speaks in RP.
      • Turn Signals on a Land Raider has Corporal Cavendish, a on-and-off character who appears when models have to be proxied due to breakage...

      Western Animation

      • Wakko Warner in Animaniacs speaks with a Liverpool-ish accent, despite the fact that his siblings don't. He was intended to sound like Ringo Starr.
        • What the heck was Pinky's accent, though?
          • A sort of crap Estuary/Cockney effort.
      • Anti-Cosmo on The Fairly OddParents talks with a British accent, simply to make him sound more intelligent than his fairy counterpart.
      • The Lobe from Freakazoid!, amazingly with a non-standard accent for a US show.
        • That's because he's voiced by the very English David Warner.
      • Pip from South Park speaks with a deliberately muddled cross between Cockney and RP. British guest characters usually use one or the other as well.
      • Considering the fact the the Island of Sodor is located between the Isle of Man and England, in the more recent episodes, all of the humans were given British accents, but also half of the mechanical characters (Gordon, James, Spencer, and Diesel 10 were given English accents, and Emily, the Scottish twins, Murdoch, and Duncan were given Scottish accents) as well.

      All The Tropes

      • This trope falls victim to itself, as many non-Brits (Americans, mostly) confuse "British" with "English". Mention of the other four nationalities (Scottish, Welsh, and Northern Irish) prevents it from being a complete facepalm. Not to mention actually mistaking a Scotsman, Welshman or Irishman for "English" can lead to... unpleasantness.[8]
      1. See the Wikipedia article for rhotic and non-rhotic accents for more information on rhoticity and which regions of the United States and United Kingdom have rhotic or non-rhotic accents.
      2. from Korean surname Pak/Bak
      3. from Hindi pachisi
      4. from Burmese Bama/Myanma
      5. from Cantonese chaa siu
      6. Real-world militaries often break recruits of their accents in favor of a neutral or military-specific speech pattern. Until recently, many units were organized locally, and thus all the men of a given unit had the same accent. If an enemy read a soldier's accent correctly, they might be able to infer the identity of his unit; combined with other information, this could give away the unit's location.
      7. Don't confuse Newcastle and Middlesborough, they don't take it well
      8. In other words, "Never call me fucking English again!"