July 31, 2012 Butterfly Diary Team

Some of my Favorite English Accents (Learning English in the UK Series)

Some of the best aspects of traveling ?for me at any rate? are the accents. Watching the Olympics got me thinking quite a bit about a country I lived in?and loved. I would have given anything to stay for a few more years in London.

As a musician, I’ve loved any trace of lilt, Cockney and Welsh?although I am still very hard pressed to identify and of these accents without some guidance. While I was living in London, I tried to learn the English accents as best I could, with little success. There really are a ton of accents across the board (if you’re studying English in the UK, your best bet would be to travel to as many parts of the country as possible to soak up the variations so you’ll become a pro), and here are some of my favorites (most of my English accent knowledge is based on movies and pop culture):

The “Beatles” Accent: One of my favorite accents is the Liverpool accent. Chalk it up to listening to the Beatles, or just listening to Paul McCartney speak. Formally known as “Scouse,” it is highly distinctive and has little in common with the accent of the surrounding counties. Some Scouse speakers will use “me” instead of “my” (e.g. give me five bob back” instead of “give my five bob back”) and make frequent use of the “e” sound.

My Fair Lady: Eliza Doolittle’s accent in what may be my all-time favorite movie is just pure perfection Cockney. A Cockney accent is typically spoken by people born in a certain area (the sound of Bow bells in the city of London, according to Wikipedia) and frequent references have been made in literary works including Chaucer.

John Cleese in “Fawlty Towers”: This TV series has left me? in complete splits not only because of the farce of Cleese, but because of the melting pot of accents. One could argue that the fictional hotel setting in the “English Riviera” in the town of Torquay shows Cleese with a quintessential upper class London accent? (a posh one, showing good breeding?with all the enunciations). I haven’t encountered too many people who spoke as well as Cleese does, but I’ve certainly heard this at the theater where enunciation is of the utmost importance.

Eric Idle/ Monty Python: The well-breed, genteel accents of most of the Monty Python cast of characters speak to their Oxford/ Cambridge education: very proper and elegant, often quite musical. Eric Idle’s accent stands out from the rest and is considered Geordie, which is from Northeast England. You can hear this in the way words end (e.g “er” often becomes “a” in the Geordie dialect, so “brother” becomes “brotha”).?

To this day, I will not forget Eliza Doolittle’s rendition of “The Rain in Spain”; credit, PBS.org

Are you an accent buff? If so, what are your favorite English accents?

This sponsored post is part of the Kaplan International Series.