If you prefer the British over the American English, you must have come across different varieties of British English in the form of wacky words and expressions or peculiar and offbeat pronunciations. Whether you have encountered them during reading, through interaction with native speakers, or more probably, while watching TV series, you will be surprised to learn that it is estimated that the UK has more than 30 dialects. Here are some of the more well-known ones.
Having its origin directly from Old English and Old Norse, which happens to be the language spoken by the mighty Vikings, Yorkshire is among the most popular British accents from Northern England. If you think you have never come across this dialect, think again. There are a bunch of literary classics where you can spot it among which Emily Brontë’s magnum opus Wuthering Heights or even TV shows such as Game of Thrones.
One of the Yorkshire dialect’s prominent features is the dropping of ‘the’ and ‘to’ when speaking and replacing them with ‘t’. For instance, rather than saying ‘I would love to eat the chocolate’, folks from Yorkshire say ‘I would love’t eat’t chocolate’ which would sound more like ‘I would love tuh eat tuh chocolate’.
Vocabulary-wise, ‘in a bit’ is used to say goodbye. ‘Owt’ and ‘nowt’ substitute the words ‘anything’ and ‘nothing’, while ‘aye’ and ‘nay’ stand for affirmation and negation. ‘Bog’ means toilet, ‘jammy’ stands for lucky, and, weird enough, ‘tea’ is used to refer to dinner.
The Mancunian dialect is spoken in Manchester and its surroundings. As the home of one of the Redbrick Universities, Manchester is a vibrant city, full of students and dream chasers. It shows a great vibe of multiculturality and an even greater vibe of diversity when it comes to colloquial language.
Manchester’s slang list is endless and incredibly creative. When a certain thing is quite great, use the words ‘mint’ or ‘top’ to express your content. The antonym is ‘angin’. Don’t ask Mancunians for chewing gum, but instead for a ‘chuddy’. In case you are feeling hungry, grab some ‘scran’ (which means food).
Cockney is the dialect you have most probably heard about. It is spoken by Londoners, more specifically, those from East End of London. It’s mostly famous for its rhyming phrases and words.
‘Adam and Eve’ stands for the verb ‘believe’, ‘a dog and a bone’ refers to the phone, ‘mince pies’ allude to the eyes, ‘bread and honey’ means money.
The cockney dialect has a couple of noticeable pronunciation features. To illustrate, the digraph ‘th’ is pronounced as ‘f’, meaning that instead of saying ‘theatre’, ‘thunder’, ‘author’ or ‘think’, a Cockney speaker would say ‘featre’, ‘funder’, ‘aufor’ and ‘fink’. Furthermore, the consonant ‘h’ is completely skipped. In that way, ‘hosptal’ is pronounced ’opital’ and ‘habit’ is pronounced as ‘abit’. Last but not least, the cockney dialect uses the so-called glottal stop, which is neither a vowel nor a consonant, but rather a consonantal sound, and replaces the letter ‘t’. For example, the pronunciation of ‘water’ sounds more like ‘wa-er’.
The Brummie dialect belongs to the people of Birmingham. It turns out that this one is the least attractive and most mocked dialect in whole Britain. However, when looking on the bright side, the gangster TV series Peaky Blinders gave the natives of Birmingham new confidence and a sense of achievement.
The most distinguishing characteristic of the Brummie dialect is the use of falling intonation, meaning that as the speaker gets closer to the end of its statement, the intonation significantly declines and the last few words are sometimes barely heard. The letter ‘I’ is regularly replaced by ‘oy’ (‘I like to sing’ is articulated as ‘Oi loik to sing’), while the consonant ‘t’ is likely to be eliminated from the end of the word (‘what’ becomes ‘wha’).
In terms of vocabulary, the Brummie speakers prefer the American version of the word mother, ‘mom’, instead of the British ‘mum’. ‘Fizzy pop’ stands for fizzy drinks, ‘snap’ conveys the meaning of food and ‘cob’ refers to a bread of roll. When it comes to salutations, ‘tara-a-bit’ is another way to say ‘see you later’, however, if you ‘deff-off’ someone, it means you ignore them.