Hello it’s Jon here, British accents coach here. How are you? Today is my fourth London accent video focussing on the four geographical areas of London - that is the north, south, east and west. So I thought I’d give you a mini tutorial on each accent and show you their biggest influences.
The North London Accent
Ok, so let’s start with north London. Now, one of the biggest influences on the north London accent is Essex (which is north east of London). The first feature here is the called th-fronting which is pronouncing “th” as a “v” or “f”. For example, north London can be pronounced “norf London”. Another interesting feature is l-vocalisation where an “l” sound sounds more like a vowel sound. Listen to this lifestyle becomes lifestyw. I’ve actually heard the TV host Denise Van Outen say this and she is from Basildon in Essex. Here’s an example sentence for you to practise: I wouldn’t bovva changing your lifestyle, alright?
The East London Accent
Let’s move on to east London. Amongst other accents it is the home of Cockney. So let’s look at two features of the Cockney accent. H-dropping or aitch-dropping is not saying the “h” sound. So for example two places in east London that often have their “h” dropped are: Hackney - pronounced ‘ackney and Tower Hamlets - pronounced Tower ‘amlets. Another feature of Cockney is glottalisation. I’ve mentioned the t-glottalisation in previous videos but it can also be used to replace “d” and “k” sounds just like in the name Hyde Park become Hye Park or even ‘ye Park. Let’s put them altogether in one sentence: “Well, yesterday I went to Tower ‘amlets and then i got the Tube over to ‘ye Park. Got it?
The South London Accent
Next let’s go to south London or as we can say saaf London. In this part of London we can say that Multicultural London English (MLE) plays a big part. Now, the first feature is actually the opposite of a Cockney feature, which is non h-dropping. For example in MLE you might want to say “put this hat and your head, man”, keeping the aitchs intact. Another feature is this long aah sound like in the word together, pronounced togetha or even togeva. Or, The word weather can be pronounced weva.
The West London Accent
Finally, let’s go to the west London accent which is heavily influenced by the accent of Received Pronunciation (RP) as this is the accent of the middle-classes. So, received pronunciation is what I’m speaking in right now. One of its most distinguishing features is the broad aah sound just like in path, fast and castle. However, if you want to give it a little edge to it to make it more Londoney, then put in some of the features from the previous 3 accents. Let’s hear and example: “I live in a castle in ‘ackney so the weather doesn’t bother me. Btw, it’s not true - I don’t live in a castle in Hackney or ‘ackney.
So there you go, now please bear in mind that this in not strict. You can find Cockney in west London or received pronunciation in north London because, well, London is a very diverse place.
hi! it's jon.
Welcome to my blog of free tutorials explaining different British accents and areas of pronunciation. It's a complement to my video channel with video scripts, lessons and sometimes extra info not included in some videos. Click on the image to go to the video.