English accents

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( being British I couldn’t resist this picture)

Many of my students ask me ‘what is a typical English accent?’, to which I reply ‘what do you mean?’ to which they reply that they have heard many native speakers pronounce a word in many different ways and want to know the ‘correct’ way of saying it. I understand what they are getting at, but it is a very difficult to answer this as there is no such thing as a ‘correct’ pronunciation. The only ‘standard’ there is is the Queen’s English, but then again only a minority speak it as it is rather posh. If you just take the UK, each region has its own way of pronouncing words, just listen to a typical Cockney, Scouser or Geordie, each of these are ‘correct’.

In terms of IELTS, you need to be understood clearly, so the Oxford English is what I would recommend, I.E. English with no regional accent.

Here are some good videos from ‘youtube’ to watch.

Posted in September 2010, this one has just under 19 million views: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dABo_DCIdpM

A comparison between foreign English accents and Oxford English: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO69s_fhGLc

There are a series of these (cockney): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUN0RLF-WuU

Jimmy Carr teaching Geordie and Scouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5xJrtXhMG70

Scouse: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OHfIAoF8gEc

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