Are there different accents in the UK?

Are there different English accents in the UK?

Furat says, 'I want to speak English with a British accent but I am told there are a lot of different accents in the UK. Is this true?'

Yes. The UK, like any other country, has a number of different accents. Our accent is one way in which we express our identity and our community membership, so it is natural that accents change from place to place. Historically, different parts of the UK have been exposed to different linguistic influences through invasion and settlement which has had an effect on the development of accents and dialects. The UK has a larger variety of English accents than other English speaking countries, because it has a longer history of speaking English. If you're interested in different UK accents, have a look at The British Library: Accents and Dialects in the UK.

Although there are many different accents, the accent more normally associated with England is Received Pronunciation (otherwise known as 'the Queen's English', 'BBC English, or 'Oxford English'). Received Pronunciation (RP) is the standard accent, often considered the most prestigious. It was the high status accent connected with education, power and wealth, although in recent years there has been a move towards the inclusion of more regional accents in British broadcasting.

Most students who say they want a British accent, mean they want an RP accent. It is, of course, possible to change your accent. However, as accent is such a large part of a person's linguistic identity, it does depend on how much you really want to change your accent. If you want to change your accent, you should expose yourself as much as possible to the accent you want, spend time with people who speak with that accent, listen to tapes and imitate the speech, this course has been recommended, although I have not personally used it.

Good luck.

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