English Language- Regional Variation

The different features of regional variations

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Scouse- Liverpool

The pronunciation characteristics are:

  • MERGING in VOWEL SOUNDS in words such as "fur" and "fair" pronounced somewhere between /air/ and /uhr/
  • PRONUNCIATION OF /k/ in words such as "back" similar to SCOTTISH way of saying "loch" so back becomes /bakh/
  • ELONGATED VOWEL SOUNDS in words like "look" so it is not pronounced /luk/ but /look/
  • FINAL /t/ CONSONANTS have several distinct pronounciations where a soft /h/ or /r/ replaces it in words such as "what" becomes /woh/ and /s/ in "light" becomes /lys/
  • LEXICAL ITEMS such as "abnabs" (sandwiches) or "midder" (to pester)
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Irish English- Ireland

Main characteristics are:

  • "Arra" USED AS A INTERJECTION to show EMOTION...similar to "ah" in English IMPLYING A POSITIVE OUTLOOK on something negative
  • "Amn't" a CONTRACTION from "am not" like the contractions "isn't"
  • "So" TAG OF AGREEMENT used at END of UTTERANCES in the same way as "too" or "aswell" (e.g. Let's go so)
  • "So" can be used to EMPHASISE & join REDUPLICATIVE FORMS (e.g. I can go, so I can)
  • LESS USE OF "yes" or "no" instead, a form that REPEATS the question (.e.g are you coming? I am)
  • MORE USE of DEFINITE ARTICLE in NOUN PHRASES (e.g. I came home for THE christmas)
  • Verbs "do" & "be" PAIRED as an AUXILIARY FORM as part of PRESENT CONTINOUS TENSE (e.g. they DO BE running very fast)
  • Irish doesn't have a PAST PERFECT TENSE "after" is used in conjunction with PRESENT CONTINOUS verb form to construct this (e.g. The car was AFTER hitting the wall and crashed through the barrier)
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Dublin English - Capital of the Republic of Irelan

Most speakers in the Republic of Ireland would measure themselves against Dublin English as their STANDARD and PRESTIGE form rather than RP or Standard English

Main features of the local predominantly working class Dublin English pronunciations:

  • BREAKING OF CLOSED VOWEL DIPTHONGS into two separate syllables (e.g. "clean" would have become /klee-un/ & "fool" would become /foo-ul/)
  • CHANGING /th/ consonant sound to /t/ or /d/ (e.g. thought becomes "thort")
  • Deletion of /t/ or /d/ sounds that come after /l/ or /n/ "bend" would become /ben/ and melt would become /mel/. Similar to the idea of GLOTTAL STOP and in some cases it MAY be used after /l/ or /n/

Raymond Hickey who studied Dublin English proposed evidence for a Dublin Vowel Shift taken up by middle class speakers forming a "fashionable" variety of the accent. This fashionable form was taken up by non locals and served to distinguish them from the working class local accent.

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Estuary English- London and around the Thames

Oftern described as being something of a midpoint between RP and Cockney related forms of London and the south east. The non standard features are bes understood as those that Cockney have influenced.

Typical phononlogical features accent include

  • YOD-COALESENCE: use of consonant sound /j/ to replace /dy/ in the intial sound of a word like "dune"
  • GLOTTALING: the consonant sound /t/ being PRONOUNCED BY A GLOTTAL STOP instead of the full plosive sound as in /wha/ for what
  • L-VOCALISATION: the REPLACEMENT IN CONSONANT SOUND /l/ with a VOWEL or SEMI VOWEL SOUND as in the /l/ in "milk" becomes /miwk/
  • VOWEL FRONTING: movement of PRONUNCIATION of VOWEL SOUNDS further forward in the mouth resulting in the LONG VOWEL SOUND like "shoe" sounds more like vowel sound in "drew"
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Paul Dutton


A useful, quick and informative revision tool concerning regional variation of language.

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