Why are there so many different dialects in Britain?










Even as a British citizen I still find myself thinking why in such a small island are there so many different types of accents, dialects and even in a rare case language (Welsh or Gaelic)…


Dialects and accents developed historically when groups of language users lived in near enough isolation without regular contact with other people in different areas. This was in the past due to the lack of transport and media channels we now have access to in today’s modern world. People tended to hear only the language used in their location so when their language use changed (as a language by its nature always evolves) their dialect and accent adopted a particular character, leading to national, regional and local variation.

Dialects and accents are not restricted to the English language! In the US, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa English has been spoken for a much shorter period than in the UK. But even there, dialects and accents occur and the linguistic influence of settlers who came from certain parts of the UK such as Scotland or Lancashire helped to determine local varieties.

Dialects and accents are changing and will continue to change. After all, language never stands still. They can be influenced by many things such as music, movies, television, and travel. People also change the language they use depending on who they are talking to and why they are talking, for example formally in a job interview or casually to friends and family at home. People also change the way they speak to make themselves understood more easily.

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“Hello! We are Joel & Lia. We post videos every week, all about British culture, British accents and the English language! We live in London and love sharing our top travel tips in the UK and abroad.”

Watch this amazing video to hear the subtle differences between some of the regional British accents discussed in the video.

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