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Have you ever visited London? I guess you want British people to pronounce words very clearly, and preferably also slowly! Of course this does not happen in real life.

The easiest accent for you to understand, and the accent that many English learners try to learn when speaking English, is actually not a local accent at all. It is the accent you will find if you look up the pronunciation of a word in a dictionary.

Not many people speak with a pure RP accent these days — not even Prince William! Pure RP can sound rather formal and exclusive. There are 2 main accents that are native to London now apart from all the accents from other countries, of course, such as Indian English. The first is the cockney accent, which originated in East London, a predominantly working class area — but in fact it is widely spoken all over London and the south east of England. Visitors to Britain find this accent very hard to understand, because some letters are not pronounced, especially T and H, and some vowel sounds are different.

The second main accent in London was only given a name in It is called Estuary English, because it is mainly spoken in the areas near the River Thames and its estuary. You can see the Thames Estuary area in the picture. This accent is very widely used, especially among people under 60 years old, as people of all social classes mix together much more than they used to.

A person with an Estuary English accent sometimes drops the letter T, or the letter H, for example, but not always. They tend to use mostly RP vowel sounds. Download this lesson: If you are a subscriber to my DailyStep Audio Lessons, you can download this audio file below at the bottom of the page.

The PDF is free for everyone! You can take as many levels as you like and also change level during your subscription. If you change your mind for any reason, just email me within 30 days for a full refund.


British accents: NRP and Estuary English

While traditional RP is associated with upper class or upper-middle-class, NRP is just like General American much more democratic and free from class divisions. Yet, this is still a standard, which excludes using other accents that are present all around the world, such as Australian English, Scottish English or Hiberno-English. That is why words like oar and ore are homophones. The latter mentioned sound is often used in words like: sure, poor and your. The other change takes place in words: jewel and fewer.


E-book: "British Accents: Cockney, RP, Estuary English"

Like and light can be homophones. Affricatives may be encountered in initial, intervocalic, and final position. Sivertsen considers that [ h ] is to some extent a stylistic marker of emphasis in cockney. These variants are retained when the addition of a suffix turns the dark l clear. All this reinforces the phonemic nature of the opposition and increases its functional load. It is now well-established in all kinds of London-flavoured accents, from broad cockney to near-RP.


Estuary English


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