A Brief Overview On The English Dialects Of The British Isles
The main English dialect of the British Isles is British English. This is the standard form of the English language as written and spoken in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and rather broadly elsewhere throughout the British archipelago. Received Pronunciation is the standard accent of British English in the U.K.
With respect to the Republic of Ireland, Hiberno-English qualifies as the main English dialect of the country but there are also other dialects with a small territorial distribution such as those in Dublin or southern Ulster.
Furthermore, there is also a considerable number of local dialects spoken in many areas of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The distribution of the main local English dialects in these constituent countries of the United Kingdom is the following one (dialects listed by constituent country):
- South (South East, Sussex, Kentish, Estuary, London, Cockney)
- West Country (Main West Country, Bristolian, Somerset, Devonshire, Anglo-Cornish)
- East Anglia (Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex)
- Midlands (West Midlands, East Midlands, Brummie, Coventry, Potteries, South-East Midlands)
- North (Cumbrian, Northumbrian, Geordie, Pitmatic, Mackem, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Scouse, Mancunian)
- Welsh English
- Cardiff English
- Highland Scottish
- Lowland Scottish
4. Northern Ireland
- Mid Ulster
Note: The above classification excludes Scots given the fact that it is sometimes regarded as a separate Germanic language. In addition to these main dialects, there are also slight variations depending on the region. It is equally important to mention that a British English accent (and possibly even a regional dialect) varies on a radius of 5 to 10 miles across the British archipelago.
Another significant mention is that there are two main extinct English dialects in Ireland (presumed to have been descended from Middle English), specifically the Forth and Bargy dialect (once spoken in County Wexford) and Fingallian (spoken in County Fingal).
Below you can watch a series of Youtube videos on different British English dialects, accents, and variations.
Documentation sources and external links: