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List of generic forms in place names in Ireland and the United Kingdom

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article lists a number of common generic forms in place names in the British Isles, their meanings and some examples of their use. The study of place names is called toponymy; for a more detailed examination of this subject in relation to British and Irish place names, refer to Toponymy in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

Key to languages: ; Bry - Brythonic; C - Cumbric; K - Cornish; I - Irish; L - Latin; ME - Middle English; NF - Norman French; OE - Old English (Anglo-Saxon); ON - Old Norse; P - Pictish; S - Scots; SG - Scots Gaelic; W - Welsh

Term Origin Meaning Example Position Comments
aber[1] C, W, P, K mouth (of a river), confluence, a meeting of waters Aberystwyth, Aberdyfi, Aberdeen, Abergavenny, Aberuthven prefix See also Aber and Inver (placename elements)
ac, acc, ock OE acorn, or oak tree Accrington,[2] Acomb, Acton, Matlock[3]
Druineach[4] SG uncertain Airigh nan Druineach, Cladh nan Druineach, Druineachan
afon, avon[1] W, SG, K, I river River Avon, Avonmouth, Avonwick, Glanyrafon W afon is pronounced "AH-von"; several English rivers are named Avon. In Irish the word, spelled abhann, is mainly (though not exclusively) pronounced OW-en
ar, ard[5][6][7] I, SG high, height Armagh, Ardglass, Ardgay
ash OE ash tree Ashby de la Zouch, Ashton-under-Lyne, Ashton-in-Makerfield [8]
ast OE east Aston, Astley [9] prefix
auch(en)/(in)-, ach-[5] I, SG field Auchendinny, Auchenshuggle, Auchinairn, Achnasheen prefix anglicised from achadh. Ach- is generally the Highland form, and Auch- the lowland. Auchen- (from Achadh nan ...) means 'field of the ...'
auchter-[5] I, SG height, top of something Auchtermuchty, Auchterarder prefix anglicised from uachdar
axe, exe, usk, esk OE from acsa, meaning river Exeter, River Axe (Devon), River Exe, River Usk, Axminster, River Esk, Lothian.
ay, y, ey[10] OE/ON island Ramsay, Westray, Lundy,[11] Orkney suffix (usually)
bal, balla, bally, ball[5] SG, I farm, homestead Ballachulish, Balerno, Ballymena, Ballinamallard, Ballater, Balmoral prefix anglicised from baile
beck,[10] bach OE,ON stream Holbeck,[12] Beckinsale, Troutbeck, Beckton, Tooting Bec, Sandbach, Comberbach cf. ger. Bach
ben, beinn, beann, ban, bannau, bannock, bannog SG, W mountain, summit, summits, mountainous Ben Nevis, Ben Cruachan, Bannau Brycheiniog, Bannockburn
berg, berry[10] OE/ON hill (cf. 'iceberg') Roseberry Topping, Berkhamsted, Sedbergh In Farnborough (OE Fernaberga),[13] berg has converged toward borough, ger. berg
bex OE box, the tree Bexley, Bexhill-on-Sea[14] The OE name of Bexhill-on-Sea was Bexelei, a glade where box grew.[14]
blen, blaen C, W fell, hill, upland Blencathra, Blencogo, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Blantyre
bost[10] ON farm Leurbost suffix cf. ster, (bol)staðr; this form is usually found in the Outer Hebrides. Related to Swedish 'bol' as in Bäckebol and Brandsbol, as well the direct cognate Bolstad.
bourne, burn OE large brook, large stream, small river Bournemouth, Melbourne, Bourne, Eastbourne,[15] Ashbourne, Blackburn, Bannockburn cf. ger. -born as in Herborn. The word "burn" is still in common use in Scotland in this sense.
brad OE broad Bradford[16] prefix
bre[1] C, W, K hill Bredon, Carn Brea prefix
bury, borough, brough, burgh OE fortified enclosure Aylesbury, Canterbury, Dewsbury, Bury, Pendlebury, Newbury, Shrewsbury, Tewkesbury, Glastonbury,[17] Middlesbrough,[18] Edinburgh, Bamburgh, Peterborough, Knaresborough, Scarborough, Jedburgh, Aldeburgh (usually) suffix See also -bury and Borough for further information and other uses. Burgh is primarily Northumbrian and Scots. Cf. nl. and ger. Burg
by,[10] bie ON settlement, village Grimsby,[19] Tenby, Derby, Whitby, Selby, Crosby, Formby, Kirkby, Rugby, Helsby, Corby, Wetherby, Lockerbie usually suffix but compare Bicker (the town marsh) also survives in bylaw and by-election
carden P thicket Kincardine, Cardenden suffix
caer, car[1] C, W camp, fortification Caerdydd, Caerleon, Carlisle,[20] Caerfyrddin prefix See also Caer. Brythonic caer from Latin castrum; cf Chester (OE).
caster, chester, cester, ceter OE (<L) camp, fortification (of Roman origin) Lancaster,[21] Doncaster, Gloucester, Caister, Manchester, Chichester, Worcester, Chester, Exeter, Cirencester, Colchester, Tadcaster, Leicester, Towcester, Winchester suffix
cheap, chipping OE market Chipping Norton,[22] Chipping Campden, Chepstow also as part of a street, e.g. Cheapside. Chippenham is from a personal name.
combe, coombe Bry valley Barcombe ("Valley of the Britons"), Farncombe, Ilfracombe, Salcombe, Coombe Country Park,[23] usually pronounced 'coo-m' or 'cum', cognate with cwm
coed[1] W wood, forest Betws-y-coed
cot, cott OE,W cottage, small building or derived from Bry/W Coed or Coet meaning a wood Ascot, Didcot, Draycott in the Clay, Swadlincote[24] suffix
Craig, crag, creag Bry, SG, I A jutting rock. Craigavon, Creag Meagaidh, Pen y Graig, Ard Crags This root is common to all the Celtic languages.
cul C W narrow Culcheth[25] prefix
cwm, cum[1] W, C valley Cwmaman, Cumdivock, Cwmann, Cwmbran, Cwm Head prefix cwm in Welsh and cum in Cumbric; borrowed into old English as suffix coombe.
-cum- L with Salcott-cum-Virley, Cockshutt-cum-Petton, Chorlton-cum-Hardy interfix Used where two parishes were combined into one. Unrelated to Cumbric cum.
dal[5] SG, I meadow, low-lying area by river Dalry, Dalmellington prefix Cognate with and probably influenced by P Dol
dale[10] OE/ON valley OE, allotment OE Airedale i.e. valley of the River Aire, Rochdale suffix Cognate with Tal (Ger.), dalr (ON)
dean, den, don OE - denu valley (dene) Croydon,[26] Dean Village, Horndean, Todmorden[27] suffix the geography is often the only indicator as to the original root word (cf. don, a hill)
din, dinas[1] W, K fort Dinas Powys, Castle an Dinas prefix homologous to dun; see below
dol Bry, P, W meadow, low-lying area by river Dolgellau, Dull prefix
don, den Bry via OE hill, down Abingdon,[28] Bredon, Willesden, London suffix
drum[5] SG, I, W, C ridge, back Drumchapel, Drumnacanvy, Drumnadrochit, Dundrum, Mindrum prefix Gaelic examples are anglicised from druim
dubh,[5] dow, dhu, duff SG, I black Eilean Dubh, Eas Dubh, Dublin suffix, occasionally prefix anglicised from dubh
dun, dum, don, doune[5] SG, I fort Dundee, Dumbarton, Dungannon, Dumfries, Donegal, Dundalk, Dundrum prefix See also Dun. Derived from dùn.
Eagles, Eglos, Eglews, Eccles, Eglwys W, K(<L) Church Eaglesham, Egloskerry, Ecclefechan from Latin ecclesia, thus cognate to French église and G. eaglais
Eilean I, SG Island Eilean Donan, Eilean Sùbhainn Sometimes anglicised to island as a prefix e.g. Island Davaar
ey, ea, eg, eig OE eg island Romsey,[29] Athelney, Ely cf. Low German -oog as in Langeoog, Dutch -oog as in Schiermonnikoog, Norwegian øy(-a) as in Ulvøya
ey OE haeg enclosure Hornsey,[30] Hay (-on-Wye) unrelated to -ey 'island', above; see also -hay below
field OE open land, a forest clearing Sheffield,[31] Huddersfield, Wakefield, Mansfield, Macclesfield, Mirfield, Chesterfield, Murrayfield, Whitefield, Lichfield, Driffield suffix cf. ger. Feld
fin SG white, holy Findochty prefix anglicised from fionn
firth, frith, fridd OE W wood or woodland or uncultivated land with small trees and bushes at the edge of cultivated land, especially on hillsides. Holmfirth, Chapel-en-le-Frith[32] suffix
firth[10] ON fjord, inlet Burrafirth, Firth of Forth, Solway Firth, Firth of Clyde from Norse fjorðr
ford, forth, ffordd OE, W ford, crossing, road Saltford, Bradford, Ampleforth, Watford, Salford, Castleford, Guildford, Stafford, Chelmsford, Retford, Dartford, Bideford, Knutsford, Burford, Sleaford Penffordd, Henffordd, 'Hereford' in Welsh cf. ger. -furt as in Frankfurt am Main
fos, foss, ffos L, OE, W ditch River Foss, Fangfoss[33] Separate from ON foss, force, below
foss, force[10] ON waterfall Aira Force, High Force, Hardraw Force Separate from L/OE fos, foss, above
gate ON road Gate Helmsley,[34] Harrogate
gar(t)[10] SG enclosed field[35] Garscube, Gartmore, Gartness
garth[10] ON, W enclosure, small summit or ridge Aysgarth cf. ger. -gart as in Stuttgart
gill, ghyll[10] ON ravine, narrow gully Gillamoor, Garrigill, Dungeon Ghyll
glen,[5] glyn SG, I, W narrow valley, dale Rutherglen, Glenarm, Corby Glen anglicised from gleann
glind OE enclosure Glynde
gowt[36][37] Water outfall, sluice, drain Guthram Gowt, Anton's Gowt First ref gives the word as the local pronunciation of go out; Second as 'A water-pipe under the ground. A sewer. A flood-gate, through which the marsh-water runs from the reens into the sea.'. Reen is a Somerset word, not used in the Fens. Gout appears to be cognate with the French égout, sewer. Though the modern mind associates the word 'sewer' with foul water, it was not always necessarily so.[38]
ham OE farm, homestead, [settlement] Rotherham,[39] Newham, Nottingham, Tottenham, Oldham, Newsham, Faversham, West Ham, Birmingham, Lewisham, Gillingham, Chatham, Chippenham, Cheltenham, Buckingham, Dagenham, Evesham, Wrexham, Dereham, Altrincham, Durham, Billingham, Hexham [40] suffix often confused by hamm, an enclosure; cf. nl. hem and ger. Heim
-hay, -hays, -hayes OE area of land enclosed by a hedge[41] Cheslyn Hay, Walsall; Floyer Hayes, Devon; Northern Hay, Shill Hay, Southern Hay, Northern Hay, Fryers Hay, Bon Hay, all surrounding the City of Exeter, Devon; Moor Hayes, Cullompton, Devon; Billinghay,Lincolnshire suffix see also Hayes (surname), sometimes derived from this topological source
hithe, hythe OE wharf, place for landing boats Rotherhithe,[42] Hythe, Erith
holm OE island Holmfirth, Hempholme, Hubberholme[43]
hope OE valley, enclosed area Woolhope, Glossop[44] cf. ger. Hof
howe ON haugr mound, hill, knoll, Howe, Norfolk, Howe, North Yorkshire[45]
hurst, hirst OE (wooded) hill Goudhurst, Herstmonceux, Woodhurst, Lyndhurst[46] cf. ger. Horst
inch I, SG Island, dry area in marsh. Inchmarnock, Insch, Keith Inch cf. W. ynys
ing OE ingas people of Reading,[47] the people (followers) of Reada, Spalding, the people of Spald, Wapping, Kettering, Worthing, Dorking, Barking, Epping[48] Woking, Pickering suffix sometimes survives in an apparent plural form e.g. Hastings;[49] also, often combined with 'ham' or 'ton'; 'homestead of the people of' (e.g. Birmingham, Bridlington); cf. nl. and ger. -ing(en) as in Groningen, Göttingen, or Straubing
ing OE place, small stream Lockinge[50] suffix difficult to distinguish from -ingas without examination of early place-name forms.
inver, inner[5] SG mouth of (a river), confluence, a meeting of waters Inverness, Inveraray, Innerleithen prefix cf. aber.
keld ON spring Keld, Threlkeld[51]
keth, cheth C wood Penketh, Culcheth[25] suffix cf. W. coed
kil,[5] Cil SG, I, W monastic cell, old church, nook, corner Kilmarnock, Killead, Kilkenny, Kilgetty, Cil-y-coed prefix anglicised from Cill
kin[5] SG, I head Kincardine, Kinallen prefix anglicised from Ceann. Cognate of W pen
king OE/ON king, tribal leader King's Norton, King's Lynn,[52] Kingston, Kingston Bagpuize, Kingskerswell, Coningsby[53]
kirk[10] ON church Kirkwall, Ormskirk, Colkirk, Falkirk, Kirkstead, Kirkby on Bain See als Kirk (placename element). cf. ger -kirch as in Altkirch, nl. -kerk as in Heemskerk
knock, cnwc I, SG, C, Bry, W hill, rocky hillock Knockhill, Knock, County Clare, Knock, Isle of Lewis, Knockentiber, Knock, Cnwc-Parc-y-morfa, Pembrokeshire, Wales, Pen-cnwc, Pembrokeshire, Wales anglicised from cnoc; Cronk on Isle of Man.
kyle, kyles[5] SG narrows Kyle of Lochalsh, Kyles of Bute prefix anglicised from Caol and caolas
lan, lhan, llan[1] C, K, P, W church, churchyard, village with church, parish Lanteglos (Cornwall), Lhanbryde (Moray), Lanercost, Llanbedr Pont Steffan, Llanybydder, Llandudno, Llanelli, Llangefni, Llangollen prefix, See also Llan (placename)
lang OE, ON long Langdale,[54] Great Langton, Kings Langley, Langbank, Langwathby, Lang Toun prefix cf. ger. -langen as in Erlangen; still in use in English dialect and Scots.
law, low OE from hlaw, a rounded hill Charlaw, Tow Law, Lewes, Ludlow,[55] North Berwick Law often standalone often a hill with a barrow or hillocks on its summit; still in use in Scotland.
le NF? from archaic French lès,[56] in the vicinity of, near to Chester-le-Street interfix Hartlepool appears to contain le by folk etymology; older spellings show no such element.
lea, ley, leigh OE from leah, a woodland clearing Barnsley,[57] Hadleigh, Leigh, Beverley, Keighley, Batley, Abbots Leigh (usually) suffix cf. nl. -loo as in Waterloo, ger. -loh as in Gütersloh
lin, llyn,[1] Lynn Bry, C, W lake (or simply water) Lindow, Lindefferon, Llyn Brianne, Pen Llyn, Lincoln, King's Lynn usually prefix
ling, lyng OE, ON heather Lingmell, Lingwood, Linga
loch, lough SG, I lake, a sea inlet Loch Ryan, Lough Neagh, Sweethope Loughs, Glendalough, Loch Ness Generally found in Scotland and Ireland, but also a handful in England.
lyn, lynn, lin W lake, pond Dublin, King's Lynn, Brooklyn [citation needed]
magna L great Appleby Magna, Chew Magna, Wigston Magna, Ludford Magna Primarily a medieval affectation
mawr W large, great Pen-y-cae-mawr, Pegwn Mawr, Merthyr Mawr Fawr is the mutated form
mere OE lake, pool Windermere,[58] Grasmere, Cromer,[59] Tranmere
minster OE large church, monastery Westminster, Wimborne Minster, Leominster, Kidderminster, Minster Lovell, Ilminster[60] cf. ger. Münster
more I, SG large, great Dunmore, Lismore, Strathmore Anglicised from mòr
moss OE Swamp, bog Mossley, Lindow Moss, Moss Side[61] cf. ger. Moos
mouth ME Mouth (of a river), bay Plymouth, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Monmouth, Sidmouth, Weymouth, Lynmouth, East Portlemouth, Exmouth, Yarmouth, Falmouth, Dartmouth suffix cf. ger. Münden or Gemünd
mynydd[1] W mountain Mynydd Moel prefix
nan, nans K valley Nancledra (Cornwall) prefix
nant[1] C, W ravine or the stream in it Nantgarw, Nantwich prefix same origin as nan, nans above
ness[10] OE, ON promontory, headland (literally 'nose') Sheerness, Skegness, Furness, Durness, Dungeness suffix
nor OE north Norton, Norbury, Norwich[62] prefix
pant[1] W a hollow Pant Glas, Pant (Merthyr Tydfil), Pant (Shropshire)
parva L little Appleby Parva, Wigston Parva, Ruston Parva, Glen Parva, Thornham Parva, Ludford Parva
pen[1] C, K, W, ?P head (headland or hill), top, far end of, end of Penzance, Pendle, Penrith, Pen-y-ghent, Penarth, Pencoed, Penmaen, Pengam, Penffordd, Pembrokeshire, Pen-y-gwryd, ?Pennan prefix, also Pedn in W. Cornwall
pit P portion, share, farm Pitlochry (Perthshire), Pitmedden prefix homologous with K peath
pol, pwll C, K, W. pool or lake Polperro, Polruan, Polzeath, Pwllheli, Gwynedd, Pwll, Llanelli prefix
pont[1] L, K, W, C bridge Pontypridd, Pontypool, Penpont, Pontefract prefix can also be found in its mutated form bont, e.g., Pen-y-bont (Bridgend); originally from Latin pons (pont–)
pool OE harbour Liverpool, Blackpool, Hartlepool, Welshpool[63] suffix
porth[1] K, W harbour Porthcawl, Porthgain, Porthaethwy prefix
port ME port, harbour Davenport, Southport, Stockport, Bridport, Portsmouth, Newport, Maryport, Ellesmere Port suffix
shaw OE a wood, a thicket Openshaw, Wythenshawe, Shaw[64] standalone or suffix a fringe of woodland, from OE sceaga
shep, ship OE sheep Shepshed, Shepton Mallet, Shipton, Shipley prefix
stan OE stone, stony Stanmore, Stamford,[65] Stanlow prefix cf. ger. Stein
stead OE place, enclosed pasture Hampstead, Berkhamsted, Hemel Hempstead[66] suffix cf. ger. Stadt or -stätt as in Eichstätt, nl. -stad as in Zaanstad
ster[10] ON farm Lybster, Scrabster suffix cf. -bost from (bol)staðr
stoke OE stoc dependent farmstead, secondary settlement Stoke-on-Trent,[67] Stoke Damerel, Basingstoke, Stoke Mandeville, Stoke Gabriel (usually) standalone
stow OE (holy) place (of assembly) Stow-on-the-Wold,[68] Padstow, Bristol,[69] Stowmarket, Felixstowe
strath[5] SG wide valley, vale Strathmore (Angus) prefix derived from srath (but conflated with Brythonic "Ystrad")
streat, street L, OE road (Roman) Spital-in-the-Street, Chester-le-Street, Streatham derived from strata, L. 'paved road'
sud, sut OE south Sudbury,[70] Sutton prefix
swin OE pigs, swine Swindon, Swinford, Swinton[71]
rigg, rig ON, S ridge Askrigg, Bonnyrigg suffix
tarn ON lake Malham Tarn In modern English, usually a glacial lake in a coombe.
thorp, thorpe ON secondary settlement Cleethorpes,[72] Thorpeness, Scunthorpe, Armthorpe, Bishopthorpe, Mablethorpe See also Thorp. An outlier of an earlier settlement. cf. ger. Dorf, nl. -dorp as in Badhoevedorp
thwaite, twatt[10] ON thveit a forest clearing with a dwelling, or parcel of land Huthwaite, Twatt, Slaithwaite, Thornthwaite, Braithwaite, Bassenthwaite, Finsthwaite suffix
Tre-,[1] Tra- C, K, W settlement Tranent, Trevose Head, Tregaron, Trenear, Treorchy, Treherbert, Trealaw, Treharris, Trehafod, Tredegar, prefix
tilly,[5] tullie, tulloch SG hillock Tillicoultry, Tillydrone, Tulliallan prefix
toft[10] ON homestead Lowestoft, Fishtoft, Langtoft (Lincs), Langtoft (ER of Yorks), Wigtoft usually suffix
treath, traeth K, W beach Tywardreath, Traeth Mwnt, Cardigan
tun, ton OE tun enclosure, estate, homestead Skipton, Elston, Tunstead, Warrington, Patrington, Brighton,[73] Coniston, Clacton, Everton, Broughton, Luton, Merton, Wincanton, Bolton, Workington, Preston, Bridlington, Stockton-on-Tees, Taunton, Boston, Kensington, Paddington, Crediton, Honiton, Hamilton, Northampton, Southampton, Paignton, Tiverton, Helston, Wolverhampton, Buxton, Congleton, Darlington, Northallerton OE pronunciation 'toon'. Compare en. town, nl. tuin (garden) and ger. Zaun (fence); all derived from Germanic root tun
upon, on, in ME by/"upon" a river Newcastle upon Tyne, Kingston upon Hull, Stratford-upon-Avon, Staines-upon-Thames, Burton upon Trent, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Walton-on-Thames, Hampton-in-Arden interfix
weald, wold OE high woodland Wealdstone, Stow-on-the-Wold,[68] Southwold, Easingwold, Methwold, Cuxwold, Hockwold cf. ger. Wald
wes OE west Wessex prefix
wick, wich, wych, wyke L, OE place, settlement Ipswich, Norwich, Alnwick, West Bromwich, Nantwich, Prestwich, Northwich, Woolwich, Horwich, Middlewich, Harwich, Bloxwich, Hammerwich, Sandwich, Aldwych, Gippeswyk, Heckmondwike, Warwick[74] suffix related to Latin vicus (place), cf. nl. wijk, ger. weig as in Braunsweig
wick[10] ON vik bay Wick, Lerwick, Winwick, Barnoldswick, Keswick, Prestwick, North Berwick, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Goodwick, Glodwick, Ardwick, Beswick, Walberswick suffix cf. Jorvik (modern York)
win, vin, fin Bry white Winchester, Wimborne (earlier Winborne), Vindolanda, Fintry prefix uenta- attested in Roman period. Compare W. gwyn
worth, worthy, wardine OE enclosure Tamworth,[75] Farnworth, Rickmansworth, Nailsworth, Kenilworth, Lutterworth, Bedworth, Letchworth, Halesworth, Wirksworth, Whitworth, Cudworth, Haworth, Holsworthy, Bredwardine usually suffix cf. nl. -waard as in Heerhugowaard
ynys[1] W Island Ynys Mon (Anglesey)

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Hi. I'm Gill at, and today's lesson is about accents in the U.K. So, U.K. accents and also dialects. Okay, so what's the difference between an accent and a dialect? Right. Well, an accent, as you know, is to do with pronunciation, how you pronounce the word. Dialect is when you have a word that only people in a certain area of the country use; it's not a national word, it's a local word that maybe people from other parts of the country, they won't even know what it means, so that's dialect. Okay. So, let's just have a look through some of the accents that we have in the U.K. The one that you're probably learning as you're learning to pronounce English words is RP. "RP" stands for "Received Pronunciation". It's a slightly strange term. "Received" where do you receive it from? Well, maybe you receive it from your teacher. This is how to say this word. It's a slightly strange expression, but RP, it's usually referred to by the initials. And it's the kind of accent you will hear if you're watching BBC Television programs or listening to BBC Radio. Not everybody on the BBC speaks with an RP accent. The news readers tend to be RP speakers, but not always. But the strange thing is that in this country, only a very small percentage of people do speak with this accent. Apparently, just 3%, but they tend to be people in positions of power, authority, responsibility. They probably earn a lot of money. They live in big houses. You know the idea. So, people like the Prime Minster, at the moment David Cameron, he went to a private school, he went to university, Oxford, so people who have been to Oxford and Cambridge Universities often speak in RP, even if they didn't speak in RP before they went to Oxford or Cambridge, they often change their accent while they are there because of the big influence of their surroundings and the people that they're meeting. So that's RP. It's a very clear accent. So, it's probably a good idea to either learn to speak English with an RP accent, or you may be learning with an American accent, a Canadian accent, all of those accents are very clear. Okay. And being clear is the most important thing. Okay, so moving on. RP, as I should have said, is mostly in the south of the country; London and the south. So, also "Cockney" and "Estuary English" are in the south. Okay. So, Cockney is the local London accent, and it tends to spread further out to places like Kent, Essex, other places like that. Surrey. There's a newer version of Cockney called "Estuary English". If you think an estuary is connected to a river, so the River Thames which flows across the country, goes quite a long way west. So anyone living along the estuary, near the river can possibly have this accent as well. So, just to give you some examples, then, of the Cockney accent, there are different features. So, one example is the "th" sound, as you know to make a "th" sound, some of you may find it difficult anyway, "the", when you put your tongue through your teeth, "the", but a Cockney person may not use the "the", they will use an "f" sound or a "v" sound instead, so the word "think", "I think", they would say would say instead of: "think", they would say it like that: "fink", "fink", and the top teeth are on the bottom lip, "think". And words like "with" that end with the "th", instead of "with", it will be "wiv", "wiv", "wiv". "Are you coming wiv me?" So that is one of the things that happens with the Cockney accent. Words like "together" would be "togever". Okay? The number "three", t-h-r-e-e is often pronounced "free": "We have free people coming to dinner. Free people." So, there can be confusion there, because we have the word "free", which has a meaning in itself, "free", but if you actually mean "three", the number three, there can be some confusion. So don't get confused by "free people". -"Oh, they're free? They're free to come?" -"No, there are three of them. Three people who are free to come." Ah, okay. Another example, another aspect of Cockney is the glottal stop. Words like "computer" with a "t" in it, the "t" is not pronounced. So, some... A lot of Cockney speakers will say: "Compuer, compuer", I don't need to write it, because you can hear I'm missing out the "t" and doing a glottal in my throat instead: "compuer", "computer", "compuer". Okay? And the word "matter": "Does it matter how I speak?", "Does it maer? Does it maer how I speak?" So, that's for you to decide: Does it matter or maer how you speak, how you pronounce? There's another thing with Cockney. When there is an "l" sound in a word, like in the word "milk", the word "milk", Cockney speakers tend to make a "wa" sound where... Instead of the "l". So, instead of: "A glass of milk", they will say: "A glass of milwk, milwk", and they "wa", go like a "w". So... And the "mail", m-a-i-l, when you have the mail delivered, they might say: "The mawl, maiwl, maiwl", it's hard for me to say. "Maiwl", rather than "mail", the "l" you make with your tongue, and the... The roof of your mouth just behind your front top teeth: "mail, le, le". "Mail" is the Cockney. And there's a place in the west of the country, which I'm sure you've heard of... Oh, I'll put it by this one. To the west of the West Country, the country called Wales, and you've probably heard of the Prince of Wales, one of the royal family. This word, with a very strong Cockney speaker, with a very strong accent tends to pronounce it like: "Wows", not "Wales", but "Wows", which is like saying "wow" with an "s" on the end. "Wows. We went to Wows for our holiday." But it's actually "Wales". So these are some examples of that. And one more aspect of Cockney is the letter "h"... So if you have a name like "Harry", "Harry" would be pronounced "Arry", and "have" where you make the "h" sound "hu", "ave". So, the Cockney speaker tends to miss off the "h". Okay, so okay that's just a few examples of how the Cockney accent differs from RP. Okay, so now we have a little bit more space, we'll move on a little bit further north. And the Midlands is an area of the country about a hundred miles or more north of London, the Midlands, which is in the middle of the country. Okay? And there's the East Midlands and the West Midlands. I happen to come from the East Midlands. So my accent is now, because I now live in London and I've lived in London for a long time, my accent changed gradually after I moved. But there is still a little bit of a mixture in my accent. For example, I still say words like "bath" and "path", which is the same as the American and Canadian pronunciation. Lots of people say "bath" and "path", but the RP pronunciation of these words is "baath" and "paath", so there are a lot of these words where the "a" is not the "a" sound, but the "aa" sound. So that is one thing I have not changed in my accent; I still say "bath" and "path", because to me it feels very strange psychologically to talk about a "baath" or a "paath". It's just a step too far for me. But other aspects of my previous accent I have changed. For example, if you have a cup of tea... A cup of tea, that's the RP pronunciation, but where I come from in the Midlands, we called it "a coop of tea". Okay? So, I'll spell it like that, that's just a kind of phonetic spelling. Coop, coop of tea. So, it feels very strange for me now to say "coop", because I have trained myself to say "cup", which feels more refined. A nice cup of tea, not a coop of tea. Okay? And similarly, larger than a cup is a mug. That sort of thing is a mug, pronounced "mug", but in the Midlands, they say "moog", a "moog". "Do you want it in a coop or a moog?" Okay? That's how they would say it. And the word "up", "up", "look up", they would say: "Look oop", so that's another one. Similar. And in the Midlands also, and in other parts of the country, sometimes people are very friendly, and they call people "love". "Hello, love, how are you today?" They use it in the south, but of course in the Midlands and the north, they say: "luv", okay? So, the word "love" as well used when you're speaking to somebody in a friendly way: "Hello, love". "Love", "luv", they say "luv". Okay. Okay, so that's just a few examples of the Midlands and the Northern as well. The further north you go, you still get these, "bath", "paths", "cup", "mug", "love", "up", it's all very similar, really. So from the Midlands upwards. Okay, moving on, there is the West Country, which is over obviously to the west of England. Before you get to Wales, because Wales has its own accent, which is different again. The West Country, I can't really imitate that very well, but it... People sort of imagine it as a very sort of farming area, a kind of rural accent. And if... If you ever listen to a radio program called "The Archers" on the radio BBC Radio 4, they, some of the characters in that program-it's a little drama series-speak in this West Country accent. So, that's all I'm saying about West Country, because I can't imitate it. So, moving on, apart from England, the country that has given the language its name, "English", we have other countries. Scotland in the far north, Wales in the far west, and then Irish, the other island to the west, an island all on its own called Ireland, which is confusing. "Ireland" is the name of the country, and it is an island. And, of course, Britain, Scotland, and Wales is another island, because it has the sea all around it. So, each of these have their own accent again. So, with the Scottish accent, if a Scottish person with their Scottish accent says: "I don't know", they say: "Ah dinnae ken". Okay? So that means "I don't know". So: "Ah dinnae ken" is the... My accent isn't very good, but that... Those are the words that are used. "I don't know". Okay. And instead of saying "can't" or "cannot", they say "cannae". "You cannae be serious.", "You can't be serious." I think a tennis player used to say that, didn't he? If he was Scottish, he might have said: "You cannae be serious, man." So, "cannae" instead of "can't" or "cannot". Okay? So those are some examples of Scottish accent and dialect. And Scottish people also, instead of saying: "Yes", they say "Aye", so a-y-e means "yes". And they also, instead of saying: "Oh!", the exclamation: "Oh! Oh!" They say: "Och! Och!" and they make this sound in the back of their throat, which is like the German "ch" sound. So: "Och!" And they also have these large expanses of water, like big lakes, which are called lochs, so "loch". So: "Och! I fell in the loch!" And they also have a slightly different up and down in their voice as well. "Och! I fell in the loch! Och! I'm wet through!" So they have a certain way of speaking. If you've ever heard Sean Connery in a film, he changes his accent sometimes, but if you hear Sean Connery, he's a Scottish actor, speaking in his Scottish accent, you will get some idea of the Scottish sound. And also the younger actor, David Tennant, who also uses different accents, but sometimes he uses his native Scottish accent. Okay, right, so that's some Scottish examples, and I just need to clear some space again to give you just the last few examples. Okay. Okay, so just one more example for you. There are various cities, which have their own distinct accents. Okay? Places like Liverpool, which is up in the northwest; Birmingham, which is in the West Midlands; Newcastle, which is in the Northeast; and Glasgow up in Scotland. And I just would like to give you a few examples from the Birmingham accent. So, in Birmingham, if you say: "I'll, I'll be there", they actually, they change the vowel sound, and they say: "Oil", so it's like "oil". If they say: "Fine"... We say "fine", okay, but they say "foin", so like that. And the word for the cosmetics that you put on your face, which we call "makeup", makeup, all one word. When you make up your face, you're using makeup. They pronounce it: "Mycoop, mycoop". Okay? So it's like "my", "mycoop". "I'm going to buy some mycoop", instead of: "I'm going to buy some makeup". Okay. So that's just a few examples to show how a particular accent can change the vowel sound. Right, so having said all of this and given you some examples, just to come back to London briefly and any other big city, you get many, many accents in a big city; you get the accents from the people who live in that country, the national accents and the regional accents from different parts of the country, and you also get all the international accents from people who have come from other countries. Okay? So in any big city that you visit, you will hear many, many different accents. But there are three main things that really matter with accent. It doesn't really matter so much which accent you use, as long as you have these three things: Clarity, that's if you speak clearly. Okay? Pace or the speed, don't speak too quickly and you can ask other people to speak more slowly for you to understand them. And volume, sometimes people speak very quietly, and you need to ask them to speak more loudly, to speak up. Those are the three main things. Whatever your accent, don't worry too much about your accent, just try to be clear, don't speak too quickly, and speak with a good volume; not too quietly. Don't be so shy about making mistakes that you speak too quietly. Make it fairly loud. Okay, so I hope that little overview of U.K. accents has been useful for you. And if you'd like to test your knowledge, we have a quiz on the website, So if you'd like to go there and do the quiz, and if you'd like to subscribe to my channel on YouTube, that would be great. And so, thank you for watching and hope to see you again soon. Okay, bye.

See also


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External links

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