An audio tour of the accents of the British Isles

As always, I have no idea what to call that hunk of islands over there – sometimes I think they have as many names for themselves as Facebook has genders – but this is a very cool and quick survey of the various accents of England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and whatever else I’m missing.


What’s interesting is that even to an American ear, you can hear the differences, and many actually sound familiar (Torchwood fans will recognize the Welsh accent).

(I’m told that in order to better see my Facebook posts in your feed, you need to “follow” me.)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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18 Responses to “An audio tour of the accents of the British Isles”

  1. Icewaterchrist says:

    Very good, except Ireland is not a British Isle

  2. Just a history buff! says:

    The Channel Islands aren’t part of the UK. They are owned by the Crown, but as the remnants of the Duchy of Normandy (from when the English (yes, pre-unification with Scotland) monarchs used to own large swathes of France). Furthermore, the Channel Islands themselves are separate entities with their own systems of laws etc. Sark was still feudal until a few years ago.

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  4. UncleBucky says:


    I really think that the author of the film oughta start drinking tea instead of coffee…

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  6. emjayay says:

    That’s how I can tell if someone is from the Liverpool area. Do they sound like the Beatles?

  7. 2karmanot says:

    Some of us are old enough to remember the Post Office Riot. :-)

  8. Except, of course, I just got balled out by my friend Damian for including Ireland as part of the British Isles ;-)

  9. MyrddinWilt says:

    Its quite simple.

    British Isles is a geographic group that refers to all the Islands including Ireland and the Channel Isles.

    Great Britain is a political and geographic group that refers to the larger of the two main islands. GB is the political union of England, Scotland and Wales. The UK is GB, Northern Ireland and the Channel Isles.

    Ireland is a geographic entity, the second largest island of the British Isles and also refers to the Irish Republic or Southern Ireland.

    Depending on the sport, there can be teams from any of the groups. The British Isles has four teams in world cup competitions, the Irish team having players from the north and the south. In the Olympics the UK and Republic compete separately. But there is also a lot of fluidity across the borders. A very top Welsh football player might well play for England or Scotland so as to have a chance of being on a side likely to make the finals.

    The borders are not exactly well marked either. The border between Massachusetts and New Hampshire is a lot more apparent than the border between England and Wales.

  10. Indigo says:

    Good one!

  11. TampaZeke says:

    That was really cool. I wish the map would light up to indicate the area of the UK and Ireland that he’s demonstrating at the time.

  12. heimaey says:

    A great book on English is John McWhorter’s “Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue.” English grammar was highly influenced by Celtic languages, which was borrowed quite a bit from, but not so much vocabulary was borrowed. Fascinating read.

  13. 2patricius2 says:

    Thanks. This is quite informative.

  14. 2patricius2 says:

    I like it. A cousin of mine who has lived in Japan for years, and has traveled the world, visiting in various English speaking countries said one time that the one area where he could not understand English at all was a section of Scotland.

  15. Vicky says:

    ooo, he’s good!
    Oh, and this is a rather good explanation of the different geographic and political names involved for the landmass in question (even though it’s still pretty complicated!):

  16. Rick Roberts says:

    My goodness. I love that. I could eat them up. All of them.

  17. Jim Olson says:


  18. TonyT says:

    When he hit Liverpool it was dead on Paul McCartney.

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