Where’s that accent from?

I always had a unique sense of style.

I always had a unique sense of style.

I don’t have an accent.

That always starts an argument over here.

“Yes you do!” people say. “You have a British accent. You sound different to us Canadians.”

And that’s true enough. But people don’t often say “Is that a British accent?”  They say “Where’s that accent from?” and when I say “The UK.”, they say “Oh yeah? London?”

Because, you know, most of the UK is covered in London. Except for the bit that is Scotland.

We went to Scotland once. It was shut.

We went to Scotland once. It was shut.

Anyway, when I say no, it’s not London, people ask where exactly it’s from. And I sigh, and say “It isn’t from anywhere. I don’t have an accent.”

I don’t have a REGIONAL accent, is what I mean. I was born Oop North, and grew up talking like this   but when I was still quite young, we moved down south, where everyone spoke very differently. With only my brother sharing my peculiar way of speaking, I quickly adapted to a more moderate accent. I say “glass” with a long “a”, like in “Darcy”, rather than “passive”. When I say “castle”, it rhymes with “parcel”, not “hassle”. I may have picked up the Hampshire accent, but it’s not really very regionally distinct, so I can’t be sure.

I lived in Portsmouth for a while. Some parts are damper than others.

I lived in Portsmouth for a while. Some parts are damper than others.

The UK is rich with regional accents, and it’s quite amazing to consider the variation over such a small area. I still don’t understand the Canadian need to pin down a specific location, when so many of the people who are asking haven’t been to the UK, and (more importantly) don’t share any of our own regional prejudices.


5 responses to “Where’s that accent from?

  1. davidlrattigan

    Upload some audio of you speaking some time. I love listening to and analysing accents.

  2. When I lived in Portugal, I would pick up bits and pieces of the local accents. This tendency would confuse the locals, who would never believe I was an American. I had to be from Germany, Brazil, the UK, but never the good ol’ US of A. When I lived in the West, my East coast accent (which is much milder than most) branded me a stranger in their midst.

    Silly people, accents are harbingers of fun!

  3. You definitely don’t have a Hampshire accent. On the other hand, neither does the girl in the youtube clip to which you linked.
    In any case, there are (to my ear) at least two distinct Hampshire accents. The first one is he coastal strip – Southampton and Portsmouth. The test for this accent is to say “Fire in Totton”. This comes out as “foier in To’on”.
    The second accent highlights a mistake by Peter Sellers! He starts talking about Devon and Cornwall and then does an impression of John Arlott. Arlott came from Basingstoke; that’s a north Hampshire accent.

  4. I am an Indian and I love the British Accent (I know there’s nothing like british accent and there are several regional accent ) but I really adore this accent.I am so passionate that I started teaching myself to talk like an Englishmen (with the help of youtube videos) .I wish I get a job in UK. You’re lucky and you should be proud of it.

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