the most "British" British English

Non Suspicious Damian   Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:40 am GMT
Yes, Norway is a geographically large country, especially from north to south, so the range of accents/dialects must be quite extensive. Has Oslo got a distinctive local accent like most capital cities do? I would guess that it has.

The same goes for Sweden.....I would guess that Stockholm has its own local accent, probably quite different from Gothenburg, down there at the bottom looking across over to Denmark.

As I said in my earlier post, we can roughly guess from whereabouts in Europe people come by their accent when speaking English. A French speaking person is more or less instantly recognised (but of course, s/he could well come from Belgium, or Luxembourg, or perhaps Switzerland as far as I'm concerned anyway...I couldn't pinpoint exactly on that one.

And a German speaking person, who also has a distinct accent in English, could, apart from Germany itself, come from Austria or, again, Switzerland...or, yet again, perhaps Luxembourg!

The Dutch have a very identifiable accent as well when they speak English - but could we be listening to a Fleming from Belgium? Who knows unless they tell us, or we overcome our "suspicion" (!) and actually ask them? Och no! We are never that bold.......(if you believe that then you believe that the moon is made of gorgonzola). Some Dutch people, though, speak English SO WELL that their accents could be mistaken for standard RP English English, as I found out when I was in Amsterdam a couple of years ago.

Scandinavians are also identifiable...remember, we have in our midst here the lovely (and randy...ask the equally lovely Swedish lassie Ulrika Johnsson) Swede....Sven Goran Ericsson. You know he is a Scandinavian by the very, very distinctive way he speaks English....with that quite cute up and down rather drawn out lilting way all Scandinavians speak. We are not really capable of identifying exactly where in Scandinavia they come from......Sven could well come from Norway as far as we're concerned, but of course a Norwegian, hearing Sven speak English, would immediately know that he is a Swede. I would never be able to pinpoint where in Scandinavia the speaker came from.

Again, like the Dutch, some Scandinavians have English speaking accents that could be mistaken for British. Ulrika is one of them..she could well have been born and bred in the Home Counties of England. The same goes for Sandi equally lovely and highly voluble Dane. Both ladies are permanently resident in England now anyway, and the checkout operators at Sainsbury's or Waitrose would have no idea that they were Scandinavians and therefore do not have suspicion arousing accents. (That sounds as if it's out of some sort of espionage novel doesn't it?) :-)

Isn't Europe one heck of any interesting place for all sorts of reasons!
greg   Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:53 pm GMT
Uriel : « I can't imagine that one British accent is "more" British than another. »

Uriel, rassure-moi : c'était pas du sarcasme ?!

Jason   Sat Mar 18, 2006 11:29 pm GMT
When most non-Brits think of a "British accent" they're thinking of the RP which is used by certain actors in epic or classic films or perhaps the RP that many BBC anchorpersons use. THAT, to many people is the "most British" of british accents. What these people DON"T know is that extremely few people speak that way in everyday life. Without getting into an in-depth analysis of how various people in variouys parts of Britain speak, let's just say that there is a lot of variety both on a geographic, on a socioeconimic, and on an educational basis. Thus, in everyday life (outside of movies), there really is no "most British" accent.
lu   Sun Mar 19, 2006 5:40 am GMT
So Jason, can I ask you a question?

If one person speaks like those BBC anchorpersons in daily life, will ordinary British people consider him weird or strange??
Jason   Sun Mar 19, 2006 6:08 am GMT
First of all, sorry for the typos (various, don't, British...)

Secondly, to respond to your question Lu, the answer is YES. Many British people have remarked on my RP accent. I was waiting to get into a popular London nightclub one Saturday night (July 2, 2005) and I got into a conversation with a young man behind me about the lenghth of the queue (and later we spoke about the concert in Hyde Park he had attnded earlier that day). Anyway, we had barely started speaking when he asked me "Where are you from? You have a posh accent". I'm actually from Greece and what the Brits call a "posh" accent is to me simply the Standard Received English I learned in school. I spoke to a girl I met online on the phone a few weeks ago who lives in the Newcastle area. She said that I can't use that accent if I'm planning on visiting the Northeast of England - I just CAN'T! She said that NO ONE in Northern England talks that way and that if I were to use that type of speech up there, especially in working class areas, I would literally be putting my life and limb at risk! She said that if I were to go up to Scotland they wouldn't even understand me. (An English boy was beaten to death in Scotland a few years ago by Scottish boys because they did not like his accent! - This was in the newspaper).

So, to answer your question: <<If one person speaks like those BBC anchorpersons in daily life, will ordinary British people consider him weird or strange??>>

The answer is a clear, definite and unambiguous YES!

Lu, the accent situation in Britain is still grim. Once, while travelling in France, I met a group of youths from Preston (near Manchester) who told me that when they go to London they are treated like lepers as soon as people hear their accent. Personally, I think this is really sad and unfair. I think that people should speak how they want and not be judged but what do I know? I'm just some stupid foreigner...

I wish I could say that you could go anywhere in Britain (or at least in England) and speak RP withoput attracting attention (at least not negative attention), but, sadly that is not the case. On the bright side, there are a few Brits here and there who really appreciate RP and who embrace me and my speech but these people by no means constitute any kind of majority. However, they are among the nicest people I have met in my travels. Maybe the rest are just jealous? Who knows?
lu   Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:36 am GMT
wow, things are that bad in England. I never heard of such things before.

thanks you Jason, your answer are really helpful. next time I want to ask native british people this question to see what their response is.
Alicia, to Greg   Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:36 am GMT
Cher Greg,

Pourquoi écrivez-vous tout le temps en français, même dans la section de ce forum spécifiquement pour la discussion de l'anglais en anglais?

1. C'est impoli de répondre en français quand on vous écrit on anglais, et quand tout le monde ici se parle en anglais. C'est vrai: certains de nous ont étudié le français mais il y a encore ceux qui ne comprennent pas votre langue (et cela ce n'est pas une question d'ignorance: peut-être ils ont choisi d'apprendre une autre "deuxième langue").

2. Je voudrais vous faire remarquer une règle de ce forum: D'après "About the Antimoon Forum" (, "If you want to post to this forum, you must agree that you will not post... (8) Messages in languages other than English to the English forum." Je sais bien que vous comprenez l'anglais et donc que vous pourriez comprendre cette règle au dessus.

3. Et ouais...enfin, vous comprenez l'anglais, n'est-ce pas, monsieur?

Translation, almost a direct one (to avoid hypocrisy):

Dear Greg,

Why do you write all the time in French, even in the section of the forum specifically for the discussion of English in English?

1. It's impolite to reply in French when one writes to you in English, and when everyone here communicates in English. True: some of us have studied French but there are still those who don't understand your language (and it's not a question of ignorance: perhaps they chose to study another "second language").

2. I would like to point out to you a rule of this forum: According to "About the Antimoon Forum" (, "If you want to post to this forum, you must agree that you will not post... (8) Messages in languages other than English to the English forum." I know very well that you understand English and should therefore be able to understand the above rule.

3. And the end, you do understand English, don't you, mister?
Guest   Sun Mar 19, 2006 9:55 am GMT
Parce que c'est un petit con.
Damian in Edinburgh   Sun Mar 19, 2006 1:33 pm GMT

***Pourquoi écrivez-vous tout le temps en français, même dans la section de ce forum spécifiquement pour la discussion de l'anglais en anglais?***

You are wasting your time raising this issue with our French friend, cher's a pointless exercise, like beating a dead dog as you will see if you care to look back through some previous threads reminding him that this is an English Language forum. Cher Greg suffers from chronic Anglophobia. But when you read what Jason has just said in his post, it really makes you wonder if his antagonism may well be justified!

Yes the UK does have problems with an underclass yob culture - it would be stupid to deny it, but like everything of this nature it is a case of the negative minority getting all the pubilicity. That's a whole social issue ball game, but personally I've never heard of anybody getting beaten up over the way they speak. If that Scottish incident occurred as you said, then I believe you but I don't remember reading about it.

Never once have I encountered real hostility anywhere in England because of my Scottish accent. Teasing and piss taking yes, but nothing life threatening and that's for sure.

I went to the North East of England (Newcastle) for my first uni interview in 2000 and had two great night outs in Geordieland and never once met with any hostility or unfriendliness. But there again, my accent is Edinburgh Scottish and not "posh Southern RP", and Edinburgh Scottish is not altogether unfamiliar in Geordieland. Maybe the whole outcome would have been different if I had appeared snobby and arrogant and speaking in a plummily posh super duper RP Posh Southern England English English while in a typically friendly down to earth Geordieland pub......and supping Pimms.
Alicia   Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:40 am GMT
To Damian:

Certainly, I understand, Damian. I might have been wasting my time, heh. I do hope, however, that my approach differed slightly from those of others who've "reminded Greg". I did, for instance, write in French to show my appreciation of the language :)

Oh well, I'm a new member here and I'm not really familiar with this forum's more peculiar bunch.

As for whether Greg's antagonism may be justified: Yes, I suppose it might be, but dislike for a country doesn't have to equate to dislike for its language! Just to give an example, lots of Chinese don't like Japan (historical reasons, i.e. WWII), but Japanese remains the second most popular foreign language - after English - in China and its "claimed territories".

And finally, I LOVE writing in French and any other foreign language that I might know. I have posted in French in French forums and I liked the experience!! I just hope that people like Greg would reciprocate my passion for their languages, especially in an English language forum. It all comes down to courtesy and mutual respect, really!
greg   Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:58 am GMT
Alicia : tu ne me connais pas, alors je vais me présenter. Je suis passionné par les langues et j'en parle 3 — français, anglais et allemand. Avec quelques efforts, je pourrais parvenir à me faire comprendre en espagnol et en italien. Je fréquente Antimoon depuis quelques mois et je suis un habitué. J'utilisais l'anglais avant la restructuration de ce forum suite à un piratage de grande ampleur.

La raison pour laquelle je *REFUSE* d'utiliser l'anglais sur ce site — dans la section monolingue & dans la section multilingue — n'a absolument rien à voir avec la politesse ou l'impolitesse. En fait, c'est un signe de *PROTESTATION* contre la façon dont Antimoon a été restructuré : anglais vs le reste. Je pense qu'il aurait été plus habile et plus productif de créer davantages de sections dévolues à d'autres langues. Voilà tout.

Enfin, pour conclure, sache que j'utilise aussi l'allemand pour m'exprimer sur Antimoon. Französisch oder Deutsch sondern kein Englisch, so lange die Aufteilung in einsprächigem und mehrschprächigem Unterbereichen ist nicht weg.
Fredrik from Norway   Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:09 pm GMT
Yes, Oslo (and the surrounding area) has a distinct local dialect.
Although Oslo people will claim that this is a Norwegian standard, that is by no means true.
Damian in Edinburgh   Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:39 pm GMT
Thanks for that info, Fredrik.

I suppose the people of any capital city will claim some sort of superiority over mere provincials, whether it's the local accent or "cultured" lifestyle! I know that we in Edinburgh have this tendency to "look down on the lesser mortals in the rest of Scotland...mere rustics", while all the while forgetting the inevitable downside side of life in any city. Glasgow may be larger but we are...well, just capitally superior! :-)
lu   Tue Mar 21, 2006 10:15 am GMT
I totally agree with you Damian
Same situation in my country.
People of big cities tend to look down on those of minor ones.
Uriel   Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:37 pm GMT
Greg: one would hope, eh? ;) But who knows....

Alicia: greg writes in English -- very good English -- when he wants. Right now he doesn't want. C'est la vie.