Which English accent is the hardest to understand for you?

Englishman in New York   Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:02 am GMT
If you are a native speaker of English, which accent is the hardest to understand of the followings?

A) RP / Queens English
B) Cockney / Typical Londoner
C) Scottish
D) Welsh
E) Irish
F) Canadian
G) General American
H) Southern Accent (American)
I) Ebonics / African American Vernacular English
J) Austarlian / Aussie
K) New Zealand / Kiwi
L) South African

Mine is C) the Scottish farmers' accent and I) strong AAVE.
What about you?

Have you ever had a hard time to understand native speakers' English accent?
Carissa   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:11 am GMT
Pure Ebonics and some parts of Welsh and Scottish.
Keep in mind though, that the more you hear the accent, the more you will understand it.
Guest   Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:53 am GMT
Guest   Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:54 am GMT
Hey, you forgot Indian and Carribean.
Milton   Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:53 pm GMT
Geordie and Scouse.
Damian in Dun Eidann   Tue Jan 08, 2008 3:27 pm GMT
I can only speak for the British accents in the list provided by the Englishman in New York.

You can take a tour of the UK map, click on any of the green dots and follow all links to hear the whole gamut of British accents in all their glory (or otherwise, depending on opinion) and then you can make your own mind up on intelligibility. It goes without saying you must have your audio switched on.

For those outside of the UK not familar with our geographical set up, Scotland is that bit at the top of the main island, Wales is that bit further down on the main island with two arms reaching out into the sea leftwards, and England is the main chunk remaining. . Northern Ireland is that wee bit right at the top right of the other sizeable island floating about to the left of the rest of us.


Click on Scouseland (that little collection of green dots on the left of the main land just above the Wales bit and see if you agree with me that Scouse (Liverpool/Merseyside/Wirral) is pretty dreich. I'm in a wee bit of a Scouse bashing mood. :-)

Why would you never knock over a Scouser on a bike?
The bike might be yours.

Why is it not unusual to see Scousers in a pub at 4am?
They've broken in.
Jethro   Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:56 pm GMT
I have trouble understandin the suits from Londonways.
Brian   Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:09 pm GMT
Thick Scottish accents can be quite difficult for me, a speaker of something quite close to General American. The other ones I have no problem with...usually.
Guest   Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:14 pm GMT
Definitely American English

It always sounds like they are talking with a hot potato or chewing gum in their mouth
Guest   Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:26 pm GMT
<<Definitely American English

It always sounds like they are talking with a hot potato or chewing gum in their mouth>>

You must not be a native speaker then...
Guest   Wed Jan 09, 2008 10:39 pm GMT
No, I'm not, does that matter?
Guest   Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:13 pm GMT
Obviously native speakers can't be aware of this fact, it's like when you are in the lavatory, you never smell your products.
Lo   Wed Jan 09, 2008 11:53 pm GMT
H is really hard to understand to me, especially really strong southern accents, deep south I'm talking about. I find it easier understanding RP than Southerners at times.
I'm not all that familiar with Australian and Kiwi accents, but all the Australian I've heard was quite understandable.
I've never heard Welsh or South African.
Naturally, General American and Canadian don't cause any trouble to me.
Guest   Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:35 am GMT
Some kiwi accents are tough.
Legend   Thu Jan 10, 2008 2:09 pm GMT
You can't just lump them into "Scottish," "Irish" etc. The thing about the UK is that accents vary from town to town and even different locations with in a city. For instance, I can understand almost everyone I've met from Scotland but throw in a couple people from Glasgow and I have to strain to understand them and have to have them repeat what they say. Thats not saying all Scottish accents are hard to understand, just one of them. Sometimes the same goes for all the other accents, American ones included.