The U.K. is one of the most diverse countries for accents, in fact, it is estimated there are 56 different British English accents heard across the island.
When deciding on the best British accent for your voice over project, it’s helpful to recognise the differences between each.
To effectively communicate their message to their intended audience, it is important that companies and producers invest in localising audio-visual material.
In this guide from GoLocalise, we will introduce you to some of the different British accents, their origins, location, and examples of famous people who have the accent.
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Different British English Accents
There are many variations of the British English accent, and sometimes, the distinction between the accents is only a few miles geographically.
Below, we’ve listed different British English accents along with descriptors of each to help you gain a better understanding of how the dialects differ along with some common colloquialisms.
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Scottish English refers to the groups of accents spoken throughout Scotland. In Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, locals speak with a heavy, Scottish English accent.
The Scottish Gaelic roots are what define the accent, which is characterized by a glottal stop, whereby the sound of ‘t’ is often omitted in spoken words.
Ewan McGregor, Lewis Capaldi, and Rose Leslie are all Scottish natives.
The North east of England is home to the City of Newcastle which is famous for its geordie accent.
Known as geordies, the accent is very strong with many slang words. It can also sound quite rhythmic in parts.
Much of the geordie accent is heard through words ending in ‘er’ where an ‘a’ is used instead. For example, better would be pronounced as ‘betta’.
Cheryl Cole, Ant and Dec, and Sam Fender are some of the famous people from Newcastle.
Still in the north of England, you’ll hear another regional accent known as Yorkshire.
Named after the area it’s heard in, a Yorkshire accent has many similarities to that of geordie, including the accentuation of vowel sounds. You’ll typically hear the accent in Leeds, York, and Sheffield.
Jeremy Clarkson, Alex Turner, and Kimberly Walsh all hail from Yorkshire.
Scouse is the name given to the accent of Liverpool. Though not everybody from Liverpool has the accent, many people do and are known as ‘scousers’.
A scouse accent is very unique sounding, as heard through the pronunciation of consonants ‘t’, ‘k’, and ‘r’s.
Celebrities who have the scouse accent include Stephen Graham, Paul McCartney, and Melanie C.
The Brummie accent belongs to those from Birmingham, who speak in the local dialect.
As one of the more distinct accents in the United Kingdom, Brummies typically place emphasis on the letter ‘r’ which is slightly rolled. The letter ‘y’ also is often pronounced as a n ‘e’, especially at the end of words such as ‘friendly’.
In the popular TV series, Peaky Blinders, which is set in Birmingham, you can get a better idea of the Brummie accent. Protagonist ‘Tommy Shelby’ has a strong Brummie accent.
The Welsh English accent is heard in certain parts of Wales, including Cardiff and is quite melodic, and is often compared to singing due to the way vowel sounds are stretched out by Welsh English speakers.
Like the Brummie accent, the Welsh English ‘r’ is also rolled a little bit. Christian Bale and Tom Jones are two celebrities with the accent.
Irish English is commonly heard in the North of Ireland. The Irish English accent is very strong and can be pretty difficult to understand. Vowels are typically softened, ‘r’s are emphasised, and ‘g’s are usually dropped altogether. Colin Farrell, who starred in the Banshees of Inisherin, has an Irish English accent that is very prominent.
Cockney, is the name given to a common accent deriving from East London. The letter ‘r’ is usually pronounced as an ‘a’ and ‘t’ and ‘k’ are generally omitted from the middle of words. For example, ‘Scottish’ would be pronounced as ‘Sco’ish’.
In the TV series, Eastenders, many of the locals have a Cockney accent.
Another accent typically heard in London and the surrounding areas is Queen’s English. It’s often associated with those of a higher class and focuses on pronouncing words the proper way.
The Royal Family speak in the Queen’s English.
While Manchester is known worldwide for football, the Manchester or Mancunian accent is even more recognizable. Manchester accent is localized and well-known due to its influence on television, movies, and pop culture.
The North Manchester accent is usually spoken in a rustic dialect. On the other hand, people living in the south of the region speak in a refined and sophisticated accent.
Best British English Accent for a Voice-Over
Deciding on the best British English accent for a voice-over will completely depend on the project type. However, it is always important to consider your audience.
For example, if you are creating content for a non-British audience, you should be mindful of how strong some British accents can be. Or, if you want to cast a perfect villain, choose a British Accent, historically associated with iconic movie villains.
We advise that you carefully assess the best possible voice over accent for your project by asking yourself this important question.
For any voice over project, GoLocalise is the best choice as London’s leading voice over agency. We work with a range of voice over professionals in the London area, and have options for the various British voice over accents, as listed above.
You can consult with our dedicated team who are happy to provide advice or answer any questions that you may have.
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