English Language

The national language of the UK is English which is also considered to be the world’s international language and is spoken by around 1.5 billion people.  As the place of origin for the Language the UK population speaks it with no problems, although as a foreigner you may find it hard to understand. The way in which the language is spoken varies from region to region with most county’s having their own dialects. For example a British person from the South could find it difficult to understand a broad Northern accent.

Americans may find the regional accents hard to understand and particularly have difficulty understanding the famous British skill of sarcasm. Spelling and pronunciation are also different with folk from both sides of the Atlantic claiming that theirs is the correct way.  (The right way is the UK way by the way.)

Cockney is the main London accent and probably the most recognised, as it can be observed in its full glory in the BBC’s popular soap-opera Eastenders, and a plethora of British gangster movies. For a Northern England accent check out Coronation Street. Other major cities which have strong accents include Liverpool and Newcastle. Colloquially known as ‘Scouse’ (Liverpool) and ‘Geordie’ (Newcastle), these accents are extremely tricky for the untrained ear and are accompanied by a bewildering range of vocabulary.

‘Standard English’ (or ‘BBC English’ as it is colloquially known) is that which is spoken on the television and radio news. Those who speak it like to think of it as ‘proper English’.

Other UK languages

There are a few other languages commonly spoken in parts of the UK. These include Welsh in Wales (if your child attends a welsh school they will have to learn the language), Gaelic in Scotland, Irish in Northern Ireland, and (rarely) Cornish in Cornwall. As the UK has become a multicultural society there is a good chance you will encounter languages from all over the world as well, with the huge influx of eastern European and Asians over the past decade those dialects are very common in most urban areas.