Learning to speak English (well Northern English)

It might be strange to some people when I say I don’t always understand English. How can that be ? It’s your native language.

Yes but it seems that English has such varied and diverse accents and ways of speaking. I have travelled to the US, Canada, South Africa, Hong Kong and Australia. I have been able discuss and understand people, although there are times I have had to ask people to repeat.

I remember a South African customs official ask me a question, and I had to ask him to repeat twice until I finally grasped that he was asking if I had any fruit or vegetables.

It’s not just the accent. It’s also the grammatical structure of sentences which we could perceive as being plain incorrect but they happen to be the way English has developed in that particular region.

Here in Manchester, that doesn’t seem to be the case for most sentences I don’t understand. It is more related to the accent. Often in East Manchester it sounds much more Lancashire/Yorkshire than a typical Mancunian accent. The one phrase I am getting used to now is ‘See you later’. For me, see you later is when you are going to see the person again, the same day. Here however everyone seems to use it as the general goodbye.

I suppose I will come across more typical expressions as time goes by. Until then, I need to listen carefully to my neighbours to make sure I understand them correctly.

Until then, it seems I have maintained my Welsh accent. Several people have already pointed it out to me !





2 thoughts on “Learning to speak English (well Northern English)

  1. Good luck! I moved from the south of england to the north when I was a teenager and it took me a while getting used to the accents!

    1. Thanks. I’m sure I will as I love listening to different accents and how people talk. I find it so fascinating. It’s just in the meantime I keep saying ‘sorry ! ‘

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