How to talk like a REAL Londoner

Categories English By JadePosted on Format Film
How to talk like a REAL Londoner

Learn about the London street accent! English slang is often very different from grammatically correct English. The London street accent is no exception. This variety of English is called „Multicultural London English” by academics and „Jafaican” by people who dislike the accent. In this video, I explain some of the grammatical features of this way of speaking English and share with you some phrases and expressions. You may not wish to speak this way yourself because it is grammatically incorrect. However, if you visit London, you may encounter people who speak this way or overhear their conversations. It is interesting to compare textbook standard English to the English actually spoken in the real world by Londoners themselves, so watch this lesson to learn all about it!



Hi, everyone. I’m Jade. What we’re talking about today is the London accent, and it’s called „Multicultural London English” by linguists, but I’m going to call it „Real London English”. It’s the accent that a lot of people speak… Speak, like, if you come to London and you’re just walking around the street, you’re going to hear this accent a lot. Yeah? And I made a different video about this accent, all the words that you can use to sound like this, all the slang and stuff. I made… That’s a different video. But in this video I’m going to talk about the grammar, because you know what? A lot of people when they hear this kind of accent, they say: „Oh, that’s… That’s lazy speech or they’re not speaking correctly.” But actually this is a variety of English. It does has its own rules of pronunciation and grammar. It’s not like people just make it up themselves and they’re all just sounding a bit wrong. You know, it’s a… It’s a style of English, like you’ve probably heard of RP is a particular style, a posh style of English, this also has rules. So I’m going to tell you some of those rules.

What I’ll mention first is it’s a London accent, but the London accent you’ve probably heard of is Cockney English, and I would say that not so many people speak with a Cockney accent anymore if they’re… If they’re a youngish person, they don’t really speak with a Cockney accent. It’s kind of dying or is dead. And this accent has replaced it. But what we see in this accent is a lot of similar details that we have in the Cockney accent, so I’m going to tell you all about those similarities.

First I just want to talk generally about the qualities of this accent. What do you actually hear from this accent? So, the pace of the accent is quite slow, you don’t really rush what you’re saying. Although, if it’s in a hip hop track or a grime track and you’re listening to music, it can be really, really fast as well. But in general, the pace is slow. If you can, you got to make your voice lower. You got to speak from not high in your throat. You got to low… You got to lower what you’re saying, speak from your lungs, speak low. Keep it deep. Also, I’m going to say it’s sharply iambic, that means you go up, down, up, down. When you’re speaking it’s like there’s different steps in what you’re saying; stress, unstress, stress, unstress, stress, unstress. And I think that altogether it gives this a musical… A musical quality on my ears, anyway, as a native speaker. It’s not… It’s not a very harsh-sounding accent. It’s… Cockney on the… Cockney, on the other… On the other hand is a lot sharper and like spoken higher in the throat. Yeah? And it might be the kind of accent that gets on your nerves. No offence, Cockneys, I’m just making a comparison between the music of the two… Of the two varieties.

So, bearing this in mind, what are the actual rules of speaking like this? So, a „t” sound becomes a „d” sound at the beginning of words. So, instead of saying: „that” with a „t” at the end, it’s: „dat”; „there”, „dere”; „them”, „dem”; „then”, „den”. Also, these words here, I’ll say them in proper English: „something”, „nothing”, „anything”. Compare these to Cockney English: „somefink”, „nuffink”, „anyfink” because in Cockney English you change the „ing” to a „k”, and you change the „th” to an „f”, so in Cockney English it’s like that. „Somefink”, „nuffink”. But in this accent we’re putting a glottal stop in the middle of the word, so instead of saying: „something”, „su-in”, „nu-in”, „anytin”. So, it’s quite different to Cockney English in this respect, saying those words.

But it’s the same as Cockney English in that for both varieties, both these different accents we do something called „h” dropping, we don’t say the „h” all the time at the beginning of words. So, for example, the word „have” becomes „ave”. „Ave you seen dat? Ave you seen dat?” That was the word „that”. „Have you seen that?” Not grammatically-sounded English, but something that could be said in this variety.