E.g. I hardly can understand Scottish accent. Need a region where people speak so that I can understand them.

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    "Neutral" is a bit misleading in this context. Obviously from the perspective of a "broad dialect" speaker, the way they speak is "neutral", and it's everyone else who "talks funny". We still have some RP ("received pronunciation") / "BBC English" speakers (well under 5% of the total, I'd guess), but they're not really geographically isolated. My guess is that native Anglophones are probably a minority now in London, so you'll encounter an awful lot of "accents" there - just not so many "authentic" regional accents. Apr 3, 2019 at 16:08
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    "I hardly can understand Scottish accent" - In Britain, we say that you know you're talking to a member of the Glasgow mafia if he makes you an offer you can't understand. Apr 3, 2019 at 16:46
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    @FumbleFingers - My guess is that native Anglophones are probably a minority now in London I can't resist asking: did you hear that at a Ukip rally? According to the 2011 census, 92.3 per cent of people (49.8 million) aged three and over in England and Wales reported English as their main language (English or Welsh in Wales). In London, this dropped to 77.9%. Apr 3, 2019 at 16:59
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    @MichaelHarvey: It's a good few years since that census, since when the population has increased quite a bit (primarily with more "non-native Anglophones"). And to the extent that the figures might not be 100% accurate (which they definitely aren't), people would be more likely to claim English as their "main" language even if it's not their native language. And I've no idea how many illegal immigrants might not have been counted, but almost none of those would be native Anglophones. Probably / possibly - I reckon it's at least close to a 50-50 split now. Apr 3, 2019 at 17:15
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    FumbleFingers, I get the distinct impression we'd better not discuss politics. All these illegal-immigrant-census-liars with their foreign accents! Most "illegal immigrants" are white people who overstay a visa, mostly from the USA and Canada, Australia, NZ, and South Africa. Apr 3, 2019 at 17:49

1 Answer 1


Everyone has an accent. There's no such thing as a neutral accent. However, there are some accents which are considered "standard", being closest to the pronunciations you find in dictionaries and using grammar and vocabulary that are considered standard.

Things is, they aren't just based on geography. It's based on class culture and education as well. "Educated" people from middle class backgrounds have a more standard accent and dialect than people from the same area, anywhere in England. The nearest you get to 'standard' tends to be middle class "educated" people in the Home Counties, which is to say the counties nearest to London. I would say that the best bet for what you want would be Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Berkshire and Surrey.

  • I have a lot of relatives by (my father's second) marriage, middle class, in Surrey and Sussex, and I was taken aback to discover how many of them have a distinctly Estuary delivery. Apr 3, 2019 at 18:34
  • A neutral accent is one which you cannot identify with any region. Apr 3, 2019 at 18:38
  • @MichaelHarvey true enough. The regional and class variation is smoothing out with time (or generations). I'd expect estuary in Sussex (and Kent and Essex), and parts of Surrey.
    – SamBC
    Apr 3, 2019 at 18:47
  • @WeatherVane That would only be RP, and it would be hard to find any part of the country where that was dominant.
    – SamBC
    Apr 3, 2019 at 18:48
  • Yes, but RP still has an edge of the old "BBC accent". A neutral accent has no trace of that. Apr 3, 2019 at 18:49

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