To speak English fluently with a British accent, you need a lot of listening practice. Not just any old listening, you will need to listen to natural English speakers with variations in accent. Today we focus on a Welsh accent, but as the lesson explains, even Welsh has several accent variations. So listen to this podcast and test your English listening skills!
If you're struggling with understanding spoken English and want to learn how to speak English fluently, then you have found the perfect English lessons to help you. Adept English has a lot of high quality English audio lessons all designed to help you with speaking English.
Naturally our lessons are easy-to-understand. We take time to make sure we speak the words at a speed you, and English language learner, can follow what is being said and have time to understand it. We explain the difficult vocabulary and really break the guest speakers accent down into something even a beginner should be able to listen to and understand. We would describe the British accent used, as a South of England accent the accent you would hear spoken in London.
Tip: Stick with one accent in the early days it helps simplify the challenge when you listen to one speaker’s voice in one accent.
|An Accent Is
|Point Of Order
|Mocking An Accent
|Is Meant To
|So He Means
Hi and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. If you’re learning English, speaking is important but your English will improve first of all by listening to spoken English material. You have to understand well, before you can speak with any fluency and improve your spoken English.
One of the questions we’re asked a lot is about how to understand British accents. ‘Accent’ is spelt A-C-C-E-N-T – and accent means how you speak, the way that you say your words. And this is of course influenced by the place that you come from. An accent is noticeable, when it’s different from the more usual way of saying words, different from standard pronunciation or perhaps when it’s different to our own accents. An accent is very much part of the English we speak. So it’s likely as an English language learner, that when you speak English, you’ll have an accent from the country that you’re from. So if you are from France, you’ll speak English with a French accent, if you’re from Brazil, you’ll speak English with a Brazilian accent etc. And even if English is your first language, if you’re from Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and you’re somewhere else in the world – people will often know within the first few words, which country you’re from, because your accent is still distinctive! True of people from the UK of course, a well! Within the UK, there are also lots of accents. These accents are known as ‘regional accents’, because they come from a particular region of the UK.
Accent is part of our identity, but there are regional accents within the UK, that can be so strong – it makes it difficult for someone learning English to understand them. So it’s a good idea to do some practice understanding British accents. If you listen to Adept English regularly, you’ll perhaps be familiar with the podcast number 196 British Accent Practice Ep 196, which is one of our most listened to podcasts. In this podcast – have a listen to it, if you haven’t already – I use an example of a strong Scottish accent to show how difficult it can be to understand. And then I help you understand the accent, understand the words. If you have listened to this one – it’s got a man, standing in a river fishing in it!
So how about today we do some more British accent practice? And the accent I’m going to look at today is the South Wales accent. Or more specifically, this accent is from South West Wales. There’s some variation across even such a small area as South Wales – and if you have an ear from British accents, you might be abl e to tell the difference between some of them. I lived in south Wales for four years – I can tell the difference between a ‘Valleys accent’ and a ‘West Wales’ accent, but they do all sound similar. So this one is a good example of a South Wales accent.
We say a Welsh accent, or a ‘southern Welsh accent’, or a ‘South Wales accent’, but for some reason we probably wouldn’t say ‘a south Welsh accent’. So the man in this video is a British MP – that’s Member of the British Parliament – and he’s called Jonathan Edwards. He’s the Member of Parliament for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr.
This MP was born in Carmarthen in West Wales, so that his accent is local to the area that he serves as an MP. Now that 2nd placename there - ‘Dinefwr’ Dinfwr On The Map - a lot of people in the UK wouldn’t know how to pronounce that Welsh place name – DINEFWR. So ‘Dinefwr’ - I’m hoping I’ve got that right!
A photograph Dunraven Bay in Wales used to help show what Wales can look like in support of the learning English. Speaking in accents English lesson.
So here is the youtube clip for you to watch and listen to – and his words are included in the transcript. See if you can understand what he’s saying the first time through, without the transcript, without the written words. And then if you don’t understand it, don’t worry – I will go through it and make it easier for you to understand.
“Point of order Mr Jonathan Edwards” “Diolch yn fawr yawn, Mr Speaker. I’m extremely grateful to you for accepting this point of order. During the debate of the second reading of the finance bill yesterday, it was brought to my attention that a fellow member of this house, rather than engaging with the substance of the issue being discussed, chose to make disparaging remarks about my accent. This is unfortunately not the first incident of this kind in this place. There was a well documented incident a few weeks ago, involving a Scottish Member of Parliament, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, this house is meant to be representative of all the nations, accents and backgrounds of the British state and this kind of behaviour only serves to reinforce the privileged and exclusive perception of Westminster politics. Mocking an accent is a very serious matter, as it ultimately undermines an individual’s or a group of people’s identity. I would like to seek your advice as to whether this behaviour, that of a member mocking the accent of another member of this house, is befitting of this place. And can I put on record, Mr Speaker, that I am extremely proud to be Welsh and of my accent?”
So just how much of that did you understand? Just how difficult was that accent? Perhaps not as difficult as ths Scottish one from the other podcast. Now at this point, you may want to listen to it again with the transcript, the written version of this podcast, in front of you. You’ll find it our website at adeptenglish.com of course. This may help you. But understanding British accents is difficult, so I’ll break down this task of understanding a bit more.
Just before I do that, a word about our English speaking course Course One Activate Your Listening. What I do on that course, is very similar to what I’m doing in this podcast. I give you some spoken English which may be difficult to understand – and then I make it easier for you to understand it. On Course One Activate Your Listening Activate Your Listening Course, the spoken English might be difficult because some of it’s a conversation. But I go through it afterwards, sentence by sentence and through the vocabulary –to make it easy to understand. And then you can listen to the recording again fully understanding what you’re hearing and this is how to speak English fluently – by understanding first. And this is a very effective if you’re learning English. Speaking of Course One, if you haven’t bought it yet, then go to adeptenglish.com and have a look at our courses page.
So if I read out the transcript of what Jonathan Edwards said, that may make it easier. Then I’ll run through any vocabulary that you may not know. And then if you listen to the clip again, or maybe the whole podcast again, but certainly the clip, I think that you’ll understand some more of what he’s saying! Parts of it will fall into place.
“Diolch yn fawr yawn, Mr Speaker. I’m extremely grateful to you for accepting this point of order. During the debate of the second reading of the finance bill yesterday, it was brought to my attention that a fellow member of this house, rather than engaging with the substance of the issue being discussed, chose to make disparaging remarks about my accent. This is unfortunately not the first incident of this kind in this place. There was a well documented incident a few weeks ago, involving a Scottish Member of Parliament, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, this house is meant to be representative of all the nations, accents and backgrounds of the British state and this kind of behaviour only serves to reinforce the privileged and exclusive perception of Westminster politics. Mocking an accent is a very serious matter, as it ultimately undermines an individual’s or a group of people’s identity. I would like to seek your advice as to whether this behaviour, that of a member mocking the accent of another member of this house, is befitting of this place. And can I put on record, Mr Speaker, that I am extremely proud to be Welsh and of my accent?”
OK, so now I’ll run through the vocabulary.
So the first sentence ‘Dioch yn fawr yawn’ - that just means ‘thankyou very much’ in the Welsh language. Then he goes into English. ’I’m extremely grateful to you’ - ‘grateful’ is just another word for ‘thankful’. ‘I’m extremely grateful to you for accepting this point of order’. A ‘point of order’ is when someone in parliament draws attention to, highlights a breaking of the rules of the parliament. So someone has spoken in a way that they shouldn’t have here. He goes on ‘During the debate of the second reading of the finance bill yesterday’ - so ‘debate’, D-E-B-A-T-E is a discussion, usually where there are two sides, two opposing sides who disagree, but it works out what the issues are and perhaps arrives at a conclusion. And ‘the second reading of the finance bill’ - so ‘a bill’, B-I-L-L in parliament is a proposal to change a law – it’s how the change is presented, so that parliament can discuss it. And ‘finance’ F-I-N-A-N-C-E here, being used like an adjective means ‘to do with money’. A ‘second reading’ just means it’s the second time that the MPs have discussed the bill. He says ‘It was brought to my attention’ - that means the same as ‘someone told me’ and ‘a fellow member of this house’ - means ‘another MP’. ‘A fellow member of this house rather than engaging with the substance of the issue being discussed’ - so he means this other MP, instead of focusing on the issue that they were talking about, chose instead to ‘make disparaging remarks about my accent’. So this other person instead made negative comments about Jonathan Edward’s accent. ‘Disparaging remarks’ means negative, critical comments.
He says ‘This is unfortunately not the first incident of this kind, in this place’. So he means something similar has happened before, it’s happened previously. ‘In this place’ is a term used by MPs – meaning ‘in the House of Commons’, in the part of parliament, the Lower House where they are. If they’re talking about the Upper House, the House of Lords, they don’t call it that - they say instead ‘the other place’. It’s a tradition! He continues ‘There was a well documented incident a few weeks ago’. ‘Well documented’ – means that the incident was written about and spoken about a lot. And this other incident involved a Scottish MP. When he says ‘Mr Speaker’, this is the title of John Bercow Last Speaker of The House, and the Speaker’s job is to keep order in Parliament. Every MP addresses the Speaker as they talk. John Bercow has actually just stepped down from his position this week, and they’ve elected a new Speaker. Jonathan Edwards then continues ‘This house is meant to be representative of all nations, accents and backgrounds of the British state’ - so he means that parliament is meant to represent, to speak for all the nations – so that’s England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all the accents and all the backgrounds. ‘Background’ tends to mean ‘class’, social class, the different types of people in the UK.
He then says ‘And this kind of behaviour only serves to reinforce the privileged and exclusive perception of Westminster politics’. So he means that people acting in this way – that’s ‘this kind of behaviour’. ’reinforces the privileged and exclusive perception’ – so strengthens the image of Westminster politics as ‘privileged’. Here ‘privileged’ means the sense that only certain people are welcomed in politics. It’s ‘exclusive’ and therefore it ‘excludes’ people. That’s what he’s complaining about. So basically he’s objecting because he’s saying mocking someone’s accent makes them feel that they don’t belong, they don’t deserve to be an MP. And that would be wrong. He finishes ‘Mocking an accent is a very serious matter, as it ultimately undermines an individual’s or a group of people’s identity.’ So ‘mocking’ an accent – the verb ‘to mock’ M-O-C-K, means ‘to make fun of, to laugh at’. So he’s complaining that laughing at the way someone speaks is not OK. And he says ‘It ultimately undermines an individual’s or a group’s identity’. So it attempts to lessen the identity, the being of the person or people being mocked. Good point! Well said. I hate it, when someone from the UK mocks my northern accent. So I think he makes a good point. Don’t let anyone mock your accent! It’s a part of your identity and a good thing! He finishes by saying ‘I would like to seek your advice as to whether this behaviour, of a member mocking the accent of another member of this house, is befitting of this place.’ He’s asking there ‘Is it OK to do this here?’ - and of course, it’s clear that Jonathan Edwards doesn’t think it is, but he wants the Speaker of the House to say something about it. Then Jonathan Edwards ends by saying he is of course extremely proud to be Welsh and proud of his accent. Good on him! If you listen to the rest of the video, the Speaker says that Jonathan Edwards ‘has a magnificent accent’.
Now the important thing about this podcast is not so much the vocabulary, although we have covered some useful words about parliament there. The purpose here is more to give you practice with the South Wales accent. With this accent, it’s more the intonation, the different stresses on the syllables that you might find difficult. It’s quite a tuneful, musical accent even, you might find – it goes up and down in different places to my accent. So it would be good now to for you to play this podcast again – possibly several times – and listen again to this Welsh MP speak English. Conversations of this kind can be hard to follow, but see if you can follow the meaning of what he’s saying because you’ve ‘unpacked’ it with me, you’ve understood some of the vocabulary. It will mean that you’ve practiced with a British accent and that if you meet someone from South Wales, you’ll be more prepared. Let us know what you think of this podcast, whether it’s helpful, and if you want us to do more of these with different accents. And if you go to the transcript, you can find the link to the video on YouTube as well and watch the whole thing.
So if you’re learning English, speaking is important, but remember to do lots and lots of English listening. Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
And if you would like more practice with the South Wales accent, here is another YouTube clip – with subtitles to help you.