Foreign language learners can find themselves in a fix if they encounter a local accent that is difficult to understand. It can definitely feel as though months or years of language study was done in vain, and in general be a frustrating experience. The fact is that English is spoken in many parts of the world, and native speakers themselves may not always understand a speaker whose origins are far removed from their own. There are ten accents you have to aware of, and perhaps with some practice, preparation, acclimation, you can feel more confident in your locale.
To be perfectly clear, when I say worst, it is somewhat of a sensational title. I really mean “hardest to understand.” I may be biased, but I am going to also state that neutral American, British and Canadian accents can be understood with relative ease. The difficulty arises when the language is adapted to local needs and the language tourist is unfamiliar with the area.
4. Australian. This depends. It can be a soft. pleasing, rounded accent not unlike your small town neighbor. If the person is not particularly well educated, it can be so broad and imprecise as to be a hindrance. The accent can be rough and tumble with some liberties taken with the vowels, like a ranch hand dancing just a little rough with a local girl at a barn dance. Overall, there is a happy medium, and it is not particularly difficult to adapt to, which is why it is only number four.
3. Indian. The common complaint is that this can seem stilted and artificial. What I personally love about the accent is that it is unfailingly correct. Indians, maybe one can even say, a broad sample from an entire subcontinent, unfailingly use good grammar and syntax. What I hear from others is that it can still be difficult to understand because of the clipped nature of the speech.
2. Cockney English. This is difficult in a legendary manner. There is an entire book, musical and movie devoted to this subject. Most famous is the movie adaptation of “My Fair Lady.”
1. Scottish. We love the Scots. We really do. However, if you plan on doing an immersion English class in Edinborough, be advised that this could be an exercise in frustration. Often difficult for even native speakers and Artificial Intelligence to understand, it can present some problems for the student of English.
English wouldn’t be half as fun without these variations. Take some time from your studies to enjoy them and try a few out for yourself.