I went down to Cornwall for my sister’s wedding a few days ago and heard some interesting English accents on the way. While waiting on Bristol station, for example, I heard some people talking in unfamiliar accents that might have been Bristolian. At first I wasn’t sure what language they were speaking – it certainly didn’t sound like English. After listening to it a bit more I realised that it was English after all, but I had to listen for carefully to make out what they were saying. It sounded very fast with a lot of elision.
Have you ever heard someone talking in what sounds like a foreign language only to realise later that it’s actually a language you know?
The announcements on railway stations in the UK are usually in RP English which has been pre-recorded and is then spliced together as necessary. So the way the Cornish place names were pronounced by the station announcements sounded quite different to the way they were pronounced by the Cornish conductor on the train. I really like Cornish accents and acquired bits of one myself while I was there, even though I only stayed for a long weekend.
Yesterday I went the dentist, and while I was chatting to the dental hygienist she detected a Welsh accent in my English and switched to Welsh. So we continued talking in Welsh and she was surprised when I told her that I’m not a native speaker as she’d assumed. Apparently I have a mid-Wales accent in Welsh.