Introduction to World Englishes - Resource Guide 5

Today's newsletter is our fifth Resource Guide, and it's for teaching about World Englishes. 

Why this topic is useful

World Englishes is a common topic for beginner classes. It's a way of connecting linguistics to students' experience with the English language, and to expand their perspectives on how different regions and populations speak English.

Videos & Podcasts: Explanations & Demonstrations

  • Sounds of New Zealand English - DRESS vowel
    An introduction to the distinctive DRESS vowel. Includes voice-over images. Half of the video is demonstration of this vowel in a variety of words, the other half is an explanation of the production and comparison to other varieties of English. One of a series on New Zealand English. Length: 6m19s. Captions: English (human-edited).

  • UK / US / South African English Vocabulary Differences
    A video comparing eight words that differ in UK, US, and South African English, such as trainers/sneakers/takkies. One speaker of each, who seem to all be English teachers in Korea. Length: 12m07s. Captions: Korean (human-edited), English (auto-generated). 

  • Talking Canadian (documentary)
    An older and slightly cheesy but good documentary about how Canadian English has changed and continues to change. Length: 43m32s. Captions: automatically generated. 

  • Lingthusiasm Podcast - Speaking Canadian and Australian English in a British-American binary
    This episode focuses on two major varieties of English: Australian and Canadian. Transcript available.
    Segment: 16:20-19:30: This segment covers a quick overview of how and why dialects of Canadian English differ.
    Segment: 23:42-25:28: This segment discusses how dialect quizzes and lexical maps tend to be for British and/or American Englishes.

  • LangFocus - How Are British English and American English Different? 
    An on-screen narrator explains the differences between British English and American English, including vocabulary, accent, spelling changes, and verb tenses. Includes helpful graphics as he lists the differences. Length: 11m48s. Captions: English, Arabic, Catalan, Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish (human-edited).

  • 10 Foods Brits and Indians Pronounce Differently
    Indian-British YouTuber talks about 10 Indian foods and how his family versus his friends pronounce their names. Length: 7m34. Keywords onscreen. Captions: English (auto-generated, does okay on the words in British English but struggles a lot on the Indian English words).

  • TEDx (Lynne Murphy) - American and British Politeness
    A standard TEDx-style talk from Lynne Murphy on her work comparing British and American dialects of English through the lens of politeness theory. Length: 17m57s. Captions: English, Chinese, French, Japanese (human-edited).

  • David Pakman Show - American English is Changing Fast
    William Labov is interviewed about his work on, and opinions about, American English dialects and how/why they continue to change. Length: 19m06s. Captions: English and 10 other languages (human-edited).

Fun Videos About Accents:

  • ABC News - Why the Aussie accent is so hard
    An interesting perspective on describing the Australian accent(s) and why people seem to have so much more difficulty learning to imitate them. Features an interview with dialect coach and professor Leith McPherson. Length: 7m20s. Captions: English (human-edited).

  • WIRED - Movie Accent Expert Breaks Down 32 Actors’ Accents
    The first of several videos featuring Erik Singer reviewing the performance of a wide array of accents and dialects from around the world. He generally points out notable or potentially difficult features of each accent that the actor either mastered or still struggles with. Length: 16m40s. Captions: automatically generated.

  • Why Do Pirates Talk Like That?
    An article about the history of the "pirate" accent and its association with the West Country of England

Diagrams/Blog Posts


  • New York Times Dialect Quiz
    A recent and popular dialect quiz on the New York Times website. It will “diagnose” which American dialects are closest to yours. The questions will change slightly each time you take it.

  • Mapping Words Around Australia
    A series of dot heatmaps that show the results of a dialect survey of Australian English dialects. Includes a link to the survey for any Australian English speakers who want to take it themselves.

  • Cambridge Online Survey of World Englishes
    A large-scale dialect survey by Cambridge, including answers from any native English speakers whose parents are also native English speakers. You can take the survey yourself, or click the link below the map to see the results for each question with dot heatmaps.

Something fun

What English Sounds Like to Non-English Speakers (Length: 3m54s)

In other news
For those of you who are coming to the end of the teaching term/semester, congratulations! It probably felt like it lasted longer than a whole academic year. For those of you still in the middle of teaching, we hope you and your students are getting the hang of a new routine.  

See you on Monday for 3 Links about Gesture Studies, and stay tuned for next Friday's Resource Guide on World Languages. 

Kate, Lauren, Gretchen and Liz. 

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Mutual Intelligibility is a project to connect linguistics instructors with online resources, especially as so much teaching is shifting quickly online due to current events. It's produced by Lauren Gawne and Gretchen McCulloch, with the support of our patrons on Lingthusiasm. Our 3 Links editor is Liz McCullough, and our Resource Guide contributor is Kate Whitcomb (Layman's Linguist).

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