Lisa's week

lisas week teaser

Lisa's week: How do you say that?

Accents. We all have them and for a lot of English learners, it can seem impossible that are so many different types of English, not only around the world as you might expect but across the UK too. Are you expected to learn them all? Of course not, but the topic is still an interesting one and one that can give non-native speakers a few problems.

I come from Birmingham as I’ve mentioned before and unfortunately it has one of the most distinctive, and unpopular, local accents in the country. I can’t even begin to tell you how strong a Brummie accent can be. Luckily for me, I never had too much of an accent and living away for so many of my adult years, it’s now limited to the odd word or two and comes across a little stronger if I’ve been on the phone to my family or over in the UK for a visit. I hear it in others as soon as I step off the plane at Birmingham Airport and while I also find it rather irritating, it makes me feel at home right away and can be quite warm in its softer form.

If you’ve ever heard the heavy rock star Ozzie Osbourne talking on TV you can get a feel for what someone from Brum might sound like. There’s a lot of US English in his accent too these days but his vowel sounds and certain words are definitely there to hear! It makes me smile at the same time as cringe a little!

With accents and dialects in the UK differing from town to town or even part of town, you might find that you have problems understanding one English-speaking colleague but perfectly understand another. And of course, if we extend the idea of English speakers outside the UK, you get into the realms of literally dozens of different types of English! New York English is definitely not the same as California or Texas. Eastern Canada is not the same as the west nor are different parts of Australia, South Africa, New Zealand or the Republic of Ireland. It’s a matter of practice though and once you’ve communicated with an English speaker for some time, your brain will “tune” into the accent more easily each time you meet them. As all things, it takes time, repetition, patience and a great deal of experience. Even I find it difficult to understand English accents sometimes – it will take me a few minutes to tune my ear to a movie from America or a series set in Scotland if they are speaking authentically from the local region.

Try checking out the internet for examples of the English you are in contact with to familiarise yourself with the specifics. I came across “The Dialect Blog” which has lots of interesting information on the different forms of the language and links to videos of people talking in particular ways. The internet can be your best friend for this type of audio practice so incorporate it into your language preparation if you have a meeting or telephone conference to attend where you know there will be different regions represented in English.

And why did I feel the need to speak to you about this today? Well, I’m off to Vienna for a few days and I find the Austrian German accent very strong, and Vienna strongest of all. I know that as soon as I open my mouth to say anything in German, people hear that I’m English and I wonder if there in Vienna, they’ll also hear that I’ve learnt my German here in the Pott?!?

Of course, my students will never know because I try to avoid saying anything in German whatsoever. Some words slip out from time to time, but mostly they are listening to my unidentifiable, “somewhere in England”, could-be-the-Midlands-but-full of influences-from-other-places accent! If I ever get to meet you and we have a chat, you can let me know if you agree!



What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too

Episode 51: Celebrating St George

Episode 52: The perfect start to the day

Episode 53: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 1)

Episode 54: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 2)

Episode 55: The tiny apostrophe is actually something big (part 3)

Episode 56: Holiday season is coming!

Episode 57; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 1

Episode 58; ‘Tis the season (of Bank Holidays) – part 2

Episode 59: Summer Solstice

Episode 60: Harry Potter turns 20

Episode 61: Quick Tip of the Week - live, life, live

Episode 62: Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

Episode 63:  I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

Episode 64: Stick a stamp on it!

Episode 65: Idiom of the week - Water under the bridge

Episode 66: I say QWERTY, you say QWERTZ

Episode 67: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 1)

Episode 68: Doing your homework and making mistakes! (Part 2)

Episode 69: Joking around in Scotland

Episode 70: The first day of school

Episode 71: Let's go down to the Wiesn!

Episode 72: Celebrating language

Episode 73: It's a Harry thing!

Episode 74: My favourite time of the year

Episode 75: TED-Ideas Worth Spreading

Episode 76: Grinning like a Cheshire cat

Episode 77: Enjoying the downtime

Episode 78: Talking Tenners

Episode 79: Do you need anything from the Hight Street?

Episode 80: Just another few minutes!

Episode 81: Counting the cards on my shelf.

Episode 82: What sign are you?

Episode 83: Great if you have a sweet tooth

Episode 84: It's an acquired taste!

Episode 85: New Year's Resolutions

Episode 86: Quick Tip of the week - go/come & take/bring

Episode 87: My Luve is Like a Red Red Rose

Episode 88: Once in a blue moon

Episode 89: Learning by Listening - part 1

Episode 90: Learning by Listening - part 2

Episode 91: This is the travel news!

Episode 92: The "Beast from the East" hits Western Europe!

Episode 93: The flu hits Lisa's Week

Episode 94: Spring forward and fall back

Episode 95: Holy Week

Episode 96: Quick Tip of the Week - prepositons of time

Episode 97: Perfect for dunking!

Episode 98: Part of the family

Episode 99: It's a boy!

Episode 100: Happy Anniversary to me!

Episode 101: To all the mothers out there

Episode 102: Up, up and away

Episode 103: A very British affair!

Episode 104: Getting boarded!