English accents wanted

Do you speak English? If so, whatever your accent, why not take part in the British Library's latest project to map English accents on a global scale, coinciding with an exhibition at the Library.

From now until April, we are collecting recordings of members of the public reciting six specified words, or a short passage of text. The recordings are published on our website and simultaneouly archived permanently in the British Library to enrich similar research collections of English accents and dialects. So the project has a serious aim but it's also fun to take part, and to listen to the results so far!


It’s simple to take part, and takes just a few minutes. The easiest way to contribute is to use an iPhone or Android smartphone. But you can also record directly using a microphone connected to a computer, as long as you remember to add your location after uploading your recording. Full instructions are on our website.

As you'll see on the map, we have many examples from UK and USA and more are welcome, but we would additionally like more examples from other countries before the project ends in April.

The six words are selected to highlight regional differences in pronunciation. The passage of text is from a children’s book, Mr Tickle. The reason why this is chosen is explained here: http://britishlibrary.typepad.co.uk/evolvingenglish/2010/11/why-mr-tickl...

Richard Ranft
The British Library
Sound & Vision