Understanding accents? (and my experience)

When I first tried to learn the alphabet on YouTube I found out of the existence of two main accents in Welsh.
Then I had to choose North or South in the SSiW course and I kept on hearing them mentioned here in the Forum.

However, for quite some time I didn’t hear any difference at all, when I heard someone speak fluent Welsh: it always just sounded like a complete mess to me! :smiley:
(Some of my older post prove this - whenever I tried to guess, I got them wrong).

It reminded me when I started learning English. Most teachers in Italian schools are Italian, with a more or less evident Italian accent. I was lucky enough to also have a British teacher in High School, once a week.
The first time I tested my knowledge out in the wild was in Cullercoats, Tyne & Wear (with a short trip to Scotland). I clearly remember that my effort to understand people there was exactly the same as for BBC newsreaders, my teachers at school, the records I listened (mostly from British bands, at the time), or other kids in Ireland when I went there two years later.

Then I don’t know what happened, but I started finding easier to understand British, rather than American.
Then I started speaking mostly to Americans and it became…the other way round.
And then I started to perceive more and more subtle differences, and some accents became very easy, some almost impossible to understand, most of them somewhere in between. But never again as “pretty much all the same” as in the beginning.

Did anybody have a similar experience when learning new languages?

Now, I’ve been practicing listening to Welsh more since a couple of weeks (so presenters and people calling the radio on the phone, with all kind of different accents) and I noticed the differences are starting to appear:
Southern, feeling more and more familiar.
Northern, slightly weird.

But the funny thing is…do you want to know, as an Italian, what is quickly becoming the most difficult accent to understand?
Welsh with a strong English accent! :laughing:

Now I’m curious to see how this will go on!


Yes, London Welsh can sound quite cool. Its mainly the vowels that throw me. Other regions of Britain, especially Wales of course tend to sound slightly more celtic.

Most people learning English as a 2nd language or even 1st language speakers who have moved, tend to pick up the local accent.

Fair play if you could understand Cullercoats English :grinning:

In school We were told that our Geordie version of German sounded Bavarian.

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