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A Level English Language Starters: Accent & Dialect

Beth Kemp | Monday April 08, 2013


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  • A Level English Language Starters: Frameworks & Analysis
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language & Gender
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language Change
  • A Level English Language Starters: Mode & Technology
  • A Level English Language Starters: Child Language Acquisition
  • A Level English Language Starters: Language & Power


  • Accent & Dialect starters for A Level English Language lessons
  • Key Sociolinguistic Studies into Variation
  • Key Linguistic Concepts

Starters for A Level English Language: Accent and Dialect

A simple UK Geography test can be a fun starter for a lesson featuring particular UK varieties. It’s worth laminating a half class set of A3 outlines of the British Isles for this. Students work in pairs and either are given place names on cards to place appropriately (possibly with Blu-tak as well, so work can be held up to show the class) or a list of places is displayed and students have post-its to stick on. The outline can include Scottish, Welsh and NI borders or - for fun - students can be asked to draw those on with whiteboard markers.

Another fun angle can be to ask students to draw in a line that they feel divides ‘northern’ England from the South. (This can be followed up by exploring some online maps showing accent variations, e.g. foot-strut and trap-bath). Obviously, the places you ask students to find will be based on the studies and varieties you plan to teach, but I’ve found it useful to check students’ knowledge of: London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Norwich, Bradford, Liverpool, Newcastle, Milton Keynes, Reading and Belfast.

What makes up your idiolect? is a nice gentle activity asking students to think about what influences their own use of language. I usually hand out printed circles for this and ask students to create a pie chart giving an approximation of the make-up of their idiolect, using suggested categories such as ‘region’, ‘friends’, ‘family’, ‘the media’, ‘hobbies and...

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