Accent

Catnip says:

Which words sound great in a Brummie accent? When I first moved to Brum ten years ago , the word that jumped out was pie, pronounced ‘poi’ by Brummies :-)

Another favourite of mine is microwave (moicrowaive).

What are your favourite words or indeed sentences which sound particularly good in the Brummie accent?

59 Responses to Accent

  1. ex-Brummie Paul says:

    Two words immediately spring to mind although one is a little archaic:

    - point : when asking for beer

    - carbolic : the pronunciation of which would identify a Brummie in any crowd.

    • Sinead says:

      I’m from Birmingham and so is most of my family. I moved to Co Cork 9 years ago so now that if I meet other english people they think that I’m from Cornwall or Devon! I even got Canterbury once! The weird thing is that when I speak into a recorder or something like that, my brummie accent really comes out.
      I think its because the brummie accent isn’t just the way we pronounce things, it’s also the range of tones we use. No one can ever tell us that our accent is flat!

  2. Brad says:

    My dad says pieson for poison, ties for toys, tielut for toilet, and byes for boys.

    And a bus is a buzz.

  3. Damon Lord says:

    “All roight!” seems to be the universal West Midlands greeting….

  4. Emma says:

    As a southerner working in Brum I have millions of these…”Cluck” for clock…as in “Noine O’Cluck” is nine o’clock…

  5. Swanny says:

    Mayonaisse is a favorite of moine. Try asking for it abroad and see what they make on it.

  6. Swanny says:

    I have a pal named Jason who met some Americans whilst on holiday. They asked what his name was and then told him “Gee, that’s a name I never heard before, Jaaaaaysun

    • jason says:

      I’m from Surrey (in the South). I moved to the states 10 years ago, and I used to get that all the time too!
      I guess my accent had adjusted now as it’s been a few years since I got that response.

  7. ex-Brummie Paul says:

    it’s strange (or possibly not, depending upon where HIS Dad comes from) for Brad to identify the pronunciation of toilet as “tielut”. My family came from Aston and Great Barr so I always remember it as “toy-lit”.

  8. Rich Anderson says:

    I like getting geordies to say ‘kit-kat chunkie’ or ‘kawazaki ninja’, but my Walsall/Birmingham hybrid accent gets a few odd looks too.

    Can’t think of any exmples off the top of me head, but if I did i’d just avoid saying them for a bit.

    Watchaam’ duin? (what are you doing) ay’it (isn’t it just.) and aar (yes, I agree with what you are saying) are ones i’m very guilty of. :)

  9. Richard says:

    I lived in Brum for three years and there’s two words I can’t say any other way but Brummy. These are ‘ridiculous’ and ‘brilliant’. Real emphasis on the middle of the word. Love it.

  10. Steve McKay-Salt says:

    Living in Scotland, I struggle understanding anybody, but there’s nothing quite so satisfying as lapsing into “the Mother Tongue” to really get some confused looks!!

    One phrase I love (and have now gotten my Scottish wife to pronouce perfectly) is “GOO AN BUGGER OFF!!” Just doesn’t work in any other accent.

  11. Dan says:

    Well, people who live in up north find our accent hard to understand.I was speaking to somebody from newcastle the other day.

    She asked me how do we say “I” so i said it. .
    She thought i said “Oi”

    Then she told me to say “Oi” so i said it and she said it sounds like im sayin “I”

    Its hard to explain unless you realise how different people say things.
    Quite funny tho :)

  12. Brenda says:

    I used to say, “Oooh Arrh” meaning “Oh yes” back in the 70s. An Australian came to visit and when I said that he said that I sounded like a donkey!

    “Yow littul varmint” was quite a popular saying around Birmingham (see the books by the Brummie Kathleen Dayus for this)

    I always say “a piece” (or “piecey” by some) for a slice of bread.

    There is a very good book about the way Birmingham (Brummie) people speak by Dr Carl Chinn who is a leading Historian and has shows on West Midlands radio.
    Its called Proper Brummie and is a dictionary of words and phrases.

    When we went to live in Cornwall, in the 50s, my school head mistress wanted me to join an Elocution class somewhere as they couldn’t understand me and I couldn’t understand them either. I refused.

    I am a Proper Brummie and proud of it!

  13. Martin says:

    The traditional brummie greeting of “oi-right mayt?”
    The word “factory” (“fakteroi”) accentuates a Brummie accent as well, all the better considering WE invented them… ;-)

  14. Nick says:

    I am a Brummie and it always makes me laugh when I hear people talking and saying ” I ent got non” as in “I have not got any” even as a Brummie I still find that very amusing

    KRO.

  15. basher says:

    i was in the uk for a few years for studies. believe me i preferred this accent. i didn’t like the cockney one. i still sometimes use this brummie accent with my students.

  16. Stefan says:

    Brummies sound like farmers.. But i love the accent :) even thought it doesnt beat a true manchester accent

  17. Dave Ashton says:

    After living in Oz. for the last 34 yrs .. I still say “awright mate ” when greeting a buddy !!!!!!!!!!

  18. Dave Ashton says:

    I read yesterday , that Ozzy Osborne was being ridiculed for his Brummie accent .. Well i meet lots of people here in Australia , from England . And even after leaving Brum 34 yrs ago , they can always guess where i am from . So we are famous eh !!!!!!!!!!!

  19. alex says:

    lol being a brummie theres a difference between a brummie accent and dudley accent (dud-laaay) lol or (kipper tie) = cup of tea in dudley

    most people i’ve met who’s noticed my accent asked why it isnt as bad as they heard, i told them they probably got mixed up with other people from areas outside birmingham, cant beat a good old weird accent though haha

    as someone else put our accents arn’t that bad compared to others XD

  20. Vixsta33 says:

    My boss says ‘Tuff’ instead of tooth and I find it funny that Stratford Upon Avon are classed as being rather pooosh; and they say it too! No offence to Brummies mind! I always have got on well with Brummies, salt of the earth types! People from down south ask me if I’m a Brummie well, no I’m not-I’m about 18 miles away! But I don’t mind and I just say ‘Yeah I am’! I was in Georgia in the U.S a few years back and the girl on the checkout in the shop asked me in her strong Southern accent: ‘Ya’ll where you from?’ And I said ‘Birmingham’….before I could say, England, she interjected with a puzzled look: ‘Ayyyllabaaamaa???’ ‘No, bab, England’. I smiled.

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  24. amanda.burke@live.co.uk says:

    I loved the Brummie thing. I actually work in a Brummie office where only me and one other staff are Brummies. I am often ridiculed about my accent and this makes me sad. I cant help that wine sounds like wyne, tie sounds like toy and rice sounds like royce, its not my fault . I am a down to earth brummy done good. I love the word bostin because i dont think that any other word gives the accent on such a fabulous positive word. I love Birmingham its a bostin place to live en it!!

  25. jp4eh says:

    i say tuff insted of tooth and my missis finds it funny as shes frm near manchester,, and dnt u think yam yams sound like there driblling wen they talk ??

  26. Dan says:

    Most brummies don’t talk like those in the black country except those in north west brum whose accent (Aston, Great Barr ect) is virtually black country/Walsall.

  27. Keith Rennison says:

    Jasper Carrot said cowing bov- rill in a clip sounded great.

  28. Mick Jacks says:

    I lived in Birmingham from the age of 3 till 14 years ago when I was 54 & grew up in a Brummie working class family with a Brummie dad.I now live in North Devon & we have my Brummie daughter & son-in-law with us & 3 sons,their wives & 4 granddaughters in the city along with many & relatives so I reckon I can have some views on speaking Brummie.I had problems at first in understanding the locals & they in me but we’ve agreed to differ & to enjoy our differences.Many locals have trouble in identifying us as Brummies & quote the harsher accents given on t.v.as “Birmingham” which is almost always “Black Country”.I don’t know about harsher as I love to hear the differences between the accents & know that some “BC”people can tell the difference in accents across the region.I’m not that skilled but can point to our accents in the South -East of Birmingham changing towards the centre & then out to the North & the Black Country as other writers have pointed out.It’s time that t.v.etc.got their act together & told those that don’t know them the differences.We get many from the South-East here & know from experience that they object to being called “Londoners”when they aren’t so why should we or the Black Country people be stuck with the wrong description of our accents? I was very interested to read some comments on these pages about people usin”arrg or ar “for yes as only recently I realised that I & my sons still do.About 60 years ago I was told off at school for saying “ar” for yes & being surprised as it was normal speech at home.I’d forgotten most of this until I read that a lot of words in today’s speech is left over from when we were invaded by the Norsemen.Even more recently my wife & I watched the Swedish versions of the Wallender novels in Swedish with English sub-titles & no,we don’t speak Swedish,but both felt better when the sound track was turned up.This way we learned the odd Swedish word & that “yes” was “yar”or “yah”although to us it sounded like “arh”.So the question to the learned amongst you is this–do you think that any of the old “Norse”can have lasted across the years?Regards,Mick Jacks.

  29. Peter says:

    As a brummie born an bred, Acocks Green to be exact, (although i now live in Peterborough), i get frustrated by people all over the country saying to me “oooh where dyaw cum frum, yaw frum bermginum” trying in their pathetic way to do a brummie accent, “Watchaam’ duin”, “yaw” and “ay’it ” are from the black country, its like taking the mickey out of someone from west london by using cockney rhyming slang. I agree with Mick Jacks Nov 25 2010 It’s time that t.v. etc. got their act together & told those that don’t know them the differences.

  30. Arch says:

    I suggest “I hate all Brummies in the whole world” visits St Andrews or Villa Park on a match day and makes his feelings known to the home fans. I’m sure he’ll be made very welcome.

  31. tara says:

    I am from brum and I don’t know why but on holiday when my and my mate met some people from liverpool they was obsessed with the way we say light also chips and gravey, they found it so funny and we just didn’t know why it was funny.

  32. Tono Fonseca says:

    I am Canadian, and my girlfriend is from Kent. She told me about the common British opinion of Brummie, and I have read from other sources much the same. I don’t understand why it is such a disliked dialect; it is quite possibly my favourite of all of England’s accents. Maybe it is because it is the most Canadian-sounding; it is far more relaxed tonally than many English accents, which are all pretty to my Canadian ears, but at the same time can be excessive in energy to them. Brummie is cool and undemanding, like my own accent.

  33. Dean-Paul Johnson says:

    I’m from Birmingham and now living in Solihull but very close to the border between the two towns. I was born and raised in Bordesley Green in East Birmingham. For some reason, even having lived in Bordesley Green for 13 years before moving, my Brummie accent is not that broad. People have told me i’m quite well spoken. However my Mom and Dad and Brother all sound strongly Brummie. My dad was brought up in the Weoley castle and Northfield area of South Birmingham and my Mom lived in Bordesley Green all her life. They are always pronouncing their words in a strong Brummie accent. Some examples are “Sure” will become “Shew-er” or “Insurance” will become “In-shewer-rance”. My dad has dad has a habit of saying “Song” and “Sung” and “Bonfire” and “Bunfire”. Sometimes they will come out with things like “Ya barmy bleeda” which basically means you’re crazy, and “Bostin” which means Excellent or good. I have to say for some reason I rarely ever say any of these words. I do however love saying “Bab”, such a funny word. Oh, and I also say the word “Aint” which means “is not”. Oh you have to love the accent, even if it can get annoying.

  34. Married to a Brummie says:

    I’m a Texan married to a Brummie. There are frequent moments when we have to translate for each other. I have a love of language studying Italian, Chinese, Arabic, and French. I must say I’ve enjoyed the Brummie dialect just as much. My husband sounded Americanized when I first met him. I told him “you’re a Brummie, be a Brummie” and he has since then, not even realizing how much he’d lost his accent to satisfy a boss at work. Like most here, my family is made of mostly immigrants- English, Irish, Scottish, Italian. A few married Cherokee/Chickasaw Indians. I find it funny that what I thought were Texas slang phrases actually came from GB. ***sidebar: For ‘I hate all the Brummies in the world’ someone must have really pissed you off. Get over it.

  35. nicola bailey says:

    I grew up and lived in the Black Country (Walsall) until I left home at 18 to go to uni 20 years ago. I remember all to well getting so frustrated with people who used to take the mick and say, ‘are yow from Birmingum’?…when the difference in our accents to me was soo obvious! Having lived away for 20 years I can see how differently my accent led me to pronounce words compared with other people with different accents. Walsall people pronounce all their syllables and letters, e.g. ‘I’ ve beeee-N swi-mmin-G’ whereas Brummies vowels are actyually shorter and more clipped – ‘I bin swimmin”. I married a true Brummie and we’ve had a lot of laughs over the differences in our accents even though we grew up only 10 miles apart from each other!

  36. heather says:

    im a brummie, have been for quite a few years now, an i dont get the fascination! haha, its quite entertaining though. having realized how i say things from this article – to the rest of the world we must sound stupid! which is quite funny as a lot of people from around here are quite smart.

  37. Steph says:

    I love being Brummie especially down at university in Ipswich, every time I give a presentation they look at me so wierdly, its awesome. Though alot of people down there confuse the Brummie accent with the Black Country. Still walking in a bakers and asking for ‘a pack of cobs’ and getting wierd looks is fun.

    Since Ive moved to Walsall though, Ive gained a hybrid of Birmingham/Walsall accent so going back to uni should be fun. Especially as Ive now definately got into the habit of saying ‘ay’ it’

  38. Owain says:

    I live in Birmingham and although I’m not a native I am fascinated with all accents and dialects and the Brummie and Black country ones are no different. Although I struggle sometimes to tell the difference I have colleagues who are passionate about the nuisances of the different dialects and I pick up as much as I can. This was interesting reading.

    I totally understand the point about being portrayed correctly on TV as I am Welsh and am used to being frustrated with characters in sketches for example being from North Wales yet speaking in a generic “valleys” accent. For a while it seemed every portrayal of Welsh folk would adopt this accent but I think it has got better over the years.

    Can the same be said about the west midlands accents I’m not sure.

    I found this site while looking for a phonetic Brummie translation for something sung at a football match by the bluenoses
    “how sh*t must you be we’re winning away”

    Any ideas? I had thought away would be awooy and you would be yaw but after reading your comments I’m not so sure and stand corrected.

  39. Pamela Burt says:

    I got married and left Birmingham some 33 years ago to live in Shropshire, then later to the Bristol area. Despite my long exile I’m proud to report that still have the accent (so my Bristolian friends tell me!). Not everyone hates the Brummie accent – some people have told me I sound Australian even(what was that about?) ; most folk who have got to know me tease me a little about the accent as others here have already commented, but most say they rather like thre way I speak. I’m also from the east side of Brum. Born in Marston Green and raised in Stechford. It’s true I think that the accent from my side of the city is less harsh than the one fro the northern side is, but I don’t really care -

  40. Pamela Burt says:

    I got married and left Birmingham some 33 years ago to live in Shropshire, then later to the Bristol area. Despite my long exile I’m proud to report that still have the accent (so my Bristolian friends tell me!). Not everyone hates the Brummie accent – some people have told me I sound Australian even(what was that about?). Most folk who have got to know me, tease me a little about the accent (as others here have already commented), but most say they like the way I speak. I’m also from the east side of Brum. Born in Marston Green and raised in Stechford. It’s true I think that the accent from my side of the city is less harsh than the one from the northern side is. Whatever, I don’t really care – go talk Brummie and confound all the critics!!

  41. Mick Jacks says:

    I’d forgotten about writing on this site as it’s over a year since I did so.I found it today(14/12/11) & very much enjoyed reading the comments .Keep going Owain you have obviously been exposed to Brummie/Black Country accents & have formed an interest in those & many other accents.I’d forgotten about the North/South Wales controversy on T.V. and think that,like Owain,you have to live among these accents to understand them.We are all recieving different versions of our languages nowadays due to better & easier methods of communication –T.V. –comes easily to mind so that when they get it wrong they give everyone else a wrong impression .To most people it doesn’t matter at all but it can be quite irritating.
    All the best for Christmas & the New Year. Mick Jacks.

  42. Richard Davies says:

    The historian, Michael Woods, wrote that William Shakespeare probably spoke with a Brummie accent. Good enough for me.

    I was raised in Birmingham and my father born in Plymouth, thought it common to pronounce it as Bermingham. Years later I came across the Doomesday Book spelling Bermingeham.

  43. caroline says:

    i am a born and bred brummie from yardley wood, but have lived down south for about 25 years, ( i am 48) i married a portsmouth man. have also lived in london and berkshire and norfolk! so my accent is a bit mixed up. to me i sound like a brummie but friends from brum think i sound posh! i will never alter my accent for anyone, particularly the words like glass and class etc.

  44. Lorraine Glover says:

    I’m a brummie from Erdington and have lived in Stockport for 25 years, through work I have listened to a lot of accents and so mine varies from word to word, seems to offend some people. I can’t turn my accent on or off and sadly have forgotten how to say a lot of words brummie style. I wish I could get my old voice back and it wasn’t such a mish mash.

  45. Edward Walker says:

    I’m Brummie born and bred, from handsworth. As an expat who has lived in the US for the last 33 years I still have a brummie accent. Generally it has been received quite well over here. Even though most people, except other Brits are unable to place the accent.

  46. Tim Stretton says:

    I’m from Sutton Coldfield and I’m very proud of it!!!! I know it’s north of the Yenton but I grew up with the whole thing of anything Brummie! I now live in Hampshire these days.
    I like phases like “ent gunnoo” for “I’m not going to”, I still say phrases like, “affpast” for “half past”, and “outdoor” for “off licence”, and I still also use the word, “mardy” (I particularly love that word!), which I still never hear anywhere else but at home. My daughter used to moan as a little child so I affectionately called her “Mardybag.”

  47. brad says:

    this website is a bunch of bollocks

  48. Dave Ford says:

    I was born in 1959 in Erdington. In 1969 we, as a family, moved to Kent, Margate. I had a rough time with my Brummie Accent, the other kids were rotten to me. I lost all traces of my accent by the mid 70′s.

    Recently I started ‘kicking myself’ because I’d lost my Brummie Accent so now I’m trying to ‘slip’ back into it.

    I’ve forgotten most of the words and phrases we used to use so I’m looking for a ‘GOOD’ comprehensive guide.

    This list is a bit ‘all over the place’ and is, of course, in-complete.

    Any suggestions?.

  49. Emma says:

    I love my Brummie accent and I also find it quite hilarious when in a different part of the country and I’m talking with my accent! But as I recently found out, quite a lot of the English population don’t like our accents…most would rather listen to silence than our accent!

  50. WENDY says:

    I love the brummie accent! My maternal grandfather was from that region and came to Canada when he was 17. He and one sister; both lived to be 103 years old and they never lost their accent. I tell my kids that great-grandpa sounded like Ozzy Osbourne but without the drugs! My maternal great-grandfather was from Newcastle (geordie accent) and my paternal grandfather was from Edinbourgh. With a “celtic” history of various English accents,Scottish, bit of Irish,German and French my childhood was filled with wonderful accents. Now at age 53, I can still tell my customers where they are from based on their accents and slang. Within a half hour of hanging out with british /scottish/irish friends and relatives or watching movies with british/scottish/irish/german accents I start talking with the accents and using the slang ! I confess once in awhile I listen to the accents and dialects of the UK on the internet when I am remembering by deceased relatives. My “brummie” grandfather would call me Gwendolyn instead of Wendy and my younger brother Kelvin instead of Kevin. Boy I miss those days!!

  51. Hannah Williams says:

    I lived in Worcestershire for 20years and have recently moved down to Falmouth, Cornwall for uni and everyone here says are you from Birmingham and that i talk like a proper brummy, so now ive given up sayin Worcestershire and just say Brum and throw in a few Ar’s, i cor do it and i day do it just for fun. sounding like i do works in my favour 99.9% of the time!

  52. shane says:

    Just looking at a comment from brad where he says “My dad says pieson for poison, ties for toys, tielut for toilet, and byes for boys ”
    I have worked with 2 people at different jobs who do exactly that and both come from Chelmsley Wood, anyone else found this?

  53. brummie by heart says:

    I like saying ‘bab’= =babe
    ‘ oh arrr’ = oh yer
    ‘um yampi’ = you mental
    ‘ya da wanna be …..’ = you dont want to be
    ‘sook’= sweets

  54. manish says:

    Sounds like North Gujart accent as we have here in India.

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