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6 Best Websites for Listening to Different Accents in English

An accent is a particular way of pronouncing a language that varies between country and region.

English is spoken in England, America, Australia, Ireland and a few others, each place with their own dialects and accents. Someone from New York sounds very different from someone from Texas!

In this guide, I’ll share some of the best websites for listening to different accents, plus some handy tips that will help you understand the range of dialects and accents in English.


Why Listen to English Accents and Dialects?

Lucky for you, there are lots of different resources you can use to hear how people speak all over the world. Hearing different ways of speaking can be very interesting. It can also be very useful.

Here’s why:

  • It can be difficult to understand an accent or dialect if you aren’t familiar with it already.
  • You can feel more confident about how you speak English from listening to the different ways English is spoken around the world.

You’re ready to start your trip through different English dialects and accents! Read the suggestions below for some great websites, TV shows and podcasts that will help you learn dialects.

Websites for Listening to English Accents Online

International Dialects of English Archive

International Dialects of English Archive

The International Dialects of English Archive (or IDEA) is a website with a huge amount of recordings from all over the world. IDEA recorded people reading a short story that was written specifically for hearing the different ways people pronounce sounds in the English language.

On IDEA, you can listen to dialects by country, residence (where someone lives), gender or age. You can hear native English speakers of all kinds. You can even hear how someone sounds when they’re born in one place but move to a different place later. Browse around and learn about all the wonderful ways people speak English!

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Dialect Blog

Dialect Blog

The Dialect Blog looks at how people speak in areas of America, England and Ireland. You can find a specific area you’re interested in and find out what kind of dialect that area has.

The explanations may be difficult to understand for anyone who isn’t a linguist (someone who studies languages), but it’s a great place to find out what makes each dialect different.

For example, you can learn that people from New England (the Northeastern states of America) often don’t pronounce the “r” sound at the ends of words. So the word “car” sounds more like “cah.”

The blog also has links to examples of the accents in use, so you can hear the differences between all the dialects.

Speech and Accent Archive

Speech and Accent Archive

If you’re more interested in American or Australian dialects, you can find them in the Speech and Accent Archive. Here, you can listen to the accents of people all over the world as they speak a phrase.

To hear people from a specific area, you can browse by region. To explore further, you can also browse by language.

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So far, you’ve heard how native English speakers pronounce their English. But what about people who learned English as a second language? How you speak English has as much to do with where you’re from as where you live now.

The “Celebration of Dialects and Accents” on LibriVox is a collection of 35 voices reading a passage. It lets you hear people speaking English with different accents. You can hear native English speakers from various countries, but you can also hear accents from people who are English learners.

Sound Comparison

English is a Germanic language—it’s part of a group of languages. Other Germanic languages include German, Dutch and Yiddish. Sound Comparison is a fun website that shows you how different (or similar) English is to other Germanic languages.

It’s interesting to hear how one word can sound so different in languages that are closely related. Choose a word. Then, move over a bubble on the Sound Comparison map to hear the word spoken by someone in that area. They might sound different, but can you also hear the similarities?


To hear many different English dialects, FluentU has real media clips from many English-speaking countries. These fun media clips are movie trailers, music videos, news reports and many others. The videos also have learning tools to help you understand what the native speakers saying.

For example, the subtitles and transcripts are helpful if you can’t understand an accent. The subtitles are also interactive. This means you can click on any word to see its meaning and example sentences or listen to the pronunciation.

English Accents in TV Shows and Movies

The above websites can help you hear different dialects, but they are limited to short samples. If you really want to hear a dialect used naturally, try watching TV shows and movies from the area you’re interested in.

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“Friends” (which we mentioned above) is good for the New York accent. Nancy Donovan on the show “30 Rock” has a Boston accent.  New York and Boston are actually very close to each other, but with very different pronunciations!

You can find a list of shows and movies with different American accents on TV Tropes.

“Downton Abbey” is great for hearing proper British accents. You can hear that the difference comes not just from location but also social status (how much money and what kind of job you have).

A show set in today’s time, like “The IT Crowd,” is even better. This show has more realistic and modern speech, and it also has different dialects. (One of the characters is Irish, for example).

Many shows mix dialects and accents. The great drama “Lie To Me” has a main character who is British, for instance.

The similarly excellent show “Leverage” has characters from all over the world. In this show, you can hear accents that range from the American South to Britain.

Keep in mind that some actors use fake accents. One example is Gillian Anderson (famous for the X-Files). She’s American, but uses a thick British accent in the Netflix show “The Fall.” Fake accents can be fun to try to copy. But if you want an authentic (real) dialect, you can check where an actor is from on IMDb.

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Podcasts and Audiobooks

If you listen to podcasts or audiobooks to learn English, you can probably find a reader who uses the dialect you’re interested in.

To hear a smooth British accent, you can listen to books read by Stephen Fry. For an excellent American narrator, try Ron McLarty. You can hear him read “Inherent Vice” by Thomas Pynchon.

Some audiobooks even have more than one reader. A good example is Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass.” This audiobook is read by the author, but also has a separate person reading what each character says.

Podcasts are another great way to hear different dialects. The speech on podcasts tends to be more natural and conversational. To listen to Australian dialects, you can look around the Oz Podcasts website. For a list of British podcasts, check out the British Podcast Awards.

Podcasts can be about anything, so you can easily find one that interests you. Maybe you like hearing about interesting facts, like on 99% Invisible. Or you can even listen to a podcast about horses. There are many lists of excellent podcasts you might love. There’s one you can look at from Entertainment Weekly.

Tips for Listening to Different Accents in English

  1. Focus on Intonation and Stress Patterns. Pay attention to the rise and fall of the voice (intonation) and the emphasis placed on certain words or syllables (stress patterns). This can differ significantly between accents, so studying these aspects can help you tune in whenever you encounter a certain dialect or accent.
  2. Practice Active Listening. Actively engage when listening to different accents. Try to identify specific sounds, words, or phrases that are pronounced differently from what you’re accustomed to hearing. Take note of how much you understand of a certain clip or audio recording, and come back to it at a later date to see whether your comprehension has improved.
  3. Slow Down and Replay. If you’re having trouble understanding a certain accent, pause, rewind, and replay the audio or video. Listening multiple times can help you catch nuances and decipher unfamiliar words or phrases.
  4. Use Visual Context. Watch videos or movies with subtitles. If you come across an accent that you struggle to understand, visual context can provide clues about what’s being said, making it easier to follow along. Keep an eye on body language, and objects that are in frame.
  5. Practice Pronunciation. Mimic the accents you hear to help improve your ability to understand them. Try to imitate the sounds and rhythms using the shadowing technique. This will help tune your ears to the way words change when spoken in different accents.
  6. Be Patient and Persistent. Understanding different English accents takes time and practice. It’s important to not give up, and persist in trying to understand accents that you find challenging. Consistent exposure and practice will enhance your comprehension skills over time.


Now you know a lot more about how English is spoken all over the world.

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