What is an accent?
An accent is the way you pronounce words. Everyone has an accent. It is insoluble to speak without one. You might consider yourself and others not to but you do. Usually you get your ‘accent’ from how, where and when you grew up, but not everyone has the same accent as the people who live around them. It might change without you noticing from new life experiences.
Why do places develop different accents?
The main reason for this is human nature. Usually we have an accent, which is roughly the same as the people we live with, because we want to fit in. That is how you learn speech by picking up the way people pronounce each letter. If a group separates into two groups, ie. If half move to Island A and the other half to Island B, and they are kept isolated for centuries, the pronunciation will be so different that you could almost say they were speaking different languages. This is what happened an interminable amount of time ago. People had no contact with people who lived far away because there were no phones, no radio, and the only travel was by foot. Another reason is that in the places that other countries invaded such as where the Vikings settled. People were influenced by the way they pronounced the vowels, and that is how the accent adapted. In Lancashire there is a theory that when people used to work in very big noisy cotton mills they had to speak in very loud, high pitched, shrilly voices to be heard and they got used to this and influenced the people around them. There used to be a negative perception of regional accents and RP was favoured, now BBC is positively discriminating in favour of regional accents. British town centres which used to be very different are becoming uniform, but what distinguishes them, are the accents and dialects. Also London is now a big influence to accents in England, because people are commuting in and out every day for work, so accents are disappearing in...