Port Talbot English

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Port Talbot English
Native to United Kingdom
Region Port Talbot
Latin (English alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
Glottolog None
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Port Talbot English (PTE) is a variety of Welsh English spoken in Port Talbot, generally by the working class.[1]

Phonetics and phonology


Consonants in Port Talbot English generally follow those of Received Pronunciation. Some phonological characteristics of consonants specific to PTE include:

  • The plosives /p, t, k/ have considerable strong aspiration [pʰʰ, tʰʰ, kʰʰ], often as a weak affricate [, ts, kx]. It is especially for the case of /t/.[1]
  • T-glottalization is uncommon, but sometimes may occur word-finally.[1]
  • /h/ is often silent.[1]
  • The sequences /tr, dr/ are realised as postalveolar affricates [t̠ɹ̠̊˔, d̠ɹ̠˔], as in RP.[1]
  • /r/ is more often a tap [ɾ] than an approximant [ɹ].[1]
  • /l/ is always clear [l].[1]
  • Loan consonants from Welsh such as [ɬ] and [χ] are encountered in local Welsh place names.[1][2]


Monophthongs of PTE[3]
Front Central Back
unrounded rounded
short long short long
Close ɪ ʊ
Close-mid øː ə
Open-mid ɛ ɛː
Open a ɒ ɒː
  • The HAPPY vowel is tense, but unlike Received Pronunciation, it is long [iː], as in the FLEECE vowel (see Happy tensing).[4]
  • Vowels corresponding to unstressed /ɪ/ in RP are as follows:
    • /ɪ/ in the inflectional suffixes -ed and -es;[4]
    • /ə/ in the suffix -est;[4]
    • /iː/ in prefixes like anti- and poly-.[4]
  • There is no contrastive NEAR vowel. Depending on word, it is replaced by either FLEECE (in polysyllables), a disyllabic sequence of FLEECE and COMMA /iːə/ (in monosyllables) and a monosyllabic sequence /jøː/ when word initial (including hear and here, where the /h/ is generally silent).[4]
  • As in many other southern Welsh accents, the NURSE vowel is rounded and fronted to [øː]. However, a small minority of speakers realise it as [əɾ ~ əɹ].[5]
  • The horse–hoarse merger is absent in PTE, hence the words horse /ɒː/ and hoarse /oː/ are kept distinct. /oː/ is found in fortress and important, where the horse vowel may be found in other dialects that keep the distinction.[6]
  • /ə/ is open-mid [ɜ] in stressed positions. When unstressed, it may be slightly raised to mid [ə].[7]
  • The THOUGHT vowel is mainly /ɒː/. Exceptions are before /l/ and /st/, as in all or salt, as well as the word saucepan, where it is replaced by the LOT vowel /ɒ/. However long /ɒː/ does appear before the cluster /ld/ and the word palsy.[4]
  • The trap-bath split is nearly absent, although the word bath along with path, laugh and its derivatives, ghastly and last(ly) have a long PALM /aː/, yet just like in Northern England, the remainder of BATH words are short /a/.[4]
  • The TRAP words bad, bag and man are often found with long /aː/.[4]


Diphthongs of PTE are /ɪʊ, eɪ, oʊ, ʌɪ, ʌʊ, ɒɪ/. PRICE words are mostly pronounced with /ʌɪ/, but there also exists a marginal /aɪ/ which appears in a small number of words, such as Dai and aye.[8]

PTE, like other Welsh dialects, has preserved several diphthong-monophthong distinctions that other varieties have not. They include:

  • A distinction between /ɪʊ/ and /uː/, corresponding to the GOOSE vowel in other dialects. Thus the pairs blue/blew and grue/grew are not homophones.[8]
    • When a word is spelt with an ⟨o⟩, the corresponding vowel is /uː/. It also occurs in the words insurance and surety.
    • The spellings ⟨u⟩, ⟨ue⟩ and ⟨ui⟩ before ⟨r⟩ are typically pronounced /uː/.
    • /uː/ can also be found in the word blue, and the sequence ⟨luC⟩, such as flute, lunatic and Pluto
    • /ɪʊ/ is found otherwise, such as clue or glue.
  • The sequence /juː/ in most dialects will be rendered as /jɪʊ/ in word-initial position and after ⟨y⟩, such as use and youth. /ɪʊ/ is pronounced in all other positions, but can be possible also word-initially. You and its derivates can be pronounced either as /jɪʊ/ or /ɪʊ/.[8]
  • Another distinction for the FACE and GOAT lexical sets, thus the minimal pairs pain/pane and toe/tow (see Long mid mergers). They are generally diphthongised as /eɪ/ and /oʊ/ when the spelling contains ⟨i⟩/⟨y⟩ and ⟨u⟩/⟨w⟩ respectively and monophthongised as /eː/ and /oː/ elsewhere. However, these are subject to several exceptions:[9]
    • The FACE vowel is always diphthong word-finally or preceding a vowel. It is further seen in the suffix sequence ⟨-atiV⟩, thus café, mosaic and patience are always /eɪ/. It is usually a diphthong before a nasal (strange and came), however proper names do have a monophthong (Cambridge and James).
    • The FACE is a monophthong in bait, gait, gaiter, Jamaica, raisin, traipse and waist.
    • Before a single ⟨l⟩, the GOAT is always diphthongal, such as coal or gold. The spelling ⟨oll⟩ is diphthongal in roll, stroll and its derivatives, yet monophthongal elsewhere.
    • GOAT is monophthongal in (al)though, and morpheme-final -ow (elbow and window).
    • Own as a possessive adjective (such as your own) is monophthongal.[4]

Elision and assimilation

  • The consonants /t, d/ when morpheme- or word-final are very commonly elided, such as not good and handbag /ˈhambaɡ/, with the assimilation of of the nasal with the b.[7]
  • The indefinite article an (before a vowel) may be reduced to a, as in a apple /ə ˈapəl/.[1]
  • The schwa /ə/ is the most likely to be elided, although it is very normal to retain it.[7]
  • The sequence co(-)op, like the rest of South Wales, is characteristically pronounced like cop /kɒp/.[7]
  • Pronouncing the phrases isn't it? /ˈɪn ɪt/, never mind /ˈnɛː ˈmʌɪn/ and there you are /ˈdɛː ˈwaː/ elided are very common.[7]
  • Moreover, why + negative do, such as why don't, why doesn't or why didn't is also very commonly /ˈwʌɪn/.[7]

Phonemic incidence

  • Like in most of Northern England and the Midlands, tooth is pronounced with the FOOT vowel, as in /tʊθ/.[4]
  • Mauve takes /ɒː/ instead of /oː/ or /oʊ/.
  • Motor is /ˈmoːtoː/, and the strong form of their is /ˈðeɪə/.
  • When as an address, girl and man have the STRUT vowel /ə/.[4]

The rest only applies for some speakers:[7]

  • Daunt and jaunt can have /a/.
  • Hose and whole may also have /uː/, and area as /eː/.
  • Want may have /ə/ instead of /ɒ/.


  • Ain't commonly used as a negation.[10]
  • The Northern Subject Rule is used in present-tense verb forms and extends to personal pronouns. Examples include I goes to work, the birds sings and you says.[10]


  • ashman - bin man, dustman[11]
  • cam - a stride[10]
  • crachach - used everywhere in Wales; a derogatory term used to refer to members of the Establishment in the country.[12][13] It can simply refer to 'posh people'.[10]
  • poin - to pester, to nag (from Welsh poeni)[10]
  • troughing - guttering[11]
  • venter - to bet (from Welsh fentro, a mutated form of mentro)[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Connolly (1990), p. 121.
  2. ^ Wells (1982), p. 389.
  3. ^ Connolly (1990), pp. 122, 125.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Connolly (1990), p. 124.
  5. ^ Connolly (1990), pp. 121, 125.
  6. ^ Connolly (1990), p. 123.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Connolly (1990), p. 125.
  8. ^ a b c Connolly (1990), p. 122.
  9. ^ Connolly (1990), pp. 122–123.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Connolly (1990), p. 127.
  11. ^ a b Connolly (1990), p. 128.
  12. ^ Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel; Baines, Menna; Lynch, Peredur, eds. (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6. 
  13. ^ "Just who are 'the crachach'?". BBC News. 1 March 2006. 


  • Connolly, John H. (1990), "Port Talbot English", in Coupland, Nikolas; Thomas, Alan Richard, English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, Multilingual Matters Ltd., pp. 121–129, ISBN 1-85359-032-0 
  • Wells, John C. (1982), Accents of English, Volume 2: The British Isles (pp. i–xx, 279–466), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-52128540-2 
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