Sample Exercise: “I hurried home last night and heard some great new tunes on the telly.”
This dialect of southern England is currently available ONLY by purchasing Accents & Dialects for Stage and Screen Deluxe Streaming Edition, the iTunes ebook (Apple Book) version of that book, or the iTunes ebook (Apple Book) version of Dialects of the British Isles.
Where does the name come from? The “estuary” in question is that of the River Thames, the largest river in southeast England. From its source, a little upstream from Oxford, and running east through the capital down to the North Sea, the Thames is tidal for nearly 100 miles, over half its length. Hence the Thames Estuary – estuary is defined as the tidal part of a river – dominates southeast England. It roughly bisects the most populous and most politically, artistically, and economically powerful part of Britain.
Crossing ethnic and racial lines, it is spoken in the area that expanded out from London to alter the character of the dialects and accents of the seven “home counties” bordering London, and far beyond. Estuary, varying in its precise shading, should be considered for almost any character born and raised in the dialect region after 1980, or even earlier.
For more on Estuary, see the July 2020 edition of Paul’s In a Manner of Speaking podcast.
(Images above: The River Thames gives the “Estuary” dialect its name. Image created by Nicole Hicks. The Shard, completed in 2012, is a symbol of modern London. It stands in contrast to Tower Bridge, in the foreground, which has spanned the Thames since the 1880s. Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto, #1033045204, and Elxeneize. And the final image in the slide show illustrates the culturally diverse crowds of London who speak Estuary. Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto, #957438434, and Alena Kravchenko.)