Kentish dialect

This article is about the dialect of Modern English. For the dialect of Old English, see Kentish dialect (Old English).
Location of Kent within southern Britain

The Kentish dialect is a dialect of English spoken in and around the county of Kent in southeast England. Kentish dialect combines many features of other speech patterns, particularly those of East Anglia, the Southern Counties and London. Although there are audio examples available on the British Library website and BBC sources,[1] its most distinctive features are in the lexicon rather than in pronunciation. As Estuary English is considered to be spreading in the area since at least 1984, some debate has emerged as to whether it is replacing local dialects in Kent, Essex and Sussex.


Modern Kentish dialect shares many features with other areas of south-east England (sometimes collectively called "Estuary English"). Other characteristic features are more localised. For instance, some parts of Kent, particularly in the north-west of the county, share many features with broader Cockney. Typical Kentish pronunciation features include the following:

Examples of the Kentish dialect

The pattern of speech in some of Dickens' books pertain to Kentish dialect, as the author who lived at Higham familiar with the mudflats near to Rochester, and created a comic character Sam Weller who spoke the local accent, principally Kentish with strong London influences.[2] The character name of "Miss Havisham" sounds like the small town on the Rochester/Canterbury road, Faversham.

Dialect words and phrases

The Kentish dialect appears to have been very colourful in the past, with many interesting agricultural words appearing. Many of these seem to have disappeared in the modern age:

See also


  1. "Kent Voices". BBC. 2005. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
  2. Parish 1888, p. vii


External links

Kent Archaeological Society, online dictionary of the Kentish Dialect (378 pages)

Links to Charles Dickens and Kent:

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