How to do a cockney accent

If you're want to learn how to do a cockney accent then look no further! Here you will find a full video and transcript covering all the features key to the cockney accent!
See video

What is the cockney accent? 

The cockney accent is the traditional accent of London, in particular, East London.  In that sense, traditionally, it was viewed as a working class accent.  Cockney is a London accent, however, in modern London, there is a wide range of accents found in London.  Indeed, a wide range of London accents are based on the cockney accent.

How to do a cockney accent

Below you will find a video outlining the features of the cockney accent.  In the video, Anna, our host, interviews a real cockney, Paul, and compares the differences between a cockney accent and the standard British accent.  Once you have viewed the video, you too will know how to do a cockney accent. 

Cockney Accent Video

Cockney Accent Video Transcript

Anna: Hello and welcome to English like a native. My name is Anna, and today we are going on a journey of discovery. The UK is made up of a vast array of accents, which differ vastly from region to region. Sometimes it’s even difficult for us natives to understand each other, so if you’re not a native, you might find it impossible.

So this series is all about introducing you to different accents from different regions around the. So who are we going to meet today? This is Paul. Paul is a cockney usually found in the east end of London. Say hello, Paul.

Paul: Alright mate 

London slang and the cockney dialect

Anna: Everybody loves the cockney accent and you may have heard of cockney rhyming slang. Some of the common phrases you might hear from a cockney are as follows:

Paul: You’re having a bubble. 

Anna: Are you joking? 

Paul: Straight mate. 

Anna: That’s wonderful. 

Paul: Pipe down you lot.

Anna: Be quiet to everybody. 

Cockney Accent East London Accent

The th sound in a cockney accent

Anna: Wonderful. Okay, so let’s look at some of the key features of the Coney accent. One of the major aspects of the Coney accent is the ‘th’ sound.

So where in standard British English, you would do a th with the tongue between the teeth. The companies don’t. They will sometimes replace it with an F, a V, or even a D. So let’s have a look at some examples, Shall we? The word with. 

Paul: Wiv. 

Anna: Come with me. 

Paul: Come wiv me. 

Anna: Ooh.  See, then you said, Come with me. Interesting. 

But either way, we don’t do the th in the same way. So come with, or go with him, would you go ‘go with him’? 

Paul: No. Go wiv ‘im.

Anna: Mm. Go with ‘im. Come wimy. Go with ‘im. Come wimy. Interesting. Okay. Let’s have a look at another word. Father. 

Paul: Faver. 

Anna: My mother and my father, 

Paul: My muver and my faver.

Anna: Nice. Something you should say regularly if you’re polite. Thanks. 

Paul: Fanks. 

Anna: I’d like to thank you for watching. 

Paul: I’d like to fank you for watching. 

Anna: Weather, Weather, 

Paul: Wever, Wever. 

Anna: We’re having lovely weather here today.

Paul: We’re ‘aving lovely wever ‘ere today. 

The h sound in a cockney accent

Anna: Another common feature is the dropping of the h. So where we would do a nice aspirate for the letter H in Cockney, they would generally drop that. For example, house.

Paul: ‘Ouse. 

Anna: I bought a new house. 

Paul: I bought a new ‘ouse. 

Anna: Help, help, 

Paul: ‘Elp, ‘elp. 

Anna: Could you help me?

Paul: Could you ‘elp? 

Anna: No, I don’t think anyone can. Hero, Hero, 

Paul: ‘Ero. ‘Ero. 

Anna: He’s my hero. 

Paul: ‘E’s my ‘ero. 

Anna: And something you would say quite often. Hello? 

Paul: ‘Ello. 

The au diphthong in a cockney accent

Anna: Another key feature is the diphthong, au. So in standard British English, we take the two vowel sounds, we run them together smoothly. Ah, Oh, but the Cockney accent has a shorter sound.  It’s, it’s sharper. Less of a diphthong. Generally quicker. Okay. So less of that slide from one valve to the other. So let’s look at some examples. How 

Paul: ‘Ow. 

Anna: How are you? 

Paul: ‘Ow are you? 

Anna: Now. 

Paul: Now

Anna: I need to go now. 

Paul: I need to go now. 

Anna: Allow.

Paul: Allow

Anna: I cannot allow you to pass.

Paul: I cannot allow you to pass. 

The London cockney accent and dialect

The I diphthong in a cockney accent

Anna: Another diphthong that is different in the cockney accent is the I diphthong. In standard British English, we start this diphthong more open, but in the Cockney accent there’s less space. Should I let the genuine cockney give that a go? 

So if I say I, you would say.

Paul: I. 

Anna: And you’ll notice again it’s quicker.

So I take more time. Enjoy that movement, whereas Paul just rushes it through. 

So let’s look at this sound in some words. Like.

Paul: Like.

Anna: I like you. 

Paul: I like you. 

Anna: Thank you. 

Paul: That’s no problem though. 

Anna: Think I pulled.  My.

Paul: My.

Anna: That’s my mother. 

Paul: That’s my muver. 

Anna: Night

Paul: Night. 

Anna: It happened the other night. 

Paul: It happened the other night. 

Anna: Fight

Paul: Fight. 

Anna: We got into a fight. 

Paul: We got into a fight. 

The T sound in a cockney accent

Anna: Finally, Cockney generally glottalise their Ts. So they drop them when they appear in the middle of words and at the ends of words as well. So for example, I might say water, but Paul would say:

Paul: Water.

Anna: And if I was to say, ‘pass me that water’, you’d say:

Paul: Pass me that water.

Anna: See, there was no final T and no middle T in water. So pass me that water. 

Paul: Pass me that water.

Anna: Lovely. Other examples might be the word better. 

Paul: Better. 

Anna: I’m feeling better. 

Paul: I’m feeling better. 

Anna: You’re feeling better.

Paul: A little bit.

Anna: Butter.

Paul: Butter. 

Anna: Pass me the butter. 

Paul: Pass me the butter. 

Anna: Twitter. 

Paul: Twitter. 

Anna: Have you checked your Twitter account? 

Paul: Have you checked your Twitter account? 

Anna: Are you following me on Twitter? 

Paul: Are you following her on Twitter?

Anna: Great. Okay, so there we have it. You’ve got some standard phrases that you might hear from a cockney, as well as five common features of the accent. So that covers the cockney accent. 

Cockney Accent – Conclusion

Anna: Now we have been very general here. We’ve covered the general stereotypical. Cockney accent features, but London is made up of so many different influences, many different accents, and so this is not indicative of everybody who lives in London.

It just gives you a little bit of a helping hand. Do make sure that you stay with us for many more accent discovery videos. Let’s say a big thank you to Paul. Thank you very much. 

Paul: Thank you very much darling. 

The British Accent Specialist Series

If you like this accent lesson, you'll love my other lessons on beautiful English accents.  Just click on the links below to find out more!

Finally, if you want help with your pronunciation, you can apply for an Accent Assessment with our Head Accent Coach, Anna.


FREE Pronunciation Masterclass Today

Unlock the Secrets of Clear and Fluent British English Pronunciation Today.

Join my 60-minute masterclass on mastering British English pronunciation, book your seat now and learn: 

✅ The 3 biggest mistakes to avoid 

✅ My 4-Point Framework to transform your English pronunciation

✅ How to train pronunciation for improvements that last

Get free English lessons

Free English Lessons by Email

Learn English in context with our fantastic email lessons: 

- Video content

- Interactive exercises

- Stories with new vocabulary

- Find out about exclusive offers

One more step! You must confirm your subscription on the email we just sent you.

Achieve fluency in English with our practice classes

The 4 Step System To English Fluency

Enter your details to download the PDF.

I've sent you a confirmation email.

Achieve fluency in English with our practice classes

The 4 Step System To English Fluency

Enter your details to download the PDF.

I've sent you a confirmation email.

British English Pronunciation Masterclass Invite

FREE Pronunciation Masterclass

Join me for a 60 minute masterclass TODAY!

- The 3 biggest mistakes to avoid

- How to make lasting improvements

- Learn my 4-point framework for pronunciation

One more step! You must confirm your subscription on the email we just sent you.