This is a two-part question. A lot of British South Asian that are born and bred in the UK have a peculiar accent. It's very different than the familiar Indian accent too. So my question is...

Is there any other way to describe the accent? I found some describe it as ghetto but I'm not sure if it's the right word.

Secondly, what's the origin of the accent and what makes it different? Perhaps few examples with etymology would best explain.

A bit of a context, I'm British South Asian myself and I don't understand why so many speak the way they do. I understand not all speak that way and some even can switch between the two. However I'm unsure if the concept exists in other English speaking country.

Here is an example of the accent. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCk6fSQ21rY

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    Young British Asians are changing the way they speak in formal contexts, according to new research: theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/2010/dec/16/…
    – user 66974
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 9:32
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    If I knew exactly what the peculiarity is, I wouldn't be asking the question. I know there is a difference but unsure exactly how. If you don't know what it is either then please leave it to those who does and can answer the question. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 10:42
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    In my experience most British people of Asian descent, born in Britain, adopt the local regional accent of the place where they live. Turban-wearing Sikhs in Birmingham often sound just like Brummies. They may carry vestiges of Asian accent and idiom which they have picked up from their parents, but by and large it seems we learn our accents from our peers. My grandson, born in Manchester, began his speaking career with a Lancashire lilt. But at the age of ten they moved to the Birmingham area, and hearing him now you wouldn't think he had spent a day of his life outside of the Midlands.
    – WS2
    Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 11:40
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    This is a question about British sociolinguistics and should probably be asked on Linguistics SE, where somebody may know something about the current state of sociophonetic research among second- and third-generation S.Asian immigrants. I know that some must be going on, but I know nothing of the details. By the way, to answer the question, the correct way to describe it is phonetically. Giving it fanciful names from other cultures like "ghetto" is not helpful and may be harmful. Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 14:59
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    Please consider opening a second question to refer to the second question, since it may be hard to select a single answer concerning both questions. Your second question might be better placed over at the Linguistics Stack Exchange using the tags "phonology" and "accent". Commented Dec 18, 2018 at 16:32

1 Answer 1


In the nineteenth century large numbers of teachers were required to teach Received Pronunciation English to Indian Civil servants. Most of these teachers came from Wales. This, I think, is why many Indians, have a 'Welsh Lilt'. Bollywood actors are a good example of this, which may well be the reason why young people have unconsciously adopted it too.

  • Welsh teachers over a hundred years ago? The second, third and fourth (?) generation of British Asians (India continent, for US readers) were born in the UK.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 9:20
  • Not my upvote, although the answer is interesting. I wish you could include a reference.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Jan 22, 2019 at 9:21

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