Abercraf English (also known as Abercrave English) is a dialect of Welsh English, primarily spoken in the village of Abercraf, located in the far south of the traditional county of Brecknockshire, currently administered as part of the unitary authority of Powys.

Abercraf English
Native toUnited Kingdom
Latin (English alphabet)
Language codes
ISO 639-3
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.


Abercraf English is distinct from most other accents in its county due to separation by the Brecon Beacons, creating a substantial communication barrier between the localities. It is more appropriate to associate it with neighbouring Swansea Valley, particularly the speech in northern areas (esp. Ystalyfera) since they are more similar to Abercraf than ones in most of its county, excepting Ystradgynlais. This could be seen from a survey where speakers could not discern the origins of the speech of Ystradgynlais and their hometown, but were able to discern Cwmtwrch with other villages in the valley.[1]


Abercraf was entirely Welsh-speaking until World War II, when English-speaking evacuees settled in the village.[1] It is a relatively young acquired dialect. This can be seen from generally less assimilation and elision and clear articulation unlike other accents in Brecknockshire or Glamorgan.[2] Being a more modern accent causes it to be restricted to the last two to three generations, with younger people being much more likely to speak it; although a lot of their daily lives is conducted in Welsh, thus causing English to be taught as a second language.[3]



Like many other accents in Britain, Abercraf's consonants generally follow that of Received Pronunciation, although it does have some unique innovations common for South Wales dialects:[4]


Abercraf English is non-rhotic; /r/ is only pronounced before a vowel. Like RP, linking and intrusive R is present in the system.[4] On the other hand, the vowel system varies greatly from RP, unlike its consonants, which is stable in many English accents around the world.[8]


Monophthongs of Abercraf English, according to Tench (1990:135–136).
Front Central Back
short long short long short long
Close ɪ ʊ
Close-mid ɜː
Open-mid ɛ ɛː ʌ
Open a ɒ ɒː


Diphthongs of Abercraf English, according to Tench (1990:135–136)
Front Back
Start point Close ei ɪu ou
Open ai ɒi au

The offsets of the fronting diphthongs are near-close [ɪ], whereas the offsets of the backing diphthongs are close [u].[20]

Abercraf has kept some distinctions between diphthong–monophthong pronunciations; they are shared among other south Welsh dialects such as Port Talbot. These distinctions are lost in most other dialects and they include:

NEAR and CURE are not centring diphthongs unlike RP, rather a disyllabic vowel sequence consisting of the equivalent long vowel as the first element and the COMMA vowel, such that these words are pronounced /niːʌ/ and /kɪuːʌ/ respectively.[23]

Phonemic incidence

Abercraf English generally follows West Glamorgan lexical incidence patterns.[29][30][19]

Assimilation and elision

As mentioned above, there is less assimilation and elision than in other accents, however some consonants can be elided:[15]

The vowel /ə/ is not elided, thus factory, mandarin, reference always have three syllables, unlike many accents such as RP or even Port Talbot.[15]


Abercraf English is considered to have a 'sing-song' or 'lilting' intonation due to having high amount of pitch on an unstressed post-tonic syllable, as well as pre-tonic syllables having a great degree of freedom, with a continuous rising pitch being common.[15]




  1. ^ a b Tench (1990), p. 130.
  2. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 140–141.
  3. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 130, 140.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Tench (1990), p. 131.
  5. ^ Tench (1990), p. 139.
  6. ^ Connolly (1990), p. 126.
  7. ^ Wells (1982), p. 298.
  8. ^ a b Tench (1990), p. 132.
  9. ^ Tench (1990), p. 133.
  10. ^ Wells (1982), pp. 380, 384–385.
  11. ^ a b c Tench (1990), pp. 135–136.
  12. ^ a b c d Tench (1990), p. 137.
  13. ^ a b Tench (1990), pp. 135–137, 141.
  14. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 133, 135–137.
  15. ^ a b c d e Tench (1990), p. 140.
  16. ^ Tench (1990), p. 136.
  17. ^ Wells (1982), p. 381.
  18. ^ a b Tench (1990), p. 135.
  19. ^ a b c d Wells (1982), p. 387.
  20. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 135–137.
  21. ^ Wells (1982), p. 385.
  22. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 136, 141.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h Tench (1990), p. 134.
  24. ^ Tench (1990), p. 124.
  25. ^ Wells (1982), p. 386.
  26. ^ Connolly (1990), pp. 122–123.
  27. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 134–136.
  28. ^ Wells (1982), p. 384.
  29. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 137–138.
  30. ^ Connolly (1990), p. 124.
  31. ^ a b c d e f Tench (1990), p. 138.
  32. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 138, 141.
  33. ^ Tench (1990), pp. 131–132.


  • Connolly, John H. (1990), "Port Talbot English", in Coupland, Nikolas; Thomas, Alan Richard (eds.), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, Multilingual Matters Ltd., pp. 121–129, ISBN 1-85359-032-0
  • Tench, Paul (1990), "The Pronunciation of English in Abercrave", in Coupland, Nikolas; Thomas, Alan Richard (eds.), English in Wales: Diversity, Conflict, and Change, Multilingual Matters Ltd., pp. 130–140, ISBN 1-85359-032-0
  • Wells, John C. (1982), Accents of English, Vol. 2: The British Isles (pp. i–xx, 279–466), Cambridge University Press, doi:10.1017/CBO9780511611759, ISBN 0-52128540-2