There are some amazing differences between regional accents. I try to speak English most of the time, and as I come from the London area, I personally speak it without any accent (at least in my opinion).
There are some places in the English speaking world that have such strong accents as to be almost unintelligible to the accent free ear. If you ever watch a TV show from Glasgow you will instantly know what I mean. And of course who can interpret the tones that emanate from the mouth of someone from Newcastle, England. To me it sounds like a series of guttural notes interspersed with the odd “why eye mon”. But I am reliably informed by those with a knowledge of regional accents that it is actually English.
For me the issue becomes much more intense when travelling in the non-English speaking world, especially in France. As I only have a very rudimentary understanding of the language when spoken clearly, so when you add a regional accent, FORGETABOUTIT!
I’ve spent quite some time in the south of France, and have worked out that place names when spoken with the correct accent are part word and part vomit sound.
For examples the small town of Lorgues, which I would say as “lorje esse” actually is pronounced “leeeerrrrrrrggggggggg-eerr” and the pretty mountain top village of tourtour is correctly proununced “ter teeeerrrrrrrggghhh”
This simple model really helped me get around. I just learnt to burp part way through a place name and it instantly become understandable to the natives.
Prior to this epiphany I used to think that either shouting slowly or trying to say things in English with a fake French accent were the best ideas.
Of course I could be wrong, and it’s just possible that the French are doing to the English what the English do to the Americans.
Next time I tell an American to go to the river “Tham-esse”, or go to “glouw-sester-shire”, maybe I’ll think twice.