For ages now I have tried to explain to many (but not all) friends that there are very distinct differences in accents. Apparently most people can't tell the difference between an Irish accent and a Scottish accent UNLESS they are from there (or a nearby area). I've tried to explain that even within those regions the accents vary.
Using the simple fact that most people in America can tell the difference between a Boston "Southy" accent, and a southern accent. Or how one can usually tell if a person hails from the Jersey Shore vs. Chicago.... but most Americans don't understand (or even believe) that in Scotland alone the accents have AT LEAST 10 easily recognizable different dialects.
Sometimes it's as simple as little words, and inflections; other times I hear someone speak and I am instantly able to tell they came from the north eastern highlands of Scotland. It's not a hidden talent or anything. I lived there once, and my ears pick up on it more than someone that has rarely (or never) heard that dialect.
The thing that gets me is when someone thinks an Irish person is Australian, or that a British person is a Kiwi; or even when a Scottish person is thought to be Irish.
I'm not being snobby about this, I'm no dialect expert by any stretch of the imagination... I just grew up around, and hung out with, people from many places. I screw it up sometimes too and have thought something like someone from Australia is from New Zealand. It's a common mistake here in America.
That all said, I have friends in the UK that absolutely do NOT recognize the difference in dialect when a friend from New Orleans and I are having a conversation with them. They don't hear the southern accent, they usually, if anything, say the person has a smooth & easy voice.
My boyfriend lives in London (born and raised there) and while I joke about him being the poshest cockney ('cause it's actually true), his voice, depending on who he is talking to or what he is talking about, switches in dialect. Personally I find it adorable when that happens. He probably thinks I'm bananas when I tell him his accent is sexiest when he's really pissed off... but it is. Problem for me is that, with the exception of certain words that are pronounced VERY differently in the UK than in America (like how "oregano" is pronounced "or-egg-ah-no" in America, it's "or-eh-gah-no" in the UK... oh, or "aluminum"... in the UK they add an extra vowel and it's "aluminium")... I don't necessarily notice his accent any longer. It's not what made me fall in love with him... but don't get me wrong, it is indeed sexy.
Anyway, I didn't start this blog post to discuss my boyfriend's sexy voice and the things he says (totally saving that up for this winter when I'll have massive amounts of material :) )... I wanted to post this video of a kid in England that at his young age has somehow become a dialect savant. Don't let the length of the video disuade you from watching, it's truly impressive. I was even blown away by his "American".... mostly because, in my experience, most English/Scottish/Irish people tend to go all nasal when they try an American accent. This kid doesn't, check him out... it's more than a little impressive... AND it might just teach you some of the differences. Rarely does one have a bunch of examples all at once, I think this lil' video might actually help you hear the differences... plus his choice of presentation is pretty funny....