Accents in 'Downton Abbey' series

I have recently watched the first episode of ‘Downton Abbey’ series and couldn’t understand the servants’ accents whereas speech of the Crawley family is quite intelligible. Have you ever watched ‘Downton Abbey’? Did you have any problems with speech recognition? What can you recommend to improve understanding accents?


Hi Irina,

What you can do is watch some more and eventually you will understand some of the accents, because it will become contextually clear what the downstairs personnel talk about. If it doesn’t I would suggest putting on the subtitles for the hearing impaired. That is ofcourse if you have the series on DVD. If you don’t, I’m sure the library will have a copy that you can borrow.

P.S.: I know it’s difficult.

I hope this helps.


Hi Masme,

Thank you. I hope my ear will get accustomed to different British accents one day.


Hi Irina,

You’re very welcome and you will get used to it. Don’t give up.

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I never heard of this show, but I just watched an episode on YouTube. I’m a native speaker and I had a hard time understanding some of the dialog myself. Although most of it wasn’t a problem.

I’m American and I sometimes even have trouble with some American accents, like a strong Cajun accent.

In Downton, the aristocrats spoke more slowly and clearly. The bits that I didn’t understand were spoken quickly as well as having an accent.

Anyway, I just got the entire first season from the library.


Hi NN,

It’s worthwile watching, but if you do not understand the different British dialects and accents, I recommend putting on the subtitles for the hearing impaired.