Learning English as a foreign language in the UK, home of the mother tongue and the lingua franca, is an enriching, gratifying, life-enhancing thing to do.

But, a word of warning. The UK comprises multiple different regional dialects. As a result, there can be a touch of postcode lottery to learning English a foreign language.  English can be like a foreign language to itself and to its native speakers.

One of the best cases to illustrate this point is bread. The staff of life. The humble slice.

Different regional descriptions for bread that automatically spring to mind are:-

  • Bap (in Scotland)
  • Bara (in Wales)
  • Barm (in Lancashire)
  • Batch (in Warwickshire)
  • Bun (in the North east)
  • Cob (in the Midlands)
  • Roll (generic)
  • Softie (in Aberdeen)
  • Stottie (in the North east)

But the list doesn’t stop there apparently.

Lauren Cocking’s article for BBC Travel cites a University of Manchester study about this very subject. The study unearthed even more bread terms per buck.

Oldham got in on the action with ‘muffin’” and Other sources often throw even more intensely regional options into the mix, like Lancashire’s ‘oven bottoms’, and the Leeds area ‘scufflers’ or ‘breadcakes’ (the aforementioned barm sometimes comes suffixed with ‘cake’, too).” 

It’s exactly these sorts of quirky nuances that make learning English as a foreign language sometimes challenging, but always fun.

When a native journalist with a firm grasp of the English language holds her hands up to the sheer craziness, the proof is surely in the (bread) pudding. Lauren explains,

“While to me a ‘teacake’ naturally implies a plain, savoury bread roll, most of the country outside West Yorkshire believes a teacake to be a sweet bread laden with plump currants.” 

Confused? You will be.

But, then again, you won’t be. At award-winning La Academia, we’re on a mission to help you unravel the mysteries of learning English as a foreign language. Trust us, your efforts towards learning English as a foreign language won’t be toast for sure.


Why the UK has so many words for bread, Lauren Cocking, BBC Travel