Can you tell someone’s social class by the way they speak?

Accent and grammar


In the UK, very often, yes. But other countries don't have such clear social divides.

Jimmy C

Yes. You can tell immediately in England or most European countries. It is more difficult to tell in Canada and the US because there is not as much difference in the way they speak. Americans confuse class with wealth. They are not the same thing. In England there are some very wealthy lower class people with no manners, the 'nouveau riche', as well as some poor upper class lords and ladies. There is more of an inherent class structure in Europe going back hundreds of years.


I don't think so.


In general, no. But, in specific cases, maybe, depending on exactly what they are saying. Like, if they are always talking about how they bought a Lamborghini, or how they grew up in Beverly Hills, or something like that, as opposed to someone who is talking about how they always have to cut back to be able to afford both their medicine and food or rent, at the same time.


In Britain the uneducated can't suppress the tiresome habit of "fck this, fck that" every 3 seconds. I tend to avoid them for this reason. Also, they say I seen, you was, he done, I'm gonna lay down, between you and I, and additionally their spelling is dreadful.


Sometimes in the US, but there is a lot of play in the way many speak. Many intentionally speak differently, either up trying to prove they belong or are educated. Or down trying to be cool or whatever. There is also the old if you do not use it, you lose it. So one may have been educated or taught in one manner but spend most of their time with those who speak in another manner. Over time, they pick up what they hear the most. Another mentioned it,but there is a huge confusion about what is class/classy and wealth. The two are very different but there is a huge overlap in the state.


Usually not. I don’t know why everyone says “I seen” when surely they were never taught that. It’s very annoying because it’s very poor grammar. And I have heard every race and socio-economic background use it. They should know that it’s “I saw” or “I have seen”.


Sometimes , more often than not people are very much aware of it when that's the case though. For instance in my hometown of the Hague in the Netherlands there is a slang/dialect found in the working class called 'hagenees' or 'plat haags'which has Yiddish influences and a lot of sharp sounds, while on the other hand the Hague being the historical seat of government there is also a way of speaking (hagenaars or bekakt haags) that is kind of half way between aristocracy and middle class with influences from dialects all over the country because representatives and government workers came from all over the country. If someone identifies with the group that's historically workingclass they speak differently then if they identify with the other group, but they are aware of it most of the time.


Not so much their class as their personality. I am prim, even prudish, while I have a nearly 40 year old daughter who swears like a sailor. I care a lot about the meaning of words and she cares about the impact of them.