But I acknowledge that my difficulties in coping with the Scottishness of their pronunciation is a shortcoming of my own rather than of theirs.
Not everyone takes that line.
Today’s Guardian has an amusing article poking fun at the letters page of the Daily Mail (a sensationalist right-wing paper).
Its criticism is directed towards the letters editor of the Mail for printing a xenophobic rant about TV coverage of the World Cup. The writer of the letter had to sit through “a match between Bongo Bongoland and the Former Soviet Republic of Bulimia and other meaningless events”. In mitigation (?), the Guardian points out that the paper also saw fit to print “the tragic tale of a man from the Home Counties who has been forced to listen to a Northern Irish accent”.
I can't understand the popularity of the woman on The One Show on BBC1 each evening [Christine Bleakley]. Her accent is almost indecipherable. Lord Reith must be turning in his grave.
I agree that we English people tend to feel that from the point of view of intelligibility a Belfast accent is a Glasgow accent in spades. But it does not follow that Ulster people should be banned from the airwaves.
There’s a lesson here for EFL, too. Learners should not be exposed only to an unvarying diet of RP (or General American). Like NSs, they need to practise their listening comprehension for a wide range of varieties of English.