Tag Archives: Received Pronunciation (RP)

“Orphan Black’s” House of Dialect Mirrors

I’ve recently been watching Orphan Black, BBC America’s sci-fi mystery about human clones. For reference, here is the guns-sex-and-intrigue-laden preview: The show admittedly has its silly moments, but its lead actor makes up for these. Not only does one woman (Tatiana Maslany) … Continue reading

Share

Posted in American English | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

David Beckham’s “Poshification”

Researchers from  University of Manchester recently announced that David Beckham has “poshed up” his accent since moving the the United States (pun probably intended). Given that Beckham is one of the biggest sports stars in the world, it’s fairly easy … Continue reading

Share

Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 19 Comments

The Death of Drama School Accent Enforcement

Although I enjoy the series Downton Abbey, I know little about the personal lives of its cast members. So the other day, after watching a program on PBS, I was startled by a promo interview with the actress who plays … Continue reading

Share

Posted in British English | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Jane Austen’s English

A reader recently wrote me with a question about the language in Jane Austen’s novels: I see you’ve talked a little about accent in Shakespeare’s time, but do we know how English people sounded during the Regency era? I think … Continue reading

Share

Posted in British English | Tagged , | 11 Comments

“Aristocratic” American, Part 2: Samuel Barber

[This is my second post on the non-rhotic accent once spoken by the Northeastern US Elite. My first post on the subject, about Eleanor Roosevelt’s accent, can be found here. West Chester is an town in Eastern Pennsylvania with a beautiful … Continue reading

Share

Posted in American English | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Irvine, The Prince, And Military Dialects

Food Network addicts will recognize the inspiration for today’s post, Robert Irvine, the energetic host of Restaurant:Impossible. From the moment I heard Irvine speak, I was more struck by his odd idiolect than his culinary acumen: Irvine is an Englishman … Continue reading

Share

Posted in Miscellaneous Accents and Dialects | Tagged , | 10 Comments

Chelsea-Speak

While doing some channel surfing the other day, I stumbled upon the reality show Made in Chelsea. I’d describe the program to Americans as akin to The Hills or Laguna Beach (although I don’t recall Lauren Conrad cracking jokes about “phonological … Continue reading

Share

Posted in British English | Tagged , , | 11 Comments

Was Received Pronunciation Ever Rhotic?

People around the world associate Britain with non-rhoticity, the process whereby /r/ is dropped at the end of syllables such as ‘car‘ and ‘start.’ This impression largely stems from the fact that the non-rhotic Received Pronunciation (RP) was the standard for … Continue reading

Share

Posted in British English | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Aristocratic American (Mrs. Roosevelt’s Accent)

I often discuss Received Pronunciation, the British accent which was long the standard of educated speech in England. Although Americans have a hard time understanding how an accent spoken by so few people could be the ‘standard,’ we in fact had … Continue reading

Share

Posted in American English | Tagged , , | 25 Comments

The Goose Room and the Foot Room

Some differences in pronunciation cross traditional dialect boundaries. One such curio is the word ‘room,’ which has two common variants: one with the vowel in ‘goose,’ and the other with the ‘lax’ vowel in ‘foot.’ I use the vowel in … Continue reading

Share

Posted in English Phonetics | Tagged , , | 18 Comments