RP/BBC English or British English as a standard language (42974)

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Plan


Introduction

Chapter 1. RP/BBC English as the British national standard of pronunciation

1.1 Socio-historical survey of RP/BBC English

1.2 Phonological and phonetic dimensions of RP/BBC English

Chapter 2. British English as a standard of pronunciation in Great Britain

2.1 History

2.2 Dialects and accents

2.3 Regional

2.4 Standardization

Chapter 3. Cockney as an example of a broad accent of British English

Chapter 4. Black British as one of the most widespread dialects in Great Britain

Chapter 5. Differences in pronunciation between British and American English

Chapter 6. Estuary English as one of the dialects of British English

Chapter 7. Chief differences between RP and regional accents of British English

Conclusions

Резюме

References


Introduction


All the sounds in all languages are always in process of change. During those times when people from different regions communicated with each other not often, it was natural that the speech of all communities did not develop in one direction or at the same rate. Moreover, different parts of the country were subjected to different extreme influences, which were the reasons for different phonetic structures of the language. Especially, for the last five centuries, in Great Britain has existed the notion that one kind of pronunciation of English is preferable socially to others. One regional accent began to acquire social prestige. For reasons of politics, commerce and the presence of the Court, it was the pronunciation of the south-east of England and more particularly to that of the London Region, that this prestige was attached. This pronunciation is called Received Pronunciation which is regarded as a model for correct pronunciation, particularly for educated formal speech.

It is to be noticed that the role of RP in the English-speaking world has changed very considerably in the last century. Over 300 million people now speak English as their first language and of this number native RP speakers form only a minute proportion. George Bernard Shaw said that the United States and United Kingdom are “two countries divided by a common language” [14].

Many scientists, such as D. Jones, J.C. Wells, J. Gimson, S. Johnson, S. Jeffries, J. Maidment, D considered RP/BBC to be an important issue to pay their attention to. The object of this research is RP as a norm of pronunciation of British English and its accents and dialects. The subject of the research is devoted to the peculiarities of the development of RP from D. Jones to Wells.

The practical value of the research consists in providing different approaches to the problem of RP in Modern English. The material which was used to supply this research with examples is the following: George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion (film “My fair lady”), Linton Kwesi Johnson’s poem "Sonny's Lettah" and the BBC news. This turn paper consists of the introductory, seven chapters, conclusion, summary and the list of used literature.

Seven chapters are:

  1. RP/BBC English as the British national standard of pronunciation

  2. British English as a standard of pronunciation in Great Britain

  3. Cockney as an example of a broad accent of British English

  4. Black British as one of the most widespread dialects in Great Britain

  5. Differences in pronunciation between British and American English

  6. Estuary English as one of the dialects of British English

  7. Chief differences between RP and regional accents of British English


Chapter 1. RP/BBC English as the British national standard of pronunciation


1.1 Socio-historical survey of RP/BBC English


Gimson claims that the historical origins of RP go back to the 16th-17th century recommendations that the speech model should be that provided by the educated pronunciation of the court and the capital [Gimson 1980]. Thus, the roots of RP in London, more particularly the pronunciation of the London region and the Home countries lying around London within 60 miles: Middlesex, Essex, Kent, Surrey. By the 18th century a prestigious pronunciation model was characterized as the speech " received by the polite circles of society " [Gimson: 1977].

By the 19th century London English had increasingly acquired social prestige losing be of its local characteristics. It was finally fixed as the pronunciation of the ruling class. According to Leither, in the mid 19th century there was an increase in education, in particular, there occurred the rise of public schools (since 1864 Public School Act). These schools became important agencies in the transmission of Southern English as the form with highest prestige. Since that time London English or Southern English was termed as Classroom English, Public School English or Educated English [Liether: 1982]. That was a forceful normalization movement towards the establishment of Educated Southern English as the standard accent. The major reasons for this were:

  1. The need for a clearly defined and recognized norm for public and other purposes;

  2. The desire to provide adequate descriptions for teaching English both as the mother tongue and a foreign language.

Professor Daniel Jones described this variety as a hoped-for standard pronunciation in the first editions of his books "The Pronunciation of English" [1909] and "Outline of English Phonetics" [1917]. By 1930, however, any intention of setting up a standard of Spoken English was disclaimed by many phoneticians. The term "Standard Pronunciation" was replaced by "Received Pronunciation", which had been introduced for Southern Educated English by phonetician Ida Ward who defined it as pronunciation which " had lost all easily noticeable local differences" [Leitner: 1982]. According to Wells the British Broadcasting Corporation (the BBC) adopted RP for the use by its news-readers since 1920s. The country's population, for more than half a century, had been exposed through broadcasting to RP. Until the early 70s of the last century it was the only accent demanded in the BBC's announcers. For that reason RP often became identified in the public mind with BBC English. Only over the last 30 years, both the BBC and other British national radio and TV channels have been increasingly tolerant of the accent of their broadcasters. [Wells: 1982].


1.2 Phonological and phonetic dimensions of RP/BBC English


Now we will outline main segmental features of RP/BBC English.

As for its phoneme inventory, Gimson states, that this accent has 20 vowels and 24 consonants. The system of vowels embraces 12 pure vowels or monophthongs: i:, i, æ, Λ, a:, o, o:, υ, u:, з:, ә and 8 diphthongs: ei, ai, oi, әυ, aυ, iә, eә, υә. The system of RP consonants consists of the following two wide categories of sounds:

1) those typically associated with a noise component: p, b, t, d, k, g, f, v, θ, ð, s, z, ʃ,з, h, tʃ,dз;

2) those without a noise component which may share many phonetic characteristics with vowels - 7 sonorants : m, n, ŋ, 1, r, j, w.

Measurements of text frequency of occurrence of RP vowels and consonants display the following picture: [Gimson: 2001]

According to the phonotactic specification of /r/ occurrence, RP is a non-rhotic or r-less accent, i.e. /r/ does not occur after a vowel or at the end of the words. It may be claimed that /r/ in RP has a limited distribution, being restricted in its occurrence to pre-vocalic positions.

Prof. J C. Wells in his article "Cockneyfication of RP" discusses several of recent and current sound changes in RP. He considers in turn:

1) the decline of weak /I/,

2) glottalling,

A lot of bright examples of glottalling we can find in George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion” ( film “My Fair Lady”):

e.g. So cheer up, Captain; and buy a flower off a poor girl. / e.g. What’s that? That ain’t proper writing. /e.g. Buy a flower, kind gentleman. /

3) 1-vocalization,

4) intrusive /r/,

5) yod coalescence,

e.g. Then what did you take my words for? / e.g. Now you know, don’t you? I’m come to have lessons, I am. / e.g. Would you mind if I take a seat? /

6) assorted lexical changes.

V. Parashchuk claims that there is a tendency towards the so-called smoothing (tightening, reduction) of the sequences / aiə /, /aυә/ ("thripthongs"), the medial element of which may be elided. They are sometimes reduced to a long open vowel, e.g. power /pa:/, tower /ta:/, fire /fa:/, our /a:/. Though the full forms have been retained in the latest edition of the LPD as the main variants, their reduced counterparts are very common in casual RP: /aυә - aә - a:/.

There is a tendency, though not a very consistent one, to make the diphthong /υә/ a positional allophone of /o:/ . It is increasingly replaced by /o:/ , e.g. the most common form of sure has /o:/ with a similar drift being true for poor, mour, tour and their derivatives. Rare words, such as gourd, dour tend to retain /υә/without a common /o:/ variant. Words in which /υә/ is preceded by a consonant plus /j/ are relatively resistant to this shift, e.g. pure, curious, fury, furious.

There is a yod-dropping tendency after /s/ in the words like suit, super and their derivatives, e.g. suitcase, suitable, supreme, superior, supermarket - these have the dominant form without /j/. In words, where /j/ occurs after the consonants other than /s/, it still remains the dominant form in RP, e.g. enthusiasm, news, student. [Parashchuk: 2005]


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