What Is Received Pronunciation?


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Will Martin answered
Received Pronunciation (RP) is rather like a spoken form of Standard English, but much more problematic. Sometimes it is called "The Queen's English" (although this is inaccurate as the British Royal Family actually speak a variant of "upper-class" English, using pronunciation forms like "orf" for "off", which are not RP.) Originally, what is now RP was a dialect of southern England, which for various historical reasons became accepted as the "right" way to speak all over the country. Unlike Standard English, which is more to do with a nationally agreed way of using vocabulary and grammar (and essentially a shared means of communication) insistence on RP has often had more to do with snobbery than with practicality. Historically some accents have been regarded as more "acceptable" than others, for reasons which have nothing to do with their intelligibility. Research by linguists such as John Honey has found , for example, that people from southern England associate some northern accents, such as Yorkshire, with hard work and honesty, but others, like Newcastle, with poor education. Most such prejudice is unconscious, but that makes it even harder to deal with.

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