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Mobility, contact and an accent norm: the case of Received Pronunciation Anne Fabricius Roskilde University April 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Mobility, contact and an accent norm: the case of Received Pronunciation Anne Fabricius Roskilde University April 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Mobility, contact and an accent norm: the case of Received Pronunciation Anne Fabricius Roskilde University April 2004

2 Structure of the paper First part: a renewed sociolinguistics of RP a renewed social class analysis Second part: changing forms of native RP changing norms of construct RP

3 A renewed sociolinguistics Construct RP (norms) versus native RP (forms) the systematic ambiguity? RP the domain of phoneticians? Not a vernacular? RP speakers not suitable as subjects? BUT Forms and norms change at different speeds; need to separate cRP and nRP

4 One example of norms: thats the thing, it is, singing in a choir is a very standardising thing and and in the case of X (college) its standardising to some vague notion of RP of fifty years ago I think, which is no doubt what our world service listeners want to hear, who knows (Male speaker recorded in Cambridge in 1997)

5 J. Milroy 2001 Received pronunciation: who receives it and how long will it be received phonetic forms still exist Social situation no longer the same as RPs heyday RP still exists but does not exist: a paradox Need two separate entities

6 Do social elites persist in the UK? Cultural distinctions and nuances remain legion. Accents, houses, cars, schools, sports, food, fashion, drink, smoking, supermarkets, soap operas, holiday destinations, even training shoes: virtually everything in life is graded with subtle or unsubtle class tags attached…And underpinning these distinctions are fundamental differences in upbringing, education and occupations. (Adonis and Pollard 1997:10)

7 The classless society… a clever ruse to discredit the notion of class divisions without actually denying their existence… The classless society is therefore not a society without classes, but … a meritocratic society providing means for people to advance by ability regardless of class origins. (Adonis and Pollard 1997:14-15) Educational segregation in the independent sector in UK from pre-school age…

8 Admissions to Cambridge Year of EntryState School (%) Independent school (%) 20031,643 (55)1,360 (45) 20021,672 (56)1,340 (44) 20011,458 (53)1,336 (47) 20001,458 (52)1,336 (48) 19991,461 (53)1,320 (47)

9 Savage 2000: Class Analysis and Social transformation Economic inequality continues to segregate through education, plus Class cultures have been transformed; loss of working class independence New middle class modes of individualization come to the fore Horizontal versus vertical dimension emphasized, discourse of career the classless society/ the classless accent

10 Consonant : London + Home Counties + Rest Pause:London + Home Counties Rest Vowel:LondonHome Counties Rest Is RP regionalising?: T-glottalling localised

11 Construct RP at the micro-level 1 I: um did your mother and father ever talk about um the way that you spoke as a child R: yes… not so much me as the other two [younger siblings] cause the other two used to glottally stop all the time so theyd go wha and my motherd go what like this

12 Construct RP at the micro-level 2 R: theres sort of a slight backlash going on at the moment, my mother says yer she says hes twenty-three years old and its like "No, mother, year" I: so youre correcting her R: trying to sort of slightly bring this back down to not quite so much like 50s BBC television presenters (…)

13 Attitudes to RP Dialect in discourse attitude study York secondary schools Samples male/female, RP/regional, qualitative and quantitative data Results: female RP speaker judged more positively than male RP speaker

14 Conclusions Fruitful to split RP into native and construct RP Looking at a social groups changing accent forms via language variation and change paradigm And changing norms expressed in conscious and near-conscious attitudes What constitutes an accent norm?

15 Appendix 1: samples Male RP Female RP Male regional Female regional

16 Results of Keyword analysis Tot H H E E T T N N

17 Keyword Categories 1.nervous and not very confident 2.positive, confident and independent 3.boring and quiet 4.interesting, outgoing, chatty, bubbly, straightforward 5.average achiever, not very intelligent 6.intelligent, well-educated, well-spoken, ambitious 7.posh, snobby, spoilt 8.friendly, relaxed, trustworthy, pleasant


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