In Europe people can pinpoint what part of the country you are from by your accent. Nowhere is this as true as in Britain. According to Globe and Mail writer Paul Waldie, British parents are so anxious to see their kids get a leg up on completion that they are hiring tutors to teach them to lose some of those tell-tale regional accents, that can stigmatize one forever. This seems to fly in the face of the politically-correct BBC, once the bastion of posh accents, but more recently, in an attempt at inclusion, has increasingly put presenters with regional accents on the air. Whether such social experimentation will work is open to question. I am always amazed that in an era of mass communication, Ipods, Skype, American domination of the world cinema scene, that British youth have nonetheless retained very strong regional accents and centuries-old expressions. We have earlier discussed how in large parts of Britian people cannot pronounce “th”, substituting “f” instead. So you get “frew” for “through” and “Keef” for Keith (Richards). We also have noted the use of anachronisms like “naught” (pronounced ‘nowt”) for nothing and “aught” for anything. “Summat” (something ) is common. Teaching British kids to “talk posh” is going to be a challenge. If you listen to the Queen’s grandchildren, William and Harry, especially Harry, they do not have posh accents. William has a university degree, Harry does not. And if you listen to the boys cousins, Sarah Ferguson’s daughters, Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice, they talk like the Spice Girls (Posh excepted). Their father Charles has a traditional clipped posh manner of speaking, similar to his father, Prince Philip. He may be the last posh Royal. Paul Waldie’s article is here.
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