Phonological Change

The Schwa

RP

Estuary English

Consonant Change

Accent/Dialect

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PHONOLOGICAL CHANGE
The most significant change in spoken English occurred during 1400 and 1600. During
this period the long vowels of Middle English changed.
Between 1700 and 1900 the long `a' vowel sound in words such as `path' (pronounced
`parth') came to be used in Southern Britain. Before this it would have been
pronounced in its shorter form like in the Midlands and Northern England.
ACCENT ­phonological
DIALECT ­ lexical
A PERSON'S ACCENT ONLY REFERS TO THE WAY THEY SOUND ­ THE WAY THEY PRONOUNCE
THEIR WORDS
A PERSON'S DIALECT DETERMINES THE GRAMMATICAL AND LEXICAL CHOICES THEY USE WHEN
THEY SPEAK
UNLESS YOU ARE READING A TRANSCRIPT YOU CAN'T USUALLY SEE ACCENTS BUT YOU CAN SEE
DIALECTS.
THE MYSTICAL SCHWA
The schwa is denoted by the IPA symbol
It is a generic vowel sound
The most common vowel sound in LME and PDE and it's used on
unstressed syllables e.g. about uhbout
Even used in RP
CONSONANT CHANGE
Before the 19th century the present participle ­ing was pronounced
­in even by the middle and upper class
In PDE some speakers replace the `th' with an `f'
o Fink Think
o Bof Both
o Fin Thin
A feature of Estuary English
RECEIVED PRONUNCIATION
RP was seen as the standard English accent and it sometimes called
the Queen's English
It's a prestige accent ­ it's associated with a good standing in
society and with being well-educated

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The emergence of RP in the 20th Century caused regional accents
to be seen as socially inferior
RP was adopted as the official accent on the BBC in 1922 because
they thought it was the accent that everyone can understand
This added to its prestige value ­ as all the broadcasts on radio
(and later TV) were in RP, it became the accent of authority
From the late 1950s onwards, RP changed a lot, becoming more
like the `posh' Southern accent
In the 60's more…read more

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