Attitudes towards Received Pronunciation (RP)

  • Created by: Chessie
  • Created on: 10-05-19 11:58

David Crystal's views on Standard English

1. It's not regionally based.

2. It has distinctive feautres of grammar, vocabulary and orthography but not pronunciation- Standard English can be spoken in any accent.

3. It's the most prestigious variety of English.

4. It's the most widely understood.

5. It's commonly used in printed texts.

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Other attitudes towards Standard English

  • Many people see it as a 'correct' form of English.
  • Sloppy or incorrect usage of the English language usually is based on the benchmark that Standard English sets.
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Statistics about Accent:

  • Only 3% of the British Population now speak pure RP.
  • 28% of Brits feel discriminated against because of how they sound (their accent).
  • 8% of Brits have made themselves sound more posh in favour of upwards convergence.
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Attitudes to the RP accent


  • RP speakers are viewed as less attractive than regional accents.
  • RP speakers are also seen to be deadpan/unfunny, insincere and unfriendly.
  • Rural accents are viewed more positively.


  • RP is widely associated with authority- it is used by the upper class and those who do not feel as though they belong feel socially distant from it.
  • Most people have a positive view towards the countryside and respond favourably to rural accents.
  • The media enforces stereotypes of this (e.g - Countrylife butter adverts always feature rural farmers - apart from the time Johnny Rotten was on there)
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Estuary English


  • The Second World War: the London population moved around Britain and this made some places 'under attack' (in terms of their regional accent), which has led to their accent being replaced with Estuary English.


  • Glottal stops (e.g. - omission of the 't' sound in heartache/heartbreak)
  • L-vocalisation (e.g.- 'faw' opposed to 'fall')

Aims of its speakers:

  • Speakers of Estuary English aim for a 'classless profile'.
  • Due to this, an increase of Estuary English speakers could lead to dialect levelling
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Covert and Overt Prestige

Covert Prestige: used to go against societal norms (e.g.- downwards convergence) 

  • Devon accent is covertly prestigious

Overt Prestige: used to conform to respectable, socially desired behaviours (e.g.- upwards convergence)

  • RP accent is overtly prestigious
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7: Examples of Cockney Rhyming Slang

To include in a possible opinion article:

  • 'Adam and Eve' - 'believe'
  • 'Bees and honey' - 'money'
  • 'Brahms & Liszt' - 'drunk'
  • 'Butcher's hook' - 'look'
  • 'Dog & bone' - 'phone'
  • 'Trouble & strife' - 'wife'
  • 'Whistle & flute' - 'suit'
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