Estuary English


What is Estuary English?

-It is a variety of modified reigonal speech.

-It is a mixture of non-reigonal and local South-Eastern pronunciation and intonation.

-It was first used in the early 1980's.

-It has spread outwards to several other parts of the country.

-It is a kind of modified Cockney. Features include the 'Glottal Stop' which is the dropping of the 't'.

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Origins and Spread of Estuary English

-It originates in the banks of the Thames Estuary.

-It seems to be the most influential accent in the South-East of England.

-It is to be heard on the front and back benches of the House of Commons and is used by some members of the Lords.

-It is well established in the city and in the media.

-It is in a strong position to exert influence on the pronunciation of the future.

-A reason for the spread of EE is the movement of Londoners away from the capital.

-Another is that some cockneys have modified their speech and moved it closer to RP, either because they have moved to another area or because they have acquired higher social status.

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Features of Estuary English

-The 'V': found neither in RP nor "London" pronunciation.

-Vowel qualities in EE are a compromise between unmodified reigonal forms and those of general RP.

-The intonation of EE is characterised by frequent prominence being given to prepositions and auxiliary verbs which are not normally stressed in general RP.

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Attitudes of Estuary English

-Because it obscures socio-linguistic origins, 'Estuary English' is attractive to many.

-People use it to fit into new environments by compromising but not losing their original linguistic identity.

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Future of Estuary English

-EE is in a strong position to exert influence on the pronunciation of the future.

-EE may become the RP of the future.

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David Rosewarne and Estuary English

-He said no accent is intrinsically good or bad, but it has to be recognised that the way we perceive accents doesn't play a role in our attitude towards others.

-Example: a negative view towards Brummie's.

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