English Language AS: Part 5 - Accent and Dialect

As Level English Language Revision Document, AQA – Paper 2 Revision: Accent and Dialect

Accent and Dialect

Key terms • Received Pronunciation Cockney Estuary English North-South divide: Lancashire• 5 Theories • 

Key terms

Dialect levelling – process of a person/group’s language becoming similar to one another. This results in the reduction of variation between dialects of the same language where speakers of these dialects being brought together.

Overt – changing the way language is used for general social aspiration

Covert - changing the way language is used to fit in with a certain social group


Received Pronunciation


RP emerged as a standardised accent-less way of speaking that did not identify where the individual had grown up in. This came from wealthy children attending private schools as these schools wanted to give the children more prestige. RP is said to be the standard accent of the UK, though some argue that it is only for the south of England. RP is an accent only; there are no dialect words.

There are many attitudes to RP. All associate the accent with money and power, though some believe it has undeserved privilege. Prior to the 1970s all BBC broadcasts used speakers with an RP accent.

In 2007 a survey conducted showed that Scotland and Northern Ireland dislike RP.

It is believed that only 3-4% of people in UK speak with an RP accent.


  • Long ‘a’ sounds in words like ‘bath’ and ‘grass’

  • Avoids use of diphthongs

  • Enunciated consonants

  • Uses /ju/ sound

  • Uses standard grammatical forms

  • Use of pauses rather than intrusive ‘r’s


Elongated ‘a’ sound

Bath Grass

Avoids diphthongs


Enunciated consonants

All consonants can be heard

Uses standard grammatical forms

Will not use double negatives, ‘ain’t’ etc

/ju/ sound

Tuesday, News

Use of pauses rather than intrusive r’s

Law and order




The term refers to both the accent and the speakers of it. It is known to be the broadest form of a London accent that originally came from the working classes of London. Traditionally, a person had to have been born within earshot of the bells of St Mary leBow church in the east end of the city. This was a working class area of London. As time has passed and buildings have been built and traffic grown heavier the sound of the bells do not carry as far as they had done once and so now a lot of people can say they are Cockney.


  • Cockney rhyming slang

  • th’ sounds switching for a ‘v’/’f’ sound

  • Use of double negatives

  • Reversed verb forms

  • h’ dropping

  • l’ sound switching to ‘w’

  • Glottal ‘t’

  • Schwa sound: If the word has a slurred or unstressed "uh" sound, it is usually a schwa. Some typical examples of schwas for certain vowels are; The A in adept. The E in synthesis. The I in decimal. The O in harmony. The U in medium. The Y in syringe The -tion suffix


No comments have yet been made