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Is life easier in some ways for people who speak RP?

(85 Posts)
user1466795981 Fri 12-Aug-16 12:42:22

I have an older (retired) male friend/acquaintance who lives in a provincial town.

He is convinced he is called 'sir' in shops etc and addressed more courteously as he speaks in this way and not in the local/regional accent.

The merits of being attractive have recently been discussed. Is speaking 'RP' an advantage?

witsender Fri 12-Aug-16 12:43:31

I think so. Not PC of course, but I think it is still the case.

willowtreecottage Fri 12-Aug-16 12:44:14

Yes, it has totally protected me from the evils of life.
Like a special kind of ready brek glow!😂

Shallishanti Fri 12-Aug-16 12:49:37

the only way to tell would be to follow round an identical man who behaves identically but speaks with the local accent!
My accent is more RP than the local one, I think being treated politely flows from treating others politely and pleasantly.
But I do think people perceive you as more educated/advantaged if you speak RP- but that impression may only last till you do or say something stupid.

FoxesOnSocks Fri 12-Aug-16 12:50:48

No, maybe protects from prejudice views (of certain RP speakers).

Though in reality this protection is no more than non-RP speakers are shielded from the prejudice of other non-RP speakers. In other words you having the same accent as a prejudice person stops them having ridiculous opinions of you.

Possibilityofanisland Fri 12-Aug-16 12:51:46

When I meet new people sometimes they assume I'm stuck up because of my accent. I think it depends where you live. When I lived in Lancashire some people reacted quite negatively towards me. On the other hand it's always served me well in interviews.

ItchyArmpits Fri 12-Aug-16 12:54:24

Pros and cons.

I don't think I would have got my current job if I had a strong local accent. (I work with some massive snobs)

Then again, I think that subconsciously a lot of people trust people who sound like them, and I think a lot of people don't quite believe me when I say I've lived here for over 90% of my life. Or maybe I'm just shifty-looking.

user1466795981 Fri 12-Aug-16 12:56:37

Shallishanti - that would certainly be a good controlled experiment/case study.

In all honesty, from my life experience, confidence and self respect are the two biggest determinants of how people are treated irrespective of ANY other factor!!!

SymphonyofShadows Fri 12-Aug-16 12:57:53

I think so. I speak RP but DP is very cockney sounding. People are far more likely to judge him negatively based on his accent and underestimate his intelligence. We are both engineers but he is far more qualified than I am and his family is far wealthier than mine, but I am judged to be the 'posh' one who 'comes from money'.

IceRoadDucker Fri 12-Aug-16 12:57:57

What the hell is RP?

VikingVolva Fri 12-Aug-16 12:59:42

RP is terribly old-fashioned nowadays (it's the accent of dinner-suited 1950s television presenters) and if I ever hear it, it sounds fearfully over-posh. It's pretty rare nowadays too, so yes I think your friend is probably right that it influences how people react to him.

ItchyArmpits Fri 12-Aug-16 12:59:52

RP = received pronunciation.

Neutral, regional-accentless. Bog-standard BBC news reader.

LunaLoveg00d Fri 12-Aug-16 13:02:00

Depends where you are. In Glasgow, you'd stick out like a sore thumb with a RP accent. However, there is a whole range of speech from sounding like Rab C Nesbitt on one end of hte scale and RP on the other. We speak properly, grammatically correctly, don't mangle words or drop letters but still have a Scottish accent. Round here, most people speak the same way.

AuntieStella Fri 12-Aug-16 13:02:00

"What the hell is RP?"

It's a specific accent, codified last century and named 'Received Pronunciation'. It was, I suppose, a widespread 'educated' accent (certainly non-localised) until about the 1950s, but isn't heard much now except in old films.

mrsfuzzy Fri 12-Aug-16 13:02:43

received pronunciation, standard english.

JockMonsieur Fri 12-Aug-16 13:03:25

i don't know anyone who speaks RP
it's far posher and more affected than a home counties middle-class accent. even the royal family appear to have ditched it.

EndodSummerLooming Fri 12-Aug-16 13:05:48

My mother who is 81 is a bit RP. I am poshly neutral. Our DC have attended fee paying well known schools and some of their friends and parents of have titles. Well, spoken, often try to be cool by being a bit street. I can think of one lad who was vair plummy. They did their best to knock it out of him.

mrsfuzzy Fri 12-Aug-16 13:05:56

as long as you can be understood it shouldn't matter, why is it un pc ? most of which is total bolly anyway.

sonjadog Fri 12-Aug-16 13:07:02

I think it used to be the case, but not any more.

user1466795981 Fri 12-Aug-16 13:08:09

VikingVolva - I know what you mean - it is a bit 'pathe news'!!

ItchyArmpits Fri 12-Aug-16 13:10:01


Or you can get recordings of different people saying the same thing and ask listeners to rate the voices for traits like friendliness, trustworthiness, intelligence.

Peter Trudgill's Introduction to Sociolinguistics is interesting.

Apparently men on the pull will try to sound more working class than they really are, and women on the pull try to sound posher than they really are. The theory is that by sounding more working class, the men will sound more like they do physical jobs, therefore are strong, more alpha male. Being alpha female, on the other hand, is more associated with higher education, material wealth and social prestige.

Maybe it sounds like bollocks, but how many times has MN been asked by a woman whether an outfit is "classy"?

WorraLiberty Fri 12-Aug-16 13:10:52

It's nice that he thinks that grin

However, 'sir' is something men get called in a lot of shops.

LuckySantangelo1 Fri 12-Aug-16 13:14:52

It wasn't for me. I got badly bullied at school for being 'well spoken'. I soon learnt to flattenout my accent.

toffeeboffin Fri 12-Aug-16 13:15:35

At uni in Liverpool I knew a lad who was vair posh, nearly an RP accent. Anytime a local spoke to him he used to switch his accent to Scouse grin

Luckily with my Lancashire accent I didn't have to bother with any of that nonsense grin

boo2410 Fri 12-Aug-16 13:15:38

Well, I never knew what RP meant. I thought it was Relatively Posh 😁 You live and learn!!

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