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What is in an accent?

(88 Posts)
Kenlee Thu 14-Mar-13 02:38:36

I was talking to my sister about accents today. Her son a final year student at UMIST has the most wonderful Mancunian accent. Whereas I have a very broad Lancashire accent.

I was a bit surprised that she did not approve of ny daughter going to a Surrey school to get a posh accent. Actually it was more to do with logistics than accents.

Anyway di accents really matter...I am of the belief that it doesnt ...

Ronaldo Sun 17-Mar-13 17:16:50

I take it the above is addressed to me TP?

I am not sure what the former part of that has to do with anything other than promoting an agenda that everyone should be mixing and matching. In my school we just seem to be a single happy community in that respect.

I have no idea what the students will do in due course. I expect a large proportion will goon to Oxford or Cambridge before launching themselves on the world though.

Our cleaners ( worth their weight in gold for the things they do) tend to speak with a local accent. They are local so that shouldnt be so surprising surely?

PA's and backroom staff ( as you refer to them) have the same diction as those who "actually think they run the place"

Ronaldo Sun 17-Mar-13 17:21:24

The school chef speaks with the best English of us all - and I guess the school marches on its stomach. The school chef is a product of a top public school too ( I mean as a pupil).

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 17-Mar-13 17:23:47

Ronaldo, Your wife is Canadian and speaks with a British RP accent? How did that happen? (Genuine question, not being snarky, just very interested in how people acquire accents.)

RooneyMara Sun 17-Mar-13 17:24:56


Ronaldo Sun 17-Mar-13 17:27:22

Ronaldo, Your wife is Canadian and speaks with a British RP accent? How did that happen? (Genuine question, not being snarky, just very interested in how people acquire accents.)

I dont know since I have never considered it a problem. Most of her family seem to have the same non accent.

A Canadian accent isnt a single entity anyway.It is also regional.

I will ask her when she gets home. She and DS have gone off this afternoon. She is due back - which reminds me of the time and I am galley duty. see you later.

RooneyMara Sun 17-Mar-13 17:35:25

I am only teasing btw, and being a pedant. I like you Ronaldo smile

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 17-Mar-13 17:43:28

Well, it's near my lunch time so I am taking a break,too. Good thread; see y'all later. wink

gmrlegal Mon 18-Mar-13 06:28:39

Accent is a way of pronunciation by the speaker. It varies from place to place. I think we should give more emphasis on meaning rather than accent.

Ronaldo Mon 18-Mar-13 15:22:56

SconeRhymesWithGone - my DW has sent the following reply to your query
(my paraphrase)

a) her parents speak RP and always have.

b) she had it reinforced at school and she says her Canadian accent is mostly "clipped" English.

c) she travelled as part of her work from a young girl onwards and RP was the best fit for being understood worldwide.

d) she has never had a strong accent of any kind.

Hope that helps

SconeRhymesWithGone Tue 19-Mar-13 01:59:51

Ronaldo, Thanks. Yes that answers my question; as a North American I find it very interesting. Regards to you wife.

Pyrrah Tue 19-Mar-13 12:24:12

I speak with an RP accent as do my family and most of our friends.

DD has the most incredible Cockney accent due to school and nursery. The glottal stop and lack of definite articles drives me insane.

I don't mind if she continues to speak Cockney as long as she becomes bilingual and speaks RP as well.

I have found my accent both an advantage and a disadvantage. I've always looked a lot younger than I am and I have been told that my accent gave me an air of confidence and authority above my assumed age. However I spent a lot of my life suffering from inverse snobbery and people making assumptions about my wealth (I wish) and my background.

Kenlee Tue 19-Mar-13 12:46:21

I do feel sorry for you Pyrrah . One accent I detest is the Cockney accent. It not that I dont understand it. I just dont like the sound. I prefer softer accents...

TheRealFellatio Thu 21-Mar-13 05:12:06

Right, I haven't read the thread only the OP, but I am confused.

I was a bit surprised that she did not approve of ny daughter going to a Surrey school to get a posh accent

going to school in Surrey won't give you a posh accent, it will give you a Surrey accent. Going to school at a posh school will give you a posh accent, and that school could be anywhere in the country.

Plenty of people in Surrey speak with as broad a local accent as people in Kent of Essex or Beds, or anywhere else in the south east or home counties. But some northerners seem to think that being 'southern' is synonymous with being 'posh'. And especially being southern and from Surrey. It isn't. You can be very well spoken and be true to your regional accent - just not the quirks of its dialect. I know plenty of slightly posh northerners, but I can still tell they are northerners.

Or you can speak with Received Pronunciation. Two of the people I know with the plummiest RP accents come from near Preston in Lancs, (old money upper MC family with country pile) and Stoke Newington (very aspirational Jewish immigrant parents from around the time of the war.)

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