Hello Kupdung. The following message pertains to the paragraph you submitted on 25 June 2010 concerning our earlier discussion on RP. This directly continues from that statement but in honouring your request not to modify old talk pages (and I see that you have made nearly 2,000 edits since then), I bring this discussion forward to this section. Yes it will cause a minor problem of continuity but it's not critcal; all is there for the world to see. So, to refresh, the edit to which I refer is this.
Originally, I was only making a remark (on the RP talk page) discrediting references to certain types of speech as "posh", I was not initially disputing what is and what is not RP. You made one interesting remark, that any "non-regional pronunciation" is a form of RP. I ask, just how varied and how many categories of any form of language can sit side by side and all be classed as RP, even by one who has admitted he considers it all subjective. Facts: even the finest forms of any language have their roots somewhere in a region. It is necessary that a nation must first split and migrate and develop new ways of speaking before one lucky region is declared lottary winner and his zone will dictate to outsiders how the language should be (eg. the dialect of Tuscany for all classsing themseves as Italian, except if Romance-speaking persons within Italy have a more regionalist approach leading to ideas of outright separation, "I am Piedmontese, or Sicilian", where it is another matter). RP did originate as a regional form; I believe it was London but some have disupted that.
You then built up to this remark: "unaffected and clearly pronounced language of most of today's reasonably educated school kids." And what accent would that be Kudpung? I contend that there is no unaffected pronuciation among the young, not just among the "reasonable" but the "unreasonable" too, I speak of those with qualifications that fill shelves. In the past couple of weeks, there was a report from a linguist in The Sun: he confirmed that there was a certain levelling of register amid natural changes that take place, and he even pointed out (in support of your view) that it is getting harder and harder to distinguish now whether a person is from Dorest or East Anglia - incorporating the entire region of S.E England). However, we both know this is not all of England, and British English and RP zones extend farther; he also found that in Liverpool, the accent is becoming stronger - the opposite effect. So which accent is this you refer to? I know that young educated people from Southampton and Southend now sound similar to each other, but this accent most definitely does not include 20-something academics born in Leeds and living in Middlebrough. His northern "oo" sounds may have "standardised" so the vowel of "some" does no sound as it does in "book", but apart from one or two instances such as these, his sounding like the south-easterners is a sure to be light years away.
Now for someone to have accepted the notion of "posh", to have previously described himself as speaking that way; to have admitted that it is not a permanewnt register (in that a northern accent comes into place when talking to some folk), I am amazed how good your knowledge is on RP. Most people I have met who match that description have never heard of RP, they simply think of the term "Queen's English" and even then, they often think that the language is governed by prescriptive measures that deem usage "correct or incorrect" and worse still, that the Queen has some kind of ownership of the tongue; it is true, people do believe this.
I am curious to know whether I would personally detect certain features that you do not "hear", is your "posh" voice really something that masks any hint of your northern background? I'd be surprised. I have extremely sensitive ears Kupdung, I can hear the Welshman or the Liverpudlian in a great many people; you see, there is more to talking "differently" than plain old "vowel adjustment". How do I know this? I was born and raised in Wiltshire to parents from the Balkans (Yugoslavia). I didn't speak in an "ooh arh" accent as a child, I had a strong foreign accent in my early English speaking days (it was my second language), with years, it evolved into what it is today. I admit that I am inspired by those fine RP forms but how it actually sounds is something I cannot judge, it is down to the other listener. However, Wiltshire English or RP, there is a radical shift required if I wish to start speaking in Croatian. A phrase book will tell you that Croatian "a" is like English "hat", and "o" as in "hot". Just follow that guide by the letter and see if the folk in Split or Dubrovnik don't detect that you are an outsider. There is no English equivalent to the true ways the vowels are pronounced (nor some of the consonants). I can pass undetected yes, but I know that to do so, it requires a completely separate starting position and posture. You see, accent is also affected by intonation and other breathing techniques, especially aspiration (among other things), and if you try to ignore these factors and effect an RP speechform directly from a natural West Midlands register, well, it may satisfy you Kudpung, but not me, and I can play you recordings and point out radical differences that you'll have missed.
This neatly takes me to the next section: the newsreaders you mentioned. None of them speak RP, they do not even speak the same as each other, three or four will pronounce something one way, the rest, another; so there is no question of individual behaviour either. I don't accuse the BBC of "introducing regional speech to tone down posh speech", for one, I don't accept "posh" speech, only RP (whatever it may be), and for another, there are BBC persons who speak in broad regional accents. Sports, weather and business are parts of the news and you hear people in Socttish, Irish, etc. accents there. Reporters have included Hillary Anderson (no idea what nationality she is but it is British), Kylie Morris (Australian I think, she had S.E Asia some years back but I don't know now) and others. And why not? BBC World Service English has foreigners as presenters themselves. I haven't got a problem with it Kupdung, I'm not a snob! "Dees iz deh BBC vorld serv-ees." Likewise, the gang on your list are not common, no, but again, I can hear the local in all of them. I can clearly hear that Trevor McDonald is black, and as for Mushal Hussein? You think hers is non-regional? She doesn't sound like she's from Northampton but she does as if she is from the south-east; she doesn't sound like she is on a London council estate but she doesn't resemble those who naturally use RP either; I cannot call it something "in between", it is nothing more than a diluted regional accent with some of the edges trimmed. However, for Mishal it does not end there. Unlike in my case, you can clearly detect that she was not raised by English speaking parents, and that she must have spent a great deal of time speaking in English with them. You see, it is often clear that a certain person has non-English speaking parents by their own pronunciation and emphasis on certain things. This happens when your parents choose to speak in English to you, and you oblige. I was fortunate that we used Macedonian/Serbo-Croat at home and to this day, with my country folk, I use the native language, only using English if addressing a British-born/raised individual who doesn't speak the native language/s effectively (and where he/she chooses). Mishal's speech (like that Reeta Chakribati) is marked by excessive hyper-pronunciation on several utterances/words per presentation. It stems from the irritation when hearing their parents speak to them in their weaker accents, a need emerges to "strengthen" it. I can hear it, and I have surprised people when speaking to them on the phone before knowing their names when I have accurately confirmed they were raised by non-native English speakers and that they spoke English with them.
Now it is not that the BBC had removed "RP" as a prerequisite but ths is the way of the world itself. It runs its natural course, end of story. Now with no more target accent for the younger and oncoming generations (beyond, "run" not "roon" at the moment), the BBC is only doing what ITN has also done; that too (despite ITV's original reputation for low-mentality viewers and BBC2 for the middle-classes - values now long diminished) originally employed speakers of RP to present news and continuity. Attitudes have changed Kupdung, the world has changed, and continues to do so. Now here is one observation by me as to why there is no more RP, and what is actually replacing it.
Do you remember the late 70s British ITV comedy George and Mildred? Their neighbours were the Fourmile family. The pompous Mr.Fourmile - concerned about his son's H-dropping, grammar, and spelling - was an estate agent. The series ran 1976-79. I know that you know that where language has had rules, its biggest offenders have been its so-called "police", this is what has led to hyper-corrections such as "for you and I". Not what you'd expect from the same kind of person who'd say "me and my mates went down the match on Saturday, got plastered by 11". Mr.Fourmile was indeed an "offender" at times, and it is unlikely that this was intentional as it would have "exposed him" within the storyline. It was clearly ignorance on the part of the writers and the same with all involved in production, so it travelled from the pen to the screens bypassing dozens of people in the process. Joke aside, it depicts a time when an estate agent will have been concerned about the state of the language, a time when you had middle-class pubs and working-class bars, not wine bars where can't work cuz I'm depressed and living on benefits toerags drink themselves stupid as they would in their local tavern (also serving low quality expensive "meals" to enhance its image). All right, I know life is not quite quite that two-dimensional. Times were nevertheless different and many people in many place cared about language and as such, RP, for all its changes, maintained common features and was continuous from older forms. I contend that this continuity has severed, and that if what we now have is a "replacement" for what RP was, it is unrelated to older forms. What estate agent will now care about grammar and syntax? Where will you find white-collar workers that know their "who" from their "whom"? You may get the occasional maverick but it is no longer the preserve of the community in the specific field. The only people left who have knowledge of language are those in the actual profession; no longer will we find bank managers fussing over "-ize", opting for "-ise"; if he does, he's on his own and his colleagues and subordinates will mock him.
- In the 80s, you had "yuppies", young bullshitters with no talent but used language to impress elders and then in short periods of time made fortunes for themselves before anyone could spot them and oust them, by which time, it was too late. We don't speak of yuppies today, but we'd be lying if we said they left no legacy. What is everything around us? Sales, sales, sales. Shoddy workmanship, covered with gloss, sold for as much money as possible, that'll do me nicely, thank you very much sir; insurance companies whose representatives smile when taking the money off you but are reluctant to give a penny back on the day of the race; pay-per-view television, footballers who still only play 90 minutes but earn more money in a week than I do in ten years; premium rate telephone lines, TV/radio quiz shows - no, not Radio 4 Brain of Britain where questions are asked and we entertain ourselves in playing along and seeing who wins, etc., but "guess the impossible number and win £500", short-lived projects that come and go, are devised by a few, made to make profits for so those same few, do not give the candidate a fair chance to even play "sorry, your call was not successful, anyhow, you've been charged £1 ...play again by all means". Who finds them entertaining is my question. Bank offers/deals, betting shops, gold-for-cash merchants and cheque-converters (no cheque too large) - no, not for me either when 7% goes in my pocket; all in your face with their advertising techniques using young people with smutty smiles on their faces or if on TV/radio, screaming like they've won a fortune, all designed to lure suckers while they know they are out to deceive.
SCAM MONGERS Kupdung, they are the people of today. There is no place for a real-life Mr.Fourmile in today's cut and thrust "property buying industry", his generation's concern for language reveal a sensitive side. To be a high flyer today, you can't have morals, they impede your progress and will hamper your hopes of promotion. Worse still, if your sly manager gets wind that you've breeched discretion by saying the wrong thing to the would-be client (ie. the truth), you could be out the door and in turn, "blacklisted" from ever again being deployed in that field.
- "You don't want him at Harrison's, only last week he worked for Harrison's and Harrison's and I heard someone from Harrison's, Harrison's and Harrison's saying how he pointed to a crack on the kitchen ceiling instead of standing where it couldn't be seen". No good for one, no good for the other!
Now with all this Kupdung, how can people care about RP!!?? Have you really not registered yet the habits of the "young educated" and the "BBC elite"? The ten-figure billion and thirteen-digit trillion? That still confuses people when they hear it spoken asuimg the other. Voiced Ts in words such as "better" (bedder)? H-dropping is one thing because it is a natural cause, but these features are Americanisms; and they are not universally accepted, I know that I have a lot of support from people young and old in rejecting these details are RP. And what about the pronunciation of "comparable"? For over 300 years, it was "komp-rubble", and still is by many, but some that don't know will say "komp- aaaa -rubble"; nothing alerting them will not change but they still make it onto BBC before this can happen. "Room" rhyiming with "loom" and not the vowel of "book"? Waistcoat and forehead all as separate words and not "weskit" and "forrid"?
I know what you're thinking "ah, these are just preferences, one says this, the other says that, it doesn't relfect a region". But how much can a refined accent stand before it is not itself any more? If they had themselves the right posture in the first place, they wouldn't need to pronounce things as such because they'd find there is no other way of saying certain things; RP is natural, it falls into place when he hit the right note first time. If you don't, it is clear that you don't, and you end up speaking no different to the sleazy radio advert opportunists who grate on the ear with their verbal small print - you don't pay any anttention to the ad itself but you can't help but notice the annoying "t-voicing" moron speaking faster and faster as he tells you of what is "comp-aaaa-rable" before covering his benefactor's backsides with all the "exclusions" and "offer ends this date" cobblers and the final words that can make me spray him with bullets from a kalashnikov, "terms and conditions apply". Say it like it is - "it is all a scam".
But I'll round off by giving you my best example to date. This wasn't the BBC Breakfast but its gay-lover and pretend-rival GMTV. I could not believe my ears when I heard "respiratory" pronounced, wait for it - "res - pi - RATE - o - ree". The word was always "res-pra-tree". I know the readers may have through "ah, respitator, just add y", but you can't even blame the Americans here! Even the Yanks say "res-pra ..." but then spoil it with "...tory". Shocking eh.
Sorry this has been long-winded but I had to say everything. I divided everything into paragraphs for easier reading. Regards. Evlekis (Евлекис) 14:02, 20 July 2010 (UTC)