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Thread: What is the origin of the Received pronunciation English accent?

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    Default What is the origin of the Received pronunciation English accent?

    I think that even this basically standard accent has it's origins in west London and Middlesex where locals generally speak with quite a standard sounding accent, true Cockney was only really heard as far west as Hammersmith and as far north as Hampstead while beyond those areas the accents even among working class people do not sound especially strong.

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    The speech of middle class Londoners.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver109 View Post
    I think that even this basically standard accent has it's origins in west London and Middlesex where locals generally speak with quite a standard sounding accent, true Cockney was only really heard as far west as Hammersmith and as far north as Hampstead while beyond those areas the accents even among working class people do not sound especially strong.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tooting Carmen View Post
    The speech of middle class Londoners.
    It apparently comes from George I, a German usurper who spoke very poor English. There are some pretty obvious tells in RP that show the German influence:

    Either and neither being pronounced with "eye" instead of "ee" in the first syllable, which is how "ei" is read in German. George mispronounced those words, and rather than correct him, which would have been seen as insubordination, his court and the nobility/government just started pronouncing it like him, and from them, it spread to the rest of the country.

    -er being pronounced in a non-rhotic way is also indicative of German influence.

    Notice how North Americans have rhotic accents, but Australians and New Zealanders don't. By the time George took over in 1714, the colonies already had a large enough population that newcomers couldn't change the local accent, and was isolated enough from the UK that the new Georgian accent never spread.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnson Reed View Post
    It apparently comes from George I, a German usurper who spoke very poor English. There are some pretty obvious tells in RP that show the German influence:

    Either and neither being pronounced with "eye" instead of "ee" in the first syllable, which is how "ei" is read in German. George mispronounced those words, and rather than correct him, which would have been seen as insubordination, his court and the nobility/government just started pronouncing it like him, and from them, it spread to the rest of the country.

    -er being pronounced in a non-rhotic way is also indicative of German influence.

    Notice how North Americans have rhotic accents, but Australians and New Zealanders don't. By the time George took over in 1714, the colonies already had a large enough population that newcomers couldn't change the local accent, and was isolated enough from the UK that the new Georgian accent never spread.
    You got it right, and that was a great explanation. That's why some people say that West Country English people have American accents when they likely have original English accents from the time before King George's madness "Germanicized" it. You have a divide between coastal and mountain people in the South that's based on rhotic accents with the former saying "ah" and the latter saying "ar". They even say "warsh" in some Appalachian regions that make the West Country English pirate talk accent sound posh by comparison.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-Celtic View Post
    You got it right, and that was a great explanation. That's why some people say that West Country English people have American accents when they likely have original English accents from the time before King George's madness "Germanicized" it. You have a divide between coastal and mountain people in the South that's based on rhotic accents with the former saying "ah" and the latter saying "ar". They even say "warsh" in some Appalachian regions that make the West Country English pirate talk accent sound posh by comparison.
    The old east Anglian and Essex accents have quite a strong similarity with some American accents, especially the southern accents, despite the supposed Scottish and Ulster influence the accents across America sound much more southern UK influenced.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver109 View Post
    The old east Anglian and Essex accents have quite a strong similarity with some American accents, especially the southern accents, despite the supposed Scottish and Ulster influence the accents across America sound much more southern UK influenced.
    I don't really hear it unless you limit it to parts of the Deep South. That was the "ah" sound that I referred to in the other comment, but some theories claim that that accent came from Black people instead of English people, but other theories claim the reverse and that we have the English to blame for the "Ebonicization" of speech.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-Celtic View Post
    I don't really hear it unless you limit it to parts of the Deep South. That was the "ah" sound that I referred to in the other comment, but some theories claim that that accent came from Black people instead of English people, but other theories claim the reverse and that we have the English to blame for the "Ebonicization" of speech.
    Check out this recording from mid Essex, sounds very like some southern American speech, especially words like farm, bently, theyen-then, stacking, potaters-potatos, journeys
    https://explore.library.leeds.ac.uk/...esultOffset=11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver109 View Post
    Check out this recording from mid Essex, sounds very like some southern American speech, especially words like farm, bently, theyen-then, stacking, potaters-potatos, journeys
    https://explore.library.leeds.ac.uk/...esultOffset=11
    I don't hear the similarities. Those accents would stick out like a sore thumb in the South unless it was some isolated community that was frozen in time, but, even then, most of the English was of the Southwest variety.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anglo-Celtic View Post
    I don't hear the similarities. Those accents would stick out like a sore thumb in the South unless it was some isolated community that was frozen in time, but, even then, most of the English was of the Southwest variety.
    It's just certain words but i do notice something of a similarity, the southwest of course has very similar accents to the south of America though oddly the Devon accent can often sound more Scottishlike while the Southern American speech sounds flatter.

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