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There's no real "correct" English accent. After all, who is it who can be the authority of what is correct? I suppose you could say it should be the English spoken in England, but I doubt you'd find many places on the planet with as many different accents spoken in such a small place. Its not uncommon for two towns only ten miles apart to have very different accents!
Within England traditionally the accent used by the BBC news broadcasters was seen as the most "correct", although these days the BBC use a variety of accents. We also have a phrase "Kings/Queens English" (depending upon the sex of the monarch) which could imply that the accent of the monarch was the correct one. If this was true, then it would mean that most people in the country do not have the correct accent - the way the Queen speaks is often seen as unusually "posh".
There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
I know no other person who speaks like the Queen. Even her own sons/daughter/grandchildren have different accents.
I know nothing about history of language and accents(or indeed much about history in general). However my friend who is from Nottinghamshire claims that her East Midlands accent is "correct" because it is that area that was invaded by the Saxons?? (could have been someone else) and that was when English was born. I don't know if she's right but I do know they say some very funny words in that neck of the woods, sometimes it's like speaking with someone who is talking a totally different language.
Also on the point of the many accents in England. I'm from the North West, an area that has a particularly large number of accents associated with it. From Scouse, to Manchester, to Lancashire, and then many variations within Cheshire. I'm from Warrington, now in Cheshire but formerly a part of Lancashire. It became a New Town around 40 years ago and as a result a lot of people from Liverpool and Manchester (the two nearest large cities) moved there. The result is that the Warrington accent is very confused, part Lancashire, part scouse, part Manchunian. My parents are from Liverpool so my accent tends to take a slant towards Scouse, however, for reasons I don't really understand I don't really have a Warrington accent, I was always considered to speak "dead posh" by everyone at school.
When I moved to London though, everyone here said they could tell from my accent that I was Northern, when I visit my boyfriend in Manchester though everyone there thinks I'm a genuine Londoner and don't believe I was actually born and raised just 20 miles away. So I believe I have something of a "non-descript" accent.
I can be reet Northern though when I want t' be, it just don't come natually. [ July 20, 2006: Message edited by: Angela Poynton ]
Pounding at a thick stone wall won't move it, sometimes, you need to step back to see the way around.
Heard a lot of humorous stories about when people learn to speak �correct� English outside of the UK. Then they arrive in the East End of London, Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle � and try to figure out what strange language is being spoken. [ July 20, 2006: Message edited by: Peter Rooke ]
Back when Walter Cronkite was on the air, Lincoln, Nebraska was said to exemplify "broadcast standard English" for the US. I latched on to this becuase I lived 100 miles from there. I can't find any good references to Lincoln in Google right now, and only a few for "broadcast standard"
A good question is never answered. It is not a bolt to be tightened into place but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of the idea. John Ciardi
There are some fantastically diverse English accents - and its wonderful how ( as Angela pointed out) that NW England has such a variety in such a small geographical area.
Whats fascinating is how other areas have such little diversity. The US has a few distinguished geographical accents (East coast vs Southern vs West Coast) - but increasingly the variables in accents are determined not so much by location as by other factors like social class ( Which gave me a 'posh' 'Hugh Grant'ish accent as opposed to a London overspill esturine accent taken by many of my local peers).
Here in Austalia there are really only 2 geographical accents 'Urban' and 'Rural' and any other variety is purely ethnic (i.e. 'Indigenous', 'Mediteranean ', 'Asian').
I find it intriguing how although Southern Hemisphere accents are clearly different from each other there is a certain something that they have in common (South African, New Zealand and Australia) - I cant identify it - but its clearly there....
A NZ accent I think ranks as the silliest 'native tongue' English accent of all of them! Thir vowel sounds are so totally dufferent to the rist of us. . A conversation with a kiwi involving the words "six, sucks & sex" can get *very* confusing! (sounds like 'sux, sucks & six').
Ever hear a South African ask for "ice-cream"? It makes me laugh every time: "arse-cream"
Could "voice" be affected by climate etc of the region?
Just wondering...I think as other physical properties get affected by the climate of the place, voice/accent might also get affected....If a kid born in some place grows totally in other place won't his/her accent be like the people around who he/she grew up?
In the colonies, pre-1776, the Reverend Jonathan Witherspoon wrote an article remarking on the amazing consistancy of English as it is spoken in America. Even though there are a wide number of regional variations, American English is mutuably intellegible. Contrast this with a play from 15-th? 16-th? century England, where two Londoners are traveling to the Continent and are blown off course and land in Kent. They approach a farmhouse and ask the woman there for eggs. The woman responds that she doesn't "understand their French" and for a while they are unable to communicate with her, even though both are speaking English! Granted, this is a fictinoal account that may be stretched for effect, but the point that the author was trying to make is, I think, well made.
Piscis Babelis est parvus, flavus, et hiridicus, et est probabiliter insolitissima raritas in toto mundo.
Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Two factors contribute to the homogeneity of American English. One is that people from a given time and place within Great Britain (i.e., people with a similar accent) were scattered over wide areas in America. Second, is that even though there is a correlation between region in America and region in Great Britain from which the settlers came (e.g. Scots, Welsh and Scots-Irish in the south and west, Anglo-Saxons in the Northeast, a few Normans in Virginia, southern Irish in major cities), considerable mixing did take place.
It is a socio-linquistic principle that language variation is greatest in the region from which speakers of a language or language family originated. This is one reason linguists speculate that the Indo-European family of languages originated near the Baltic area of northwest Asia. On this basis one could similarly speculate that English originated not in America but in England.
I don't know if there's any truth to it and I certainly can't back it up, but I once heard somewhere that the English spoken in New England today is closer to the English that was spoken in the 1600's-1700's in Great Britain than that which is spoken in Great Britain today. In other words, the suggestion was that the British accent has changed more over time than the American accent has.
Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Originally posted by Jason Menard: I don't know if there's any truth to it and I certainly can't back it up, but I once heard somewhere that the English spoken in New England today is closer to the English that was spoken in the 1600's-1700's in Great Britain than that which is spoken in Great Britain today. In other words, the suggestion was that the British accent has changed more over time than the American accent has.
It's plausible. That's what happened with Iceland. They sound more like the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians of a thousand years ago than than do the Danes, Swedes and Norwegians today.