Territorial varieties of English pronunciation — страница 4

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Northern Ireland English should be better combined into the British English subgroup, on the ground of political, geographical, cultural, psychological unity which brought more similarities than differences for those variants of pronunciation. To our regrets, the lack of space gives us no chance to describe all the territorial and national variants of English pronunciation. 2.2 English-based pronunciation standards of English 2.2.1 British English As was mentioned before, BEPS (British English Pronunciation Standards and Accents) comprise English English, Welsh English, Scottish English and Northern Ireland English (the corresponding abbreviations are EE, WE, ScE., NIE). Table 1 British English Accents English English Welsh English Scottish English Northern Ireland English

Southern Northern Educated Sc. Eng. Regional Varieties 1. Southern 1. Northern 2. East Anglia 3. South-West 2. Yorkshire 3. North- West 4. West Midland 2.2.2 English, English In this chapter we are going to look in greater detail at the Received Pronunciation (RP) and at the regional non-RP accents of England. Roughly speaking the non-RP accents of England may be grouped like this: 1. Southern accents. 1) Southern accents (Greater London, Cockney, Surray, Kent, Essex, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire); 2) East Anglia accents (Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire; 3) South-West accents (Gloucestershire, Avon, Somerset, Wiltshire). 2. Northern and Midland accents. 1) Northern accents (Northumberland, Durham, Cleveland); 2)

Yorkshire accents; 3) North-West accents (Lancashire, Cheshire); 4) West Midland (Birmingham, Wolverhampton). It has long been believed that RP is a social marker, a prestige ac-cent of an Englishman. In the nineteenth century «received» was understood in the sense of «accepted in the best society». The speech of aristocracy and the court phonetically was that of the London area. Then it lost its local characteristics and was finally fixed as a ruling-class accent, often referred to as «King's English». It was also the ac-cent taught at public schools. With the spread of education cultured people not belonging to the upper classes were eager to modify their accent in the direction of social standards. We may definitely state now that RP is a genuinely regionless accent

within Britain; i.e. if speakers have it you cannot tell which area of Britain they come from; which is not the case for any other type of British accents. It is fair to mention, however, that only 3–5 per cent of the population of England speak RP. British phoneticians (Ch. Barber (44),4 A.C. Gimson (57), A. Hughes and P. Trudgill (61) estimate that nowadays RP is not homogeneous. A.C. Gimson suggests that it is convenient to distinguish three main types within it: «the conservative RP forms, used by the older generation, and, traditionally, by certain profession or social groups; the general RP forms, most commonly in use and typified by the pronunciation adopted by the BBC, and the advanced RP forms, mainly used by young people of exclusive social groups –

mostly of the upper classes, but also for prestige value, in certain professional circles. «This last type of RP reflects the tendencies typical of changes in pronunciation. It is the most «effected and exaggerated variety» of the accent. Some of its features may be results of temporary fashion; some are adopted as a norm and described in the latest textbooks. Therefore, it is very important for a teacher and learner of English to distinguish between the two. RP speakers make up a very small percentage of the English population. Many native speakers, especially teachers of English and professors of colleges and universities (particularly from the South and South-East of England) have accents closely resembling RP but not identical to it. P. Trudgill and J. Hannah call it

Near-RP southern. So various types of standard English pronunciation may be summarized as follows: Conservative RP; General RP; Advanced RP; Near-RP southern. Changes in the Standard As was stated above, changes in the standard may be traced in the speech of the younger generation of native RP speakers. These changes may affect all the features of articulation of vowel and consonant phonemes and also the prosodic system of the language. Considerable changes are observed in the sound system of the pre-sent-day English, which are most remarkable since the well-known Great Vowel Shift in the Middle English period of the language development. It is a well-established fact that no linguistic modification can occur all of a sudden. The appearance of a new shade in the pronunciation of