Rp is a young language accent. It was not around, for example, when Dr. Johnson wrote a dictionary of the English language in 1757. He decided not to introduce proposals for debate, believing that even within the educated society there was little consensus on the « recommended » forms. The phrase Received Pronunciation was coined in 1869 by linguist A J Ellis, but it did become a common term for describing the accent of the social elite, after the phonetic Daniel Jones took it up for the second edition of the English Pronouncing Dictionary (1924). The definition of « receiving » conveys its original meaning of « accepted » or « approved » – as in « received wisdom. » We can trace the origins of PR back to the public schools and universities of the United Kingdom in the 19th century – in fact, Daniel Jones first used the term « Public School Pronunciation » to describe this nascent, socially exclusive accent. Over the course of this century, members of the dominant and privileged classes have increasingly attended boarding schools such as Winchester, Eton, Harrow and rugby and have finished at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. Their language models – based in bulk on the local South East Midlands accent (such as London, Oxford and Cambridge) – were quickly associated with the « establishment » and gained a unique status, particularly within the middle class of London. Also listen to the vocal sound she uses in lost and gone.
It rhymes lost with exhaust and went with dawn, where most spokesmen would pronounce them to rhyme with luster and gift respectively. Lady Silvia`s pronunciation, which would include words like Off, Tuch and Australia, is a fascinating example of a vowel change that took place during an earlier period, but which did not fully establish itself and was ultimately reversed. Speakers began to use it in the 17th century, but it did not extend to many regional accents, and so, after only 300 years, the initial debate was restored – at least in PR. It is interesting to note that many speakers in Ireland and parts of the south-east of England still use a debate based on 17th century innovation. Lady Silvia uses two peculiarities related to conservative PR. Listen to how she pronounces the sound between vowels in words like married, hereditary, grandparents, corridors, without exception and during. Unlike most Consonants in English, the pronunciation of may vary considerably. The most common pronunciation is to create a continuous sound with the tip of the tongue that is lifted on the roof of the mouth, and the sides of the tongue waving upwards and inside. But here, Lady Silvia uses an intercepted « r » – a sound that is created by tapping the tip of her tongue on the roof of her mouth (tap) — and thus makes only very short and fast contacts. Listen Lady Silvia uses a Sound for the media consonant ending in nephews, where most of us tend to use a Sound. The is the traditional pronunciation of the word for spokespeople of all accents, but it is rarely heard among younger speakers today. Also listen to how she pronounces during and dunes in statements that you had to entertain with the older neighbor for six fairways, and the sand dunes have gone further and further to the sea.
Like many older speakers, she speaks a enter the initial consonant and vowel of a word like melody or dune – so they sound something like « Tyoon » and « Dyoon. » Younger speakers fuse consonants and Sounds much more into a and Sound. The word melody may therefore resemble « Choon » and the word dune could be uttered identically with the word June.