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English Lessons: What is ‘The Queen’s English’?
understand this question, we first have to look at a bit of history. Unfortunately, it involves social classes.
Historically, the more
elevated in society a person was, the more education s/he received and the better his/her diction was.
monarchy symbolized the highest possible social class; the one that every commoner aspired to emulate: in speech, manner, lifestyle, and dress.
King (or Queen, if there was no king) routinely addressed his/her subjects in public speeches. The general sentiment was that the sovereign was a revered being. “Why, just listen to him speak! So refined, so smart…” they must have said.
Queen’s English (or the King’s English, if there is a male ruler in place) is the epitome of education, polish and poise.
of Living English Oxford Dictionary defines Queen’s English as:
The English language, as written and spoken by educated people in Britain.
not suggesting that people who speak Welsh, Scottish or Cockney are uneducated. Rather, that statement is a reflection of the long-held tradition that the British ruler represents the ultimate in social refinement and therefore, the highest level education. To speak English like the Queen, you must first slow your speech.
native English speakers tend to speak relatively fast and inject a lot of , the slang phrases queen’s English is thought to be free of colloquialisms and deliberately articulated.
BBC English is a cultivated accent (Source: Pixabay Credit: DesignFile)
Queen’s English does not refer to accent or regional variations of English in general. Her particular brand of English speaking mainly involves alterations of vowel sounds.
note that analysis of her speeches over the years has demonstrated a shift toward the more popular , a London Estuary English accent from counties adjoining the river Thames. Learn English: What is BBC English?
candidates and those learning English as a second language often find that listening to BBC Radio or watching popular British television programs helps in learning English . pronunciation and honing English listening skills It is never a bad idea to improve your English by emulating native English speakers. However, you should be aware of what exactly you are copying. Is BBC English a good model for Esl students to follow?
delve again into the history books to see why this style of spoken English features so prominently in ESOL courses all over the world.
starting broadcasting radio programs in 1922, under a Royal Charter. The trouble was, not everyone spoke or understood BBC presenters’ spoken English.
To this day,
Britain has more than fifty-six acknowledged regional dialects, with the London accent and expressions having always been thought as the most popular. Because the BBC was headquartered in London, radio hosts cultivated an exaggerated manner of speaking that regional banter, to better be understood over the tricky wireless airwaves.
keeping with the demonstrated example of proper spoken English transmitted on the air and heard all over the world, the teaching of grammar and vocabulary in UK schools was revolutionized. It is not uncommon for a country to formulate a standardized version of its native language, all while maintaining local dialects.
standardize the English language in the UK, school curricula were modified to teach , sometimes to the Received Pronunciation detriment of the existing national language, such as Irish. English Language Standardization Global broadcasting of BBC English, or RP – as Received Pronunciation is often called was, in fact, the beginning of standardization of the English language. Standardization of English involves: Codification – how standard language is validated dictionaries, grammar and vocabulary textbooks, style and usage guides. Dialect leveling Language and ecology planning Usage
English language is undergoing further standardization because of the popularity of English movies and music. This time, the shift is more toward a north American accent, or a neutral accent. What does that mean for all of you, who are developing English language skills? The Queen’s English vs BBC English: What Defines Them? The Queen’s English is not an accent. It is a slower speech pattern distinguished by elongated vowel sounds. The Queen’s (or King’s) English is considered Standard English that is not necessarily spoken in conjunction with RP. BBC English, or Received Pronunciation is considered a cultivated accent, not a natural speech pattern developed by a segment of society, as other dialects are.
Only about two percent of Britons speak RP in its purest form. – David William
How to Speak English Clearly and Effectively Obviously, striving for the best English skills possible should be the goal of every English learner, whether native speaker or for speakers of other languages.
learn English online in such a way that you are confident in your transactions with native English speakers, you need only to: Amass a substantial English vocabulary If you are beyond middle-intermediate English, learn phrases, not words. You might also consider learning business English as an extra boost to your literacy Develop your speaking skills by using English every day, even if you are not yet in the UK. Develop your by keeping a writing and spelling skills journal in English. Learn to conjugate verbs in all of their tenses Participate in language learning through English courses, or by learning English online. Practise your skills daily
fluency in English, you needn’t worry over which accent to adopt, which English is better or when inspires more confidence spoken. You only need to study English with the end goal of becoming fluent. Apply pronunciation rules to any new words you learn (Source: Pixabay Credit: Alexa Photos) How to Learn New English Words
important than adopting any particular accent is being able to speak English using the proper tone and stress. Inflection is defined as stress or pitch in the voice when speaking.
other languages that use stress, tone or pitch to help define words, English words follow rules for inflection.
For two (spoken)
syllable nouns, the first syllable is stressed: TA-ble, DRES-ser, WIN-dow, etc. PIC-ture and SYL-lable technically have three syllables but, because the last syllable is silent, it is pronounced as a two-syllable word.
verbs, the rule is reversed: ad- MIT, pro- TECT, in- SERT, re- LAX. Two-syllable prepositions are spoken the same as two-syllable verbs.
adopt and follow these principles as you practice English vocabulary, so that any native English speaker will understand you, every time, without the benefit of any regional accent. Is Speaking English with an Accent really Important? Finding quality programs to learn English online is not difficult and, more and more, online English is moving toward a neutral accent – neither British, Australian or north American.
British Council uses Standard English in its podcasts and lessons targeted at non native speakers who are learning English. The narrators use a variety of accents to teach English, edging ever more away from any affected speech. BBC reporters and narrators will most likely continue to broadcast using a Received Pronunciation accent in spite of the mild ridicule that those who emulate that manner of speaking endure.
Queen will most likely continue to speak Standard English slowly and clearly, with drawn-out vowel sounds. How you cultivate your English language skills will depend on where you live, what your preference is and how your English teacher inflects.
important thing is that you are learning the language that more and more people of the world know how to speak.
Learn how to
perfect your English accent with our guide to pronunciation.
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