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Posh Accent

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Posh Accent

Postby Aleph » Thu Sep 13, 2012 3:42 am

Defined, for example, by the following characteristics (from Accents of English):

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So I was wondering... Do you have a favourite speaker with this accent? A film you would suggest where one could listen to it? Or perhaps add a quality or two that strikes you as a defining one?
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Re: Posh Accent

Postby Perry Lassiter » Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:27 pm

I thought of the Brahmins of Boston, the Kennedy men, and some upper class Englishmen.
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Re: Posh Accent

Postby Philip Hudson » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:15 pm

Aleph:

I can't figure out what you are about. What am I missing?
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Re: Posh Accent

Postby Slava » Thu Sep 13, 2012 8:22 pm

An intriguing theme, but one that I believe requires audio examples to be comprehensible. Not many people can read the IPA form of transcription.

We also need to know just what "posh" is meant to imply. Wealth, class, some particular educational background? Can an American be posh, or is it limited to England?
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Re: Posh Accent

Postby Audiendus » Thu Sep 13, 2012 9:06 pm

Looking at the detail of Aleph's post, I recognise many characteristics of traditional upper-class English speech. For example:

The pronunciation of short 'a' something like short 'e'. This reminds me of how the Queen used to speak early in her reign, or the (especially female) radio and television announcers of the 1930s to 1950s ("This is the BBC, broadcasting from Elexandra Pelace...").

The lengthening of short 'o' to 'aw' ("I walked acrawss to get a clawth").

Neutral final vowel pronounced as 'ah' ("Heah is an ordah from the commanding offisah").

Vowel 'y' at end pronounced almost like 'ay' (happay, sorray).

'Girl', 'were' etc pronounced like 'gairl', 'wair' etc.

'Very' pronounced something like 'vay'.

Final 'ing' pronounced 'in' (huntin, shootin).

(Interesting point about the slight pause in 'fright-fully sorry' and 'awf-ully nice'.)

This kind of upper-class English accent is very little heard these days – at least, not in the extreme form that (recordings show) was prevalent in the early 20th century.
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Re: Posh Accent

Postby Perry Lassiter » Fri Sep 14, 2012 12:11 pm

Interesting that southern speech mirrors the "posh" in several places. We always say acrawss, and drop the g in "eatin'" along with virtually any -ing word. (Virtually is becoming a crutch word.)
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Re: Posh Accent

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Oct 01, 2012 1:02 am

Having been in much of England, and that for extended periods of time, let me assure you that there is no single British accent, posh or otherwise. There is a BBC accent but it surely is not the posh language Perry started this thread about. In the rest of England people go about speaking any number of accents. I can't understand an east London Cockney accent very well and the restaurant waiters and shop-keepers in much of southern England are hard for me to understand. I find that, as I travel toward Yorkshire, speech becomes more intelligible to my Texas ears. The people of the Upper Calder Valley in Yorkshire are especially dear to me. They speak a very broad Yorkshire accent there. Two of my dear friends from the Upper Calder, who gloried in their accent, died recently. I shall miss them.

As an Anglophile, I treasure all the English accents of the world. I regret that our modern communication systems are tending to blur out accents. I do rejoice, however, that if American English is being modified, the trend now is toward Southern and Texan accents. This is attributed to the popularity of news reporters and actors that hail from the US South. The people in my native area of Texas tend to talk without moving their lips. That is to preserve the large quids of chewing tobacco they have in their cheeks.
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