Which English do you speak?

I've been rotting my brain over at the IMDB forums lately, and I keep running across the phrase "plummy accent" and I haven't known what to make of it (but it made me think of the sound you get just after tasting lemon). Today I did a little hunting and learned all kinds of new words, starting with "Received Punctuation (RP)" (how you talk if you go to Eton/Winchester/Rugby and then to Oxbridge), and including "BBC English" and - the modern accent of choice - "Estuary English(EE)." There isn't an agreed meaning for "plummy" but the term is usually reserved for the foppish.

I spent 5 months in Britain in 1997 and paid attention to accents after having a suprisingly rough start. After years of watching BBC tv shows on PBS, I thought I would have no problem understanding people. Ha! On my first day, jet-lagged and sleep-deprived, I said "huh?" a hundred times, unable to understand people-in-a-hurry in London (speaking, mostly, EE).

I had a dire warning from an elderly english lady sitting beside me on a train, "Oh, don't go to Glasgow, you'll never be able to understand them up there; I can't understand them!" I went anyway and found Glasgowegian English easier to understand than Estuary English - it has arr's and tee's and I didn't have to struggle to hear glottal stops where r & t should be.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?