CHAT YAEPT :Re: Phonological musings (was: Announcement: New auxlang "Choton")
|From:||Roger Mills <rfmilly@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, October 7, 2004, 17:59|
Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 07, 2004 at 04:15:41AM -0400, J. 'Mach' Wust wrote:
> > Additionally, I guess that at that time, this kind of RP was considered
> > the
> > **standard pronunciation** of English.
Perhaps a better description would be _prestige_ pronunciation, the result
of generations of the U.class inter-marrying, attending the same schools,
universities, social functions, having certain jobs etc. etc. If I'm not
mistaken, "RP" was more the pronunciation espoused by the BBC, sort of
Oxbridge but less arrogant; only in interviews, and shows about "rustics"
(1) did one hear a regional accent. In movies too, of course. Meanwhile the
populace at large spoke as they wished.
(1) The beloved "Archers", the Beeb's answer to "One Man's Family".
> No, no, no. You would have to go back in time much further than the
> 1950s to find any such thing as any sort of "standard pronunciation of
Just with respect to the US: Not much further back. There was an RP here
too-- Radio Pronunciation, beginning somewhere in the 30s. In the Radio
Days of the 40s, which I remember well, the announcers all had a definite
accent-- those out of NYC tended to be a little bit r-less, but not
egregiously so-- while in the Midwest, they all sounded, well, like every
Midwesterner... Even the characters in the soaps all spoke Standard
American; those with a more pronounced Eastern r-less accent were invariably
rich, or villains. Late at night, I could pick up programs from San Antonio,
of all places-- "From the Starlight Roof of the XXX Hotel, on the corner of
Main and Travis in downtown S.A." and the like (it was wonderfully exotic,
even if it was just a dance band...)-- and those announcers had the same
standard accent, certainly not Texan.
Even in South Carolina in 56-7, where the barracks radios were usually tuned
to local music stations, I don't recall hearing an outright Southern accent
from the announcers.
This has no doubt changed; TV, which requires more local talent, is probably
the cause; plus our changing attitudes about regionalism. Even so, just
listening to the various national/cable TV networks, one rarely hears a
noticeable regional accent. (I suspect Talk Radio, which I abhor, allows far
I don't know enough about modern British social history to say "when things
changed" there...but the Beeb I hear now has far more varied accents than
anything in the US.
As for Upper Class speech (and I don't mean just Wealthy), I doubt this
country ever had anything as pervasive as England's; each of the old major
cities -- Boston, NYC, Phila, Charleston, New Orleans to name the best
known-- had its own variety, and no doubt still do. My last exposure to any
of that was 50 years ago, so I suppose the younger generations show some
changes, but are probably still distinguishable, even if subtly, from their
> Why does this idea keep coming up? Why is it so hard to accept that such
> thing simplyy does not exist for English? Haven't the YAEPTs made this
> abundantly clear by now?
I do believe a standard exists (for every language), but it's more a
just-out-of-reach goal than a reality-- as YA( )PTs do make clear.