The Queen's English

Rudolph C Troike rtroike at U.ARIZONA.EDU
Sat Mar 10 05:45:18 UTC 2001

Take a look at the last page of the current Scientific American. An
article there reports a study in Britain of speeches by the Queen between
1960 and 1980 (I think it was), and found a definite drift away from the
older RP toward more "common" pronunciations. Unfortunately the source is
not mentioned -- it would be especially interesting to see it. Linguists
have usually assumed that pronuciation is fixed by early adulthood, and
I have not previously seen studies of changes over time in the speech of
adults. But this looks like clear evidence of shift away from older RP,
even if to our American ears the Queen still seems to be speaking the
Queen's English.
        Re Tony Blair, it is well known that he uses very effectively a
blend of RP and something a cut above Cockney, which has come to be called
"Estuary English", and seems to be the emerging new London/Oxbridge


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