Queen's English more like that of her subjects

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at ccat.sas.upenn.edu
Mon Dec 11 15:45:16 UTC 2006

 Posted on Sat, Dec. 09, 2006

Queens English is more like subjects

Associated Press

LONDON Queen Elizabeth II sounds more like her subjects than she did a
half century ago, when she first assumed her royal dutays, according to an
academic study released Monday. In 1952 she would have been heard
referring to thet men in the bleck het.  Now it would be that man in the
black hat, said Jonathan Harrington, professor of phonetics at the
University of Munich, who conducted the study. Similarly, she would have
spoken of the citay and dutay, rather than citee and dutee, and hame
rather than home. In the 1950s she would have been lorst, but by the 1970s
this became lost.

Harrington said the queen is unique in having a good quality archive of
recordings for every year since 1952, in similar formal settings. It means
that we can monitor sound changes without having to worry about the
influence of speaking styles, he said. The changes in her speech, he said,
probably were not a conscious attempt to come closer to her subjects.

One of the principal changes that has happened in the English community is
that the accent now sounds slightly less aristocratic than it did 50 years
ago. This is to do with the fact that 50 years ago there was a much more
demarcated class structure. Of course, in the 1960s and the 1970s there
was something of a collapse in the rigidity of that class structure and
this was also reflected in the change of accent.


N.b.: Listing on the lgpolicy-list is merely intended as a service to its members
and implies neither approval, confirmation nor agreement by the owner or sponsor of
the list as to the veracity of a message's contents. Members who disagree with a
message are encouraged to post a rebuttal.


More information about the Lgpolicy-list mailing list