PL EN


2012 | 10 | 2 | 133-142
Article title

The double-edged sword of RP: the contrasting roles of a pronunciation model in both native and non-native environments

Authors
Content
Title variants
Languages of publication
EN
Abstracts
EN
Received Pronunciation (RP) is often studied as the pronunciation model in Great Britain and non-English-speaking countries separately. What my paper focuses on is the duality with which RP is essentially endowed: the role(s) in which it has to satisfy the needs of both native and non-native speakers of English. Whilst the claim that RP has changed recently goes unchallenged, the issue of reflecting these changes in the preferred transcription models is hotly debated. Upton’s model of RP is one that does include several new symbols, motivated by an attempt to ‘ensure that the description of a late twentieth century version the accent […] looks forward to the new millennium rather than back at increasingly outmoded forms’ (2001:352). I discuss the feasibility of adopting Upton’s model of RP as the pronunciation model in non-English speaking countries, where it is desirable to resolve the paradox that ‘most of our teaching is aimed at young people, but the model we provide is that of middle-aged or old speakers’ (Roach 2005: 394). The observations I make are largely based on my MA research, which is now being modified for the purposes of my Ph.D. I asked undergraduate students of English in England and the Czech Republic to evaluate seven voices ranging from the clearly regional to the unquestionably RP. The objective was to discover which sounds are considered to fall within the scope of RP by students in both countries, which approach avoids treating RP as though it were to include only the sounds ‘allowed by a preconceived model’ (Upton 2000: 78). Further, the respondents were asked to comment on the most salient features in the recordings: what they opted to comment on reveals a marked difference in the role of RP as a model accent in the given countries. Societies which lack a prestigious non-regional accent are often oblivious to the social connotations RP carries. Whilst it seems technically impossible to replace the model accent in all teaching materials all over the world, creating awareness of the fact that a rather outmoded model of RP found in many textbooks may not always be the best option is a necessary step towards ensuring that non-English speaking students are not only understood but that their speech will attract no adverse judgements.
Keywords
Year
Volume
10
Issue
2
Pages
133-142
Physical description
Dates
published
2012-10-01
online
2012-10-21
Contributors
  • Masaryk University, Brno
References
  • Beal, Joan. 2008. Shamed by Your English? In Joan Beal et al. (eds) Perspectives on Prescriptivism. Bern: Peter Lang, 21-40.
  • Collins, Beverley et Inger Mees. 2003. Practical Phonetics and Phonology. London: Routledge.
  • Cruttenden, Alan. 1994. Gimson’s Pronunciation of English, 5th ed. London: Arnold.
  • Dankovicova, Jana. 1999. Czech. In Handbook of the International Phonetic Association, Cambridge University Press, pp. 70-74.
  • Giles, Howard et al. 1990. The Social Meaning of RP. In Susan Ramsaran (ed) Studies in the Pronunciation of English: A Commemorative Volume in Honour of A. C. Gimson. London: Routledge, 191-211.
  • Gimson, A. C. 1984. The RP Accent. In Peter Trudgill (ed) Language in the British Isles. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 45-54.
  • Hannisdal, Bente Rebecca. 2006. Variability and change in Received Pronunciation, Ph.D. dissertation. Bergen: University of Bergen.
  • Honey, John. 1991. Does Accent Matter?. London: Faber and Faber.
  • Mathesius, Vilem. 1982 [1942]. Jazyk, kultura a slovesnost. Praha: Odeon.
  • Roach, Peter. 2005. Representing the English Model. In Katarzyna Dzubialska-Kolczyk & Joanna Przedlacka (eds) English Pronunciation Models: A Changing Scene. Bern: Peter Lang, 393-9.
  • Upton, Clive. 2000. Maintaining the Standard. In Robert Penhallurick (ed) Debating Dialect: Essays on the Philosophy of Dialect Study. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 66-83.
  • Upton, Clive. 2001. Revisiting RP. In Malcolm Jones (ed) Essays in Lore and Language: Presented to John Widdowson on the Occasion of His Retirement. Sheffield: National Centre for English, 351-68.
  • Upton, Clive, William Kretzschamr and Rafal Konopka. 2003. The Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Upton Clive. 2008. Received Pronunciation. In Clive Upton & Bernd Kortmann (eds) Varieties of English: The British Isles. New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 237-52.
  • Wells, J. C. 1982. Accents of English (3 vols). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Wells, J. C. 2001. IPA Transcription Systems for English. http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/ipa-english-uni.htm [accessed February 2012]
  • ---
Document Type
Publication order reference
Identifiers
YADDA identifier
bwmeta1.element.hdl_11089_9641
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.