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British English Accents – 2. British posh accent (Upper received accent)

posh people having teaHi my chinas! How have you been? Ooops, I shouldn’t really use cockney words this time round because I am going to tell you all about that famous Posh accent today! Please accept my sincerest appologies, darlings. Let’s put the kettle on and shall we begin.

Phewww, I feel better now. May I ask you the first very important question? What does posh mean? The word ‘Posh’ is defined as ‘elegant or stylishly luxurious’ in the dictionary. But in the UK, being posh is much more than just being ‘elegant or luxurious’. Well, then the same question again, how does this ‘poshness’ work and who is posh and who isn’t? According to an article in The Guardian, there are 7 rules to being posh. Let’s have a look at what it says:

  1. There is no one kind of poshness. There are actually seven distinct types: poshness of birth; poshness of wealth; of accent; of education; also, the poshness of excellent taste, as well as the poshness of eccentric and exuberant vulgarity; and, finally, the poshness of assumed superiority. Some of these are inextricably linked, and some quite naturally overlap, but almost no one is possessed of all seven.
  2. As a term of description or abuse, “posh” has an incredibly elastic definition. At one end of the scale you can accuse someone of being posh for owning a dishwasher. At the other extreme you will hear people saying, “The thing is, the Queen isn’t actually posh at all.”
  3. Posh people aren’t usually snobs. They just don’t have very much to resent.
  4. The worst form of snobbery operates entirely within the middle classes. This makes sense, because none of them is properly posh, and yet virtually all of them have dishwashers. If you are truly middle class, all you can see around you are other middle-class people doing it wrong. When you satirise the middle class in literature or on screen, they are both your target and your audience.
  5. A brief or occasional visitor to the upper reaches of Britain’s class system could be forgiven for assuming that all posh people know each other. In fact he could be wholly acquitted. They sort of all do.
  6. Far and away the poshest thing you can do is wilfully mispronounce your surname, as if the basic rules of vowels, consonants and syllables simply didn’t apply to you, and then oblige strangers to follow your lead.
  7. The next-poshest thing you can do is have a freezing bathroom.

Quite interesting, huh? I actually think that what’s interesting about this article is that your accent actually can say more about which class you belong to in the UK. Ah sorry, more accurately, people will have prejudices about you because of your accent.

Posh English is well known as the Queen’s English for the same reason as above, the royal family representing the very top of the upper class. As I mentioned in the previous blog, you will be able to catch what a posh accent is in the film ‘Kings Man’ and compare how different it is to a cockney and chav accent.

Then, now the second important question, how to speak using a posh accent? There are no right answers to this question. However, there a couple of things I have learnt about speaking posh English.

One is that you make sure you pronounce words correctly, especially the ‘t’ sound should be very clear. Second, pronounce words as they should be phonetically, trying not miss out a single phoneme in the word. Third, make vowel sounds longer, like luuhh-v-ly, not just luv-ly. Fourth, learn the Queen’s vocabulary. Try saying ‘I would be enormously delighted to join the class’ instead of saying ‘The class sounds sick’. Finally the fifth, as we all know, is listening, mimicking and practicing a lot!

I will introduce you to a few celebrities who are known to have posh accent so that you can find their interview videos and listen to their accent if you so wish.

Ian Mckellen (Actor) (Aka Dumbledore or Gandalf)

ianmeckellen.jpg

Emma Watson (Actress) (AKA Hermione in Harry Potter)

emmawatson

Hugh Grant (Actor)

hughgrant

Sir David Attenborough (Broadcaster)

David Attenborough

And of course, Queen Elizabeth.

Queen-Elizabeth-Cars

I am really chuffed to give you an idea about different English accents and what they mean. I hope you have had an enormously lovely time with us. (Ha! Look how at how posh I am!). If you would like to learn more on English and accents, please find us at, World Choice Education in Bournemouth.

 

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St. Patrick’s Day – The green island is getting greener

 

leprechaunEvery year on the 17th March, Ireland and the rest of world celebrate one of its patron saints, St. Patrick. St. Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in Ireland and the Irish people take that chance to celebrate this public-holiday like no other feast day. Did you know that, ironically, it is believed that St Patrick was actually of Scottish origin? He first visited Ireland when he was taken there as a slave by Irish raiders. Later he escaped from them. After returning home he turned into a Christian and he became a priest and later returned to Ireland to turn the pagan Irish into Christians. His work was to eventually turn all the Irish into Christians or at least that’s what the story says.

RANDOM FACT: Traditionally St. Patrick’s Day weekend was the potato planting weekend in Ireland.

 

 

Stepping a little bit back in time

Ireland was first populated around 10 000BC but very little is known about its habitants. In the fourth century BC Celtic people arrived on Irish shores. Also Vikings raided the island for about 350 years in the Irish history until they were pushed out by the Irish King, Muirecan. Not to mention the fact that the Normans also tried to take a grab for Ireland. Basically, everyone wanted a piece of Ireland and fought over it even when the island was under the British Crown.  


St. Patrick’s Day in the US

USA-IRLAs mentioned at the beginning of this post, St Patrick’s has now become somewhat of a global  celebration, with every Irish Pub in every corner of the world ensuring that people can really savour this national holiday the way the Irish would be proud of. Did you know that the Irish build the biggest nationality group in America? At the moment there are about 19 Million Irish people living in the US. They make 8% of the whole population of the United States of America. Many if not most of them came to America during the Great Famine in Ireland in 1845-51. They earned money because of the new industry and the new world. Because of their togetherness they became a huge influence and force among the locals. Despite being far from home, the Irish still made sure that they remembered their roots and ensured they stuck to their traditional St. Patrick’s Day every year.  The Irish spirit is infectious and soon enough the American people began to join in on the celebration. Funnily enough, many American’s have no idea who St Patrick is and around 73% of them are unable locate Ireland on a map but they still enjoy joining in on the celebrations anyway!

 

The “always thirsty” Irish people drink the “Green Beer” excessively on their national day. For those of you who find the idea of green beer bizarre then don’t because it’s just like normal beer but with added green food colouring. After much consumption of such beer you can imagine how the Irish feel the day after… Did you know that the traditional Irish cure for a hangover was to be buried up to the neck in moist river sand? – Perhaps we should skip the greasy fry up and try this too instead!

Green RiverOn St Patrick’s the world is greener. Take Chicago for example, Mr. Stephen Bailey was the first to colour the River running through the city green (this lasts for a whole week!). This tradition is now more than fifty-year-old and is repeated every year – only for a couple of hours though! Many Americans think that this Irish tradition is a little over the top and think that they should keep Mother Nature out of it. Even Irish living in Ireland are jealous of how over the top the celebrations have become in the US.

 

Celebrations in UK are much tamer – you’ll see a couple dozen of ginger wigs, green jackets, and shamrock hats floating around cities not to mention the odd leprechauns gallivanting about in the UK but nothing as major or ridiculous as colouring the River Thames green. Don’t be too shocked if you see a couple of blokes toasting with a pint of Guinness as early as 9am either and if a few moments later they hobble out putting on their best Irish accent – this is totally normal!! It’s definitely tamer but still joyful so make sure you don’t miss out on the fun on 17th March!

 St Patricks UK

HAPPY ST. PATRICK’S!!!!

If you fancy a drink and an Irish dance meet us at O’Neill’s at 6pm in Bournemouth!

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