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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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British English Accents – 1. Cockney Accent

What comes into your mind first when you think about a British Accent? Most people would easily think about the accents you hear in ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘The Lord of the Rings’.

Britain really does have lots of different accents. Even inside of London, you’ll find people with a Cockney accent, an Estuary accent, a Neutral accent, and RP (Received Pronunciation) aka they speak with a posh accent. You can actually hear it in the famous film called ‘Kings man’ or the series ‘Game of Thrones’. If you have already watched ‘Kings man’, have you noticed the difference between ‘Eggsy’s’ (played Taron Egerton) and ‘Harry’s’ (Colin Firth) accent? You can hear that Eggsy has Cockney accent and Harry has a posh accent there.

British accent

What’s a cockney accent?

A cockney accent is traditionally spoken by working-class Londoners. In 1980s and 1990s, it had become part of South East English in London and it is also known as Estuary English. Apparently Cockney Rhyming slang was originally made to use like a secret code so that other listeners could not understand. Some of Cockney slang expressions are now in popular use all over Britain, not only in London. Also it is used by a lot of young people, not only working-class people. If you don’t know these slangs, you wouldn’t understand even a single sentence. For example, “let’s have a butchers mate.” Can you guess what it means? This ‘Butchers’ is from ‘Butcher’s hook’, and ‘Butcher’s’ means “Look” in Cockney Rhyming Slang. I will give you some more examples that are quite commonly used especially among young people.

  • China plate = Mate (“Hey, my china!”)
  • Apple and pear = Stairs (Get your arse up the apples!)
  • Adam and eve = Believe (Oh my god, do you adam and eve it?)
  • Barnet-Fair = hair. (Look at my new barnet!)
  • Bird-lime = time. (Oh! sorry I don’t have bird)
  • Britney Spears = Beers (Let’s have britney tonight!)
  • Bees and honey – money (“Can you lend me some bees? I am totally broke.”)
  • Twist and twirl = girl (“I will take the twist out tonight.”)
  • Ones and twos = shoes (“Get your ones on, we are going out now!”)
  • Tea leaf = thief (“Some tea-leaf nicked my wallet!”)
  • Porky pies= lies (“my ex-boyfriend was full of porky pies.”)
  • Storm and strife = wife (“Guys sorry I have to go. The storm is on the way.”)
  • Loaf of bread = head (“Get your loaf out of the clouds!”)
  • Custard and jelly = telly (“Stop watching the custard and do your homework!”
  • Mince pies = eyes (“I don’t think she is lying. Take a look her mince pies.”)
  • Bottle and glass = arse (bottle = Aristotle,  Aristotle = aris = arse) (“Get your bottle up and go out right now”)
  • Boat race = face (“I punched him in the boat.”)

There are come famous celebrities who have a cockney accent. Do you know whom?

David Beckham (Football player)

British accent

 

Adele (Singer)

British accent

 

Michael Caine (Actor)

British accent

 

David Bowie (Singer)

British accent

 

Maggie Smith (Actress)

British accent

 

Have you recognized some of these celebrities already? Well, if you would like to hear their sound, have a “Butcher’s” at some of their interviews, then you will notice that they are Cockneys.

Interesting? I will introduce more British accent next time. Until then, enjoy your “Bird” and stay tuned for our next blog post my “china!”

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