Non-Standard English

Hythloday   Thursday, September 25, 2003, 12:29 GMT
Re: "<<Of course Malfoy's accent is Southern English because we're all evil down there.>> lol, what about the Archers? Those folks are simple, honest and harmless!"
The Archers is set in the fictional Midlands village of Ambridge, which is supposed to be just outside of Birmingham. This is why you can occasionally hear the odd Brummie character (usually in a stereotypical 'thick' Brummie role).

Re: "<<Upper-class, marked or advanced RP (such as that spoken by the aristocracy) is difficult for most of us Brits to understand, and middle-class unmarked RP is difficult for those of us who are not used to hearing it. >> I kind of disagree with that - anyone who watches TV (most people) would understand Standard English (from the news, dramas, comedies...). No one can not understand, for example, the Queen's Speech. (As a side note I heard Prince Harry talking yesterday and he sounds "regular", ie. lower middle class."
I think you are confusing the Standard English dialect with the RP (Received Pronunciation) accent. Thay are not the same thing. In any case, I have heard many RP accents (both marked and unmarked) which I find indecipherable, and I watch a lot of telly. The thing I find with most RP-accented speakers too is that they spend so much time concentrating on HOW (accent) they are saying something that they forget to concentrate on WHAT (content) they are saying. The trouble too is that RP is overtly prestigious, and people assume because of this that whatever an RP speaker has to say must be important because they sound educated. The problem here, of course, is that educatedness is not synonymous with intelligence. Some of the most highly educated people I have ever met (all RP speakers, by the way), have also been the most stupid.

Re: "<<The range of accents reprtesented in Harry Potter is also very narrow indeed when compared to the actual range spoken within the British Isles.>> Yeah of course, it's not a 15 hour film!!..."
It would not require a 15 hour film to show that there are many more accents in the UK than RP and a few token regional varieties (recent estimates put the total number of RP speakers in the UK at around 15%). As it stands, it is not in the least representative.

Re: "<<...And then I am not surprised that the three main characters all sound like their native accents are posh. >> I disagree.. they sound well-spoken, but not to an over-the-top level like the man in the Pimms advert, Hewitt, or David Sewell.
'Well-spoken' is a highly evaluative and non-linguistic term which implies that all other accents are inferior, vulgar or improper in some way. They are not. RP only has the overt prestige which it does at present because of its association with centres of power, wealth and education. (By the way, I think you mean Brian Sewell, the art critic, not David Sewell).

Re: "On the Irish accents, the stereotypes I can perceive in the media are... southern (like Terry Wogan): soft, intelligent, rural, relaxing, etc. Northern: urban, harsh, speedier... What do you think?"
Yes, I agree. I think people prefer southern Irish accents because of the association between the northern Irish accent and 'the troubles'. Whenever an English person hears a strong northern Irish accent it immediately conjures up negative images of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley, but there is nothing inherently inferior about any northern Irish accent.

Re: "Ah, here's one last thing I can't stand: when people try to do Arabic accents; just don't bother! It's normally just some generic Asian thing that has nothing to do with real Arabic sounds."
I think this statement applies equally well to any and all varieties. I dislike Sean Connery because he can't be bothered to learn any other accent, but maybe he's right. Every time I hear a posh RP-accented RADA graduate attempting any accent - whether it be Arabic, Brummie, Northern Irish, etc., it makes me cringe with embarrassment because they're usually so bad. Are there no Brummie or Northern Irish actors out there, for pity's sake!
Jamie On   Thursday, September 25, 2003, 13:16 GMT
The Archers is set in the midlands?!!! How come there are so many westcountry accents? that's weird. Yes I meant Brian Sewell! :- ) Sorry...

What I thought RP was, was a set way of ennunciating every phonetic sound, so the accent is as clear as possible. That's how well-spoken people talk, but there are degrees of that, I agree, I know what you mean.

On the Arabic thing, I have seen so many impressions of Osama bin Laden in this generic accent - it's ridiculous. I mean, it's not hard to watch him on the news and copy his accent!
Osama bin Laden   Thursday, September 25, 2003, 13:32 GMT
Yeah, gets you down doesn't it. Enough to make you hide in a cave and read books.
Hythloday   Thursday, September 25, 2003, 18:20 GMT
No, unmarked RP is middle-class British English, marked RP is upper-class British English. Working-class regional accents of British English can also be clearly enunciated, as you say, and all accents are equal.
Jamie On   Thursday, September 25, 2003, 19:20 GMT
Merhaba Ossama!! Ouli wainak - biddi ja-izet il masari!!!

Yes, Hyth - agree that all working class accents can be made clear, still may be hard for foreigners since the sounds change consistently.
Hythloday   Friday, September 26, 2003, 08:07 GMT
Should US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African English also be classified as Non-Standard English?
Bayou Rover   Friday, September 26, 2003, 08:55 GMT
Jamie On, are you Lebanese? That dialect you have used above is pretty like Lebanese Arabic, I believe. Well, it seemed like that anyway.
Oh, it is a chance to test my Arabic, LOL. I will try to translate it and you correct me if I were wrong, ok?
"Hello Osama! Tell me where you are - I want that cash prize!"
Jamie On   Friday, September 26, 2003, 09:06 GMT
That was meant to be Saudi-like Arabic dammit!! Yeah you're right, wanted to say that I want the reward money :- ) There is a simple explanation for this, I watch too much Leb TV and too much leb music. So you must be pretty advanced in your Arabic studies then, how long were you learning.

Btw I'm Omani.
Bayou Rover   Friday, September 26, 2003, 09:53 GMT
Um...about three years, I guess.
Jamie On   Friday, September 26, 2003, 11:26 GMT
Good for you, go on learning!
Hythloday   Friday, September 26, 2003, 18:51 GMT
Hythloday   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 08:35 GMT
Should US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African English also be classified as Non-Standard English?

Well, I think so. US English is only a minor off-shoot of English English, which has been around since the fifth century. US English should really be referred to as a non-standard English dialect in my estimation.
Jamie On   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 18:50 GMT
But every kind of English goes on changing gradually, so none of them can claim to be the Real English as spoken whenever you have in mind.
Ryan   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 20:04 GMT
American English is a non-standard dialect that more people speak than any other English dialect in the world, therefore why shouldn't it become the standard dialect?

Clark   Tuesday, September 30, 2003, 23:35 GMT
If you are in America, and someone says, "speak standard English," you should not expect to hear RP or Queen's English, you should expect to hear standard American English.

I know some of you would argue "what is standard [American] English, " but there is one. It is taught at all colleges/universities (grammar, etc...) and newscasters are taught how to speak it.

So, it depends on what country you are in when you are talking about standard and non-standard English. If you are in England and you mention non-standard English, this could mean any English accent/dialect spoken anywhere in the world INCLUDING the various accents spoken in England proper. Because if someone read these posts that you all have written, they might get the impression that every single accent in England is standard English because they are spoken in England. Geography is not a factor.

American English is standard English in America. Canadian English is standard in Canada. New Zealand English is standard in New Zealand. South African English is standard in South Africa.