Estuary English taking over England

Agnes   Tuesday, November 23, 2004, 14:39 GMT
Oh... that one.... yes, I have, actually. though it ain't as good as learning it from the real thing (mingling with the natives...) it has been a bit usefull for me anyway in my temps to sharpen my Estuary accent.
zaaa   Wednesday, November 24, 2004, 15:30 GMT

you can put the last post in the Antimoon's best-of of stupid messages
Brennus   Thursday, November 25, 2004, 06:28 GMT

I've never heard the term "Estuary English" used here in North America. However, I have heard some non-standard forms of British English referred to as "Cockney" and as "The English of the lower classes". I've also heard the theory that just as the "lower classes" tend to set fashon styles (the top hat, for example, originally worn by chimney sweeps or bell bottoms by common sailors) they also tend to set linguistc trends too. Thus, lower class pronuciations have been moving upwards in British English and becoming the standard. The dropping of the h sound was a lower class innovation which began in England in the late 18th century and is now almost ubiquitous in British English. In the U.S. and Canada, however, the h is still pronounced because these countries were isolated from this development.
Damian   Thursday, November 25, 2004, 11:28 GMT
Hey Agnes:

I love your postings....they amuse me. ;-) Exactly why do you wish to cultivate an Estuary accent? Is it just because you think it's really cool and that you sort of wish to feel part of the scene in England? Well, mostly southern England areas anyway. There is no reason at all why you shouldn't because it's now undeniably the accepted form of spoken English in those areas among people under the age of 40 or so, I reckon...mostly a lot younger.

Brennan is quite perceptive. It has been a dumbing down exercise more or less. If you listen carefully to some of the younger members of the British Royal Family you will hear traces of Estuary when they speak but it's quite subtle. Dropping the "h" is all part of it, like the disappearnce of "t". We like to think that the class system is now dead in the wa'er in the UK now though!

I 'ave a lo' of work to do righ' now so I be'er ge' on wiv it.

Cheers ;-)
Agnes   Sunday, November 28, 2004, 15:40 GMT
Damian - What exactly do u mean by saying my postings amuse you? I hope u meant it in a good way...

As for your question about my interest in this particular accent: I've got half of my family born & raised in The UK, while I myself was raised in Hungary, and now it's time for me to go back home... I realy think 1 of the best ways to fit back in is by improving my accent to the most common one, which, by the looks of it, is definately the Estuary one.
I have no intentions, though, to "become part of the scene" as you put it, as I just want to be able to communicate better with my relatives & mates.
Damian   Sunday, November 28, 2004, 23:37 GMT
Hi Agnes:

I meant it in the friendliest of terms and I guessed you may have wanted to integrate with friends in England. At first glance I wondered just why you wanted to adopt Estuary. Now I know the real reason, I fully understand it. Estuary is MOSTLY confined to southern and south eastern England, as well as London, but is slowly spreading elsewhere. Even where I live (Scotland) it is creeping in to some words, mostly with the glottal stops. Population mobility which tends to hasten speech trends.

Hope you have a good time when you come here, Agnes and that you will be fluent in Estuaryspeak by then. Keep watching East Enders in the meanwhile, if you can pick it up in Hungary! :-)