Neutral accent

kip   Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:28 pm GMT
Asif Rao   Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:12 am GMT
I want to know about the Neutral Accent. If some one have information about it then please share it with me. From where it originates? Thanks.
Jim   Thu Nov 16, 2006 3:07 pm GMT
It originates in the imagination of those who harbour the mistaken notion that there exists such a thing as a standard dialect. There is no neutral accent.
*Charlotte*   Mon Mar 19, 2007 2:22 pm GMT
I'm doing a presentation at uni about whether a posh accent is a social handicap and I believe it is. If I met a group of people and one person in the group had a rather pompus accent, I would avoid that person more as (maybe unconsciously) they make you feel inadequate and inferior in intelligance. It may not be their fault as you cannot help your accent but it happens. People with a more 'neutral' or even a strong northern accent (for example) are more approachable and seem way more out-going.
Liz   Mon Mar 19, 2007 3:17 pm GMT

you are right in thinking that these days a posh accent is more of a disadvantage than an advantage. As you said, a person with a less posh accent seems to be more friendly. Still, I think, people shouldn´t be judged merely on the basis of their accents. There are some (very, very few) people who have RP as their natural accent because their parents, grandparents etc. speak/spoken that way. However, most of them try to relax their accents as much as they can when talking to their peers. I am aware of the fact that a posh accent often goes hand in hand with a lofty, haughty, pompous upper-class attitude, but it is not always the case. There are nice, friendly people speaking RP and vice versa. I think that goes without saying.

As far as a "neutral accent" is concerned...I don´t think there is such a thing at all. RP is perceived as *the* "neutral accent" by most teachers outside the UK in Europe, that´s the reason why usually this variety is taught to learners of EFL. However, nothing could be further from the truth. RP carries certain social connotations (as explained above, and many times in this forum ad nauseam) which prevent it from being neutral. Besides, each and every dialect indicates either class or region, and thus can´t be entirely neutral.
Josh Lalonde   Mon Mar 19, 2007 6:16 pm GMT
There was a survey done, I think by the BBC, about how people perceived different accents. RP was fairly high on the list, but people said that RP speakers seemed cold or unemotional. I think it was a Scottish accent that was voted most trustworthy, while certain Welsh accents were thought to be least pleasant, along with Scouse. As mentioned above, no accent is neutral; no matter how you speak, someone will hate you because of it.
Liz   Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:43 pm GMT
A question to Josh:

Is this "accent prestige and stigma" question a big issue in Canada, too? Or it´s only the Brits who make a mountain out of a molehill?
Josh Lalonde   Mon Mar 19, 2007 8:20 pm GMT
In my experience, it's not really much of an issue here. That isn't to say that social classes don't exist, but the variation in accent between them is a lot less. Ottawa, where I live, presents an interesting mix of class and geography though. The city itself is home to many government departments and is one of the most educated in the country. The surrounding area, the Ottawa Valley, has a distinctive accent that does not occur in the city. So someone who speaks with an Ottawa Valley accent will often be stereotyped as uneducated or lower class, even though it is primarily a geographic difference. Another difference between Canada and the UK is that the difference between accents here is fairly small, whereas there's Cockney, RP, West Country, Scouse, etc. just in England, not to mention the other countries. So in short, there is little variation in accent here to begin with, it is more geographically- than class-based, and it's not that much of an issue anyway. Non-standard grammar is still heavily stigmatised of course, and probably more closely linked with class.
sandeep   Wed May 30, 2007 2:49 pm GMT
<< well neutral accent is the one week pointof every individual... it shows out where he is from...>>
sandeep   Wed May 30, 2007 2:55 pm GMT
... also what i want to say is
" no one can be perfect. we should respect those who don,t know to pronounce correctly but still making efforts.."
chethan   Wed May 30, 2007 3:26 pm GMT


ahmed moustafa   Tue Aug 07, 2007 8:47 am GMT
i am an egyptian-american citizen. i have a dual citizenship. i have an american accent, but americans say that i have a neutral accent. is it true that i have a neutral accent or an merican accent. what do you think?
Skippy   Tue Aug 07, 2007 9:05 pm GMT
Americans in general don't realize that they have an accent... A language is basically a group of mutually intelligible dialects... So in any language a "neutral accent" is going to be either the most common or most posh accent (in general). Americans don't really have accent divisions by social status (except for a few elites in New England that basically sounds like English folks) so "Standard American" tends to be the dialect of states like Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, etc. (even though Southern American English has the largest number of speakers).
Travis   Tue Aug 07, 2007 11:04 pm GMT
>>A language is basically a group of mutually intelligible dialects...<<

Not really. One can have a group of largely crossintelligible dialects which are referred to being broken up into different languages with different standard languages, as in the case of continental North Germanic. Actually, the situation is more complex with North Germanic, as one can easily have dialects in each "language" which are closer to dialects the other languages than some other dialects in that same language - the standard languages are closer to each other than Standard Swedish is to Elfdalian (aka Dalecarlian) or Standard Danish is to South Jutish, despite the former being a "Swedish dialect" and the latter being a "Danish dialect".

On the other hand, one can easily have a group of dialects that are referred to as a single language and which share a single standard language, and which yet is not crossintelligible across its whole. Two good examples of such are Arabic and German. In the case of Arabic, there is a single standard language, Modern Standard Arabic, and yet Arabic dialects are no less diverse than Romance dialects are today and are frequently not crossintelligible. Similarly, with German there is a single standard with minor regional variations while there is a wide range of dialects which, again, are not necessarily crossintelligible with each other (for example, northern German dialects are not necessarily crossintelligible with Upper Alemannic and Upper Austro-Bavarian dialects).
Skippy   Wed Aug 08, 2007 2:07 am GMT
It's not always true, but in general it is.