British accent

Liz   Thu Jul 27, 2006 8:26 pm GMT
>> Why not just glottalize all the t's? <<

>>Then it would sound like a Cockney accent, which is a bit harder to do, but much easier than RP. <<

Why do you think it is easier than RP? Easier for whom? For Americans? For non-native speakers of English?

Glottal stops are much too hard to pronounce for many foreigners (for glottal stops are non-existent in many (European) languages), but are obligatory in (being a distinctive feature of ) Cockney. Therefore the attempt to speak Cockney without glottalising voiceless stops would fail, since that speech would sound completely inauthentic.

As opposed to Cockney speech, glottalisation is only an optional feature of the RP accent. So, this accent (RP) is easier for those who are unable or unwilling to produce glottal stops.

>>28) Use glottal stops to replace word-final T's. <<

Again, it's not a distinctive feature of RP. Many people, especially youngsters do glottalise word-final T-s, though. And it has become part of modified RP. More precisely, not word final T-s, rather pre-consonantal T-s are glottalised. Glottalising your word-final T-s (when the word-final T is followed by a pause or a word with a vowel in word-initial position) makes your speech sound more Estuary than RP.
geust k   Wed Aug 02, 2006 5:29 pm GMT
Along the lines of a british accent I do have I question to whom ever may answer.
I'm trying not to speak the accent but write it, how do I go about doing so?
ben   Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:23 am GMT
I'm an American who spent the last year studying in Oxford. For me, the most noticeable difference was that the English spoke in a more sing-songy, melodious sort of way. My accent sounded very monotone and Humphry Bogart-like in comparison -- it hit fewer high and low notes in everyday conversation. In fact, in my first week there I had several people tell me that I was hard to understand because I spoke in such a monotone way. Just something I noticed about the English accent that goes beyond changes in the pronounciation of individual sounds.
Bennx   Thu Aug 03, 2006 12:52 am GMT
Bloody hell
geust k   Thu Aug 03, 2006 1:14 pm GMT
When you say english do you mean british-english? also sing-songy,as in they use inflection intheir voice?
Charles Henry Spencer   Tue Aug 08, 2006 4:42 pm GMT
I think that a proper "posh" accent is exclusive to those who belong to the good old-fashioned aristocracy and that's how it should be.
geust k   Fri Aug 11, 2006 10:39 pm GMT
Thank you for your help, but I think I will still need to listen to an actor with a british accent an then try to find the out standing points in the accent. Perhaps thats all I need to get the accent across to the reader.
Thomas   Sun Aug 13, 2006 5:00 pm GMT
Watch the Harry Potter movies.
Harry and Emma have typical Southern English accents, close to RP.
Important points:
- t's are never pronounced as d's -> in American English, letter often becomes ledder, for example.
- 'a' like in father in words like "fast", "last", "past", "can't"
- the 'o' in "not" remains an 'o'.
- r's in words like "word", "later", "four" are dropped
Henk   Thu Aug 17, 2006 6:42 am GMT
Two words "listen" and "imitate"
That's all you have to do. :-)
roobahb   Thu Aug 17, 2006 11:32 am GMT
The best English is spoken in Scotland! It's true - Scotland is the only place where all consonants are sounded properly. The worst English on Earth is spoken in London, and by aristocrats e.g
Nightingale   Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:03 pm GMT
Thomas wrote:
"Harry and Emma have typical Southern English accents, close to RP.
Important points:
- t's are never pronounced as d's"

May I contest that particular combination of points.

I just re-watched "Goblet of Fire" today. On several occasions, Harry and Ron, and occasionally Hermione (Emma) too, pronounced "t" as "d". The frequency of this pronunciation increases with rapidity of speech.

The difference is that such a pronunciation is the *exception* in the English of South England and the *norm* in American English.
Nightingale   Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:15 pm GMT
For a concrete example (one from memory)...

In the "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" movie, Hermione removes a book from a library shelf and shows it to Harry and Ron.

Hermione/Emma says: "Heeriddis." (Here it is)

There are many more instances of such pronunciation in the fourth film, but I can't write them down from memory. This goes to show, however, that it isn't true that they *never* pronounce t as d.

I suppose I can understand your assumption, though:
From an American perspective, the British pronounce the "t" sound at a MUCH higher frequency, leading Americans to believe that "t" is never pronounced as "d". Besides, "d" for "t" substitution comes to naturally to Americans that they don't notice the few instances where the British do it too =p
Uriel   Thu Aug 17, 2006 2:24 pm GMT
Exactly, Nightingale -- I, too, have noticed that while D for T substitutions are particularly associated with American/Canadian accents, they actually occur in all varieties of English -- they're very common in Australian, it seems, and Brits do it, too. It seems to be a natural "shortcut" sound for all English speakers.
Gabriel the thread killer   Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:24 pm GMT
The Irish do it as well, except they also have the slit fricative as an extra choice. They can alternate between a fricative, a voiced flap/tap and the more conservative unvoiced stop consonant, and sometimes all of the above in just one sentence.
Kirk   Thu Aug 17, 2006 5:10 pm GMT
Nightingale, Thomas, and Uriel make good points about /t/. However, not to rain on anyone's parade but it's not technically [d] that is being realized in such instances, it's a voiced alveolar tap/flap ([d] is a voiced alveolar stop). In X-SAMPA that's [4], in IPA it's [ɾ], if you can see that.

Thus, if you listen carefully to people who do the /t/ -> [4] thing in certain environments you can hear a slightly different consonant sound in "pad," which does have [d], and "patter," which has [4]. Not to confuse things, but the reason people often hear [4] as [d] is that intervocalic /d/ also typically goes to [4] in many forms of English. So, compare my pronunciations of the following:

"pad" [p_h{:d]
"pat" [p_h{t]

"padder" ["p_h{(:)4@`]
"patter" ["p_h{(:)4@`]