Best way to Learn British English?

Rolls for the Chums   Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:29 pm GMT
What might be some of the best ways to learn specific British English and Pronunciation, specifically RP? I find movies to be very good, as watching the same British film many, many times (like say over 20 times) over to get the accents and variations down. (this is how a child learns, is it not? from hearing the phrases, via the family speakers, over and over and over? correct me if I am wrong) The new movie Layer Cake came out, and the amount of varied English characters and speakers in there is like a way to see so many variations, over 15 in that I noted. Even an Irish accent that is kind of pulled down a bit on the acting of Colm Meany.
Sander   Fri Sep 16, 2005 8:34 pm GMT
I'm not sure if I have an RP accent (Candy?) but I learned it from my English teacher.Movies with an RP accent are pretty rare here.
Rolls for the Chums   Fri Sep 16, 2005 9:08 pm GMT
I see a movie like Snatch where nobody speaks it but what about the character Vinnie Jones portrays - isnt he speaking it with mixed cockney- I found this site that has examples of RP and it shows it so I think I can identify it now it is very elegant, but sometimes people take it as being snobish.

I am actually trying to institute British English in everyday usage, and people are like flipping, cause they never heard such terms -

I have used the following

a bit





- I never hear anyone using these terms ever. Perhaps Sander and others you can teach by listing little things to build on to get it right over time and the context of the terms.

You should record your voice in an audio clip and post to the web and we all can see if it is so, maybe reading a passage or something.
american nic   Fri Sep 16, 2005 11:15 pm GMT
A bit? That's RP? I say that all the time.
Candy   Sat Sep 17, 2005 7:41 am GMT
<<I'm not sure if I have an RP accent (Candy?) but I learned it from my English teacher.Movies with an RP accent are pretty rare here. >>

Sander, it's hard for me to judge when I've only heard that one (fairly brief) recording of you, but I can't honestly say RP sprang to mind when I heard you! Sorry! :-) (Norwegian newsreader....!)

Why do people so desperately want to speak RP anyway? Most English people don't talk RP. I certainly don't. There are literally 1000s of different accents in England. When you're really good at it, you can often identify which town someone comes from, never mind just the area.

Where are you from, Rolls? Like nic, I have no idea why 'a bit' should be RP?? 'Chum' sounds very old-fashioned, and people would probably only use it as a joke. 'Roundabout' is used very very often everywhere in Britain, because we have so many of them. 'Windscreen' is normal (I think they call it 'windshield' in the US). "Cumbersome' - well, what can I say?? Don't use it much!
Sander   Sat Sep 17, 2005 7:48 am GMT
=>Why do people so desperately want to speak RP anyway? <=

I guess people think it's the ultimate form of English , the highest of the highest .... god knows why. :-)
Candy   Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:01 am GMT
God knows why indeed!
I mean, obviously MY local Northern English accent is the highest of the highest...! :-)
Non RP Damian   Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:15 am GMT
RP = Really Posh. Like Joanna Lumley - when she isn't on the champagne she's Really Posh....and not at all cumbersome. I've never heard anyone use the word that word was ever, ever used here in sounds so very Sassenach. It's true you can fairly accurately pinpoint from which locality many people come by the way they speak...not only down there in England but also up here. I believe (I don't know personally) that it's easy to tell whether a person comes from Hamilton or East Kilbride and they are less than ten miles apart. When I was in Leeds the locals could also tell if someone came from Bradford or Huddersfield, both distinguishable from Leeds itself, and all three cities are within a very small radius of each other. In fact there is very little open countryside between them all. CANDY says...they are everywhere. Have you noticed that many of them have their own names? In this area we have Sherriffhall roundabout, Gilmerton roundabout......Straiton, Lasswade, Nether Liberton, Calder, Hermiston roundabouts etc. Makes location pinpointing easier. I think they should use more fun names Partytime roundabout, Frolics roundabout. I think it's better than the numbers for junctions like on the motorways. Junction 27 sounds so.....well, clinical and boring.
Non RP Damian   Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:16 am GMT
**god knows why**

Well, if he knows, let's ask him. Will he reply in RP do you think?
Candy   Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:18 am GMT
Damian, have you ever seen that totally crazy roundabout near Swindon (called the 'Magic Roundabout') where there are 5 mini-roundabouts as well as the main one??

In my area, you can tell whether someone comes from Ulverston or Dalton, 5 miles apart, and also from Barrow, 3 miles from Dalton.
Damian   Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:27 am GMT
No CANDY....never been to Swindon but I saw signs to it when we drove down to Cornwall last month. We'd have killed ourselves laughing if we'd come to the Magic Roundabout. I've heard of a Robin Hood Roundabout to be in or near Nottingham I would guess. And in London a Pratts Bottom Roundabout.

Glaswegian and Edinburgh are two different Languages let alone accents! 45 miles apart though. They should publish a phrase book for people going to or from each city. If we have probs then it's no wonder Bill Bryson did when he went to Glasgow.
Candy   Sat Sep 17, 2005 8:29 am GMT
Yeah, Bill Bryson is really funny about the Glasgow accent. 'No sorry, I only speak English...'
Damian   Sat Sep 17, 2005 10:33 am GMT
Bill Bryson's experience in a Glasgow pub:

Bill wanders up to the bar.
Guy No 1: Hae ya nae hook ma dooky?
BB: I'm sorry?
Guy No 1: He'll nay be doon a mooning.
BB: Oh ah!
Guy No 2: D'ye hae a hoo and a poo?
BB: I'm sorry?
Guy No 2 (irritated): D'ye hae a hoo and a POO???
BB notices that he is a trifle intoxicated.
BB: Sorry but I come from the English speaking world.
Guy No 1: D'ye nae hae in May? If ye dinnae dock ma donny.
Guy No 2 (even more pissed) Doon in Troon they croon in June.
BB: Oh, ah!
Guy No 1 (now VERY irritated) Fuckin' muckle fucket in the fuckin' muckle. Ah hae the noo.
BB (to the barman): A pint of Tennents, please.
Barman: Hae ya nae hook ma donny?
BB: I'm sorry?
Guy No 1: Ah hae the noo.

Barman gives BB his pint, sighs heavily and walks away. It subsequently transpired that all these guys were trying to say to Bill was that it was no use ordering lager as it was the worst pub in the world for lager as all he would get was a glass of warm soap suds.

His experience here in Edinburgh was almost as fractious:

Bill orders a coffe and an Egg McMuffin from the spotty faced young guy serving him.
SFYG: Do you want an apple turnover with that?
BB: I'm sorry - do I look brain damaged?
SFYG: Pardon?
BB: Correct me if I'm wrong but did I order an apple turnover?
BB: So do I look as if I have some mental condition that would
render me incapabale of ordering an apple turnover if I
wanted one?
SFYG:'s just that we're told to ask everyone like!
BB: What? You think everyone in Edinburgh is brain damaged?
SFYG: We're just told to ask
BB: Do you remember what I DO want?
SFYG: Egg McMuffin...and a cup of coffee.
BB: Do you think I might have it this morning or shall we talk
some more?
SFYG: Uh...right...I'll just get it.
BB: Thank you.

Later after eating his EcM and C of C he left, feeling a wee bit less fractious...only to find the rain beating down outside.

That's my Edinburgh! We're only here to please. :-)
Candy   Sat Sep 17, 2005 11:00 am GMT
I'm pleased to report that BB had excellent experiences in the Lake District, my neck of the woods! He was pretty disparaging about Oxford, though.
Rolls for the Chums   Sun Sep 18, 2005 4:34 am GMT
I am actually in NY, and the accent here is quite rough and sloppy sometimes. I am trying to learn the mannerisms and language use of British English as I prefer it to be more easier for me to convey my thoughts and ideas and just general topics with than using the American English, I even use words like shall and indeed many times. I don't know if that is common though. As regards "a bit", that is used almost that I never see, only maybe when saying "see you in a bit". I very much like the word chum, and might use it as opposed to friend or buddy. I noted in the film Snatch there was a brief moment when the character Bricktop said, "Your on thin f---in ice my pedigree chums!". To me that was the first use I had seen of it I believe ever! I noticed the word "sprang" used above, I never hear that term, but would very much like to use it.

As regards RP, I want to learn that and the many others or some of the 1000's you mention, I think I can put on both a RP and Estuary for a time, but I must constantly practice to keep it going for a while. I did it so well once, an Animation Studio in NYC used it as there message system for voicemail as it had a distinctive suave British tone to it and that was welcoming to clients.