The Null Device
Over the next week, the BBC has a special feature
on dialects, accents and regional usages in the UK. As part of this series, a BBC reporter tries speaking in Received Pronounciation
. the cut-glass proper English accent formerly known as "BBC English", but now only used by automated announcements on the Tube and effete, treacherous aristocrats in Hollywood movies:
For example, wedging a cork in my mouth and attempting to read lines from Julius Caesar was invaluable, helping me keep the tongue flat and speaking with restricted lip movement, but I did feel like a snake who had tried to open a wine bottle with his fangs, only to get stuck.
American tourists in particular seemed to love it, perhaps mistaking me for a Hugh Grant impersonator. A few were slightly scared by my over-enthusiastic use of the phrase "Dear fellow", but a woman named Judy seemed especially enamoured with the accent. "Can I take you home to the ranch?" she said in a rich Texan drawl.
Also on the BBC in the Voices series: language change and (the myth of) Americanisation
, the language of love
, and the language of the love that (once) dare not speak its name
, or "Polari".
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