Received Pronunciation

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Received Pronunciation (RP), also called the Queen's (or King's) English,[1] Oxford English,[2] or BBC English, is the accent of Standard English in England,[3] with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms.[4] Although there is nothing intrinsic about RP that marks it as superior to any other variety, sociolinguistic factors give Received Pronunciation particular prestige in England and Wales.[5] However, since World War II, a greater permissiveness towards allowing regional English varieties has taken hold in education[6] and in the media in England.

Contents

History

The introduction of the term Received Pronunciation is usually credited to Daniel Jones after his comment in 1917 "In what follows I call it Received Pronunciation (abbreviation RP), for want of a better term."[7] However, the expression had actually been used much earlier by Alexander Ellis in 1869[8] and Peter DuPonceau in 1818[9] (the term used by Henry C. K. Wyld in 1927 was "received standard"[10]). According to Fowler's Modern English Usage (1965), the correct term is "the Received Pronunciation". The word received conveys its original meaning of accepted or approved – as in "received wisdom".[11] The reference to this pronunciation as Oxford English is because it was traditionally the common speech of Oxford University; the production of dictionaries gave Oxford University prestige in matters of language. The extended versions of the Oxford English Dictionary give Received Pronunciation guidelines for each word.

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