The Queen’s English? BBC English? The English of Professor Higgins in My Fair Lady? For many learners of English, standard British English is synonymous with one of the three. However, the accent that most people think of as ‘quintessentially British’ is actually known as RP – Received Pronunciation. It is widely recognised and often used as a model for teaching English as a second language, as well as serving as the basis for pronunciation guides of British English in dictionaries. We look at Received Pronunciation – the characteristically British accent.
Only an estimated 3% of the population speak with an RP accent, mostly in England. Unlike other varieties of English, such as Scouse in Liverpool, Geordie in Newcastle and MLE (Multicultural London English), RP is not identified with a particular region of the UK, although it is broadly similar to the English spoken in the South East. It is widely considered to be ‘standard’ English and tends to be thought of as ‘educated speech’. Continue reading