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  • 1. LONDON ACCENTS

2. INTRO TO ESTUARY ENGLISH EE was a term devised by linguist David Rosewarne: EE is a mixture of non-regional and local SouthEastern English pronunciation and intonation. It refers to the cockney-influenced accent, which has come to be identified with the Thames Estuary Essex, North Kent, and the capital itself 3. THE EE SCALECockneyEstuary EnglishEE is between Cockney and the Queen, (Rosewarne 1994: 3) Therefore it is the version of London accent that excludes multi-cultural influences.RP 4. Oxford Dictionary of New words definition:WHAT IS EE? 'It may now be regarded as fashionable among certain popular comedians, pop and rock musicians, and presenters of television programmes for the young But what about Cockney? Cockney isnt dying out Dr Laura Wright believes that it is moving to towns on the outskirts of London. 5. ESTUARY ENGLISH: A NEW STANDARD ACCENT?Upper middle classes talking down as well as lower middle classes talking up - David Crystal - Londoners moving into the suburbs and coming into contact with RP the results of greater social mobility after the 80s. Influential: heard in House of Commons, business, media, advertising (Kerswill)Due to this it became very widespread and took over from RP by number of speakers. (Trudgill (2001) estimates RP to be spoken by 3% of the population). It is important to note that Estuary English is an ACCENT and is usually accompanied by the use of Standard English. 6. SOME PHONOLOGICAL FEATURES OF EE /t/-glottallisation - substitution of /t/ for [] in words such as butter. TH-fronting -/f/ for /th/: thing, and /v/ for /th/: brother Some cockney vowels (Landan; Maaf) No h-dropping /l/ replaced by /w/ - known as l vocalisation, e.g. for people and milk. Instead of l, w might be used in EE - can be used as many as four times in the utterance: 'Bill will build the wall yod-dropping as in [nuz] for news 7. SOME RESEARCH INTO ESTUARY Prof. Harrington studied changes in the Queens English from the 50s to the 90s."The Queen's Christmas broadcasts were ideal for addressing this issue. Firstly they have been annual for a long period of time; secondly the Queen's accent is obviously not going to be influenced by geographical changes; thirdly any changes we observe are not going to be influenced by changes to style and content of the messages, because these have been quite consistent throughout."His team compared the royal vowels of the 1950s and 1980s. They found that in each case the Queen's accent had drifted towards the vowels of the younger generation.The Queens vowels changed dramatically from the ones in the 50s. However could we really call it Estuary?"We are all familiar with the change that has taken place in the vowels of words like 'that man' where, in the 1930s, we still had something like 'thet men,' " said Jonathan Wells, professor of linguistics at University College London. "She is only following along trends that exist in any case. She still remains well behind them, shall we say, and of course she still sounds upper-class, the way she always did." 8. PRZEDLACKAS RESEARCH Joanna Przedlackas study is not concerned with issues such as the question of whether Estuary English will be the future pronunciation standard, or with the problem of its alleged prestige. The research project (Przedlacka 1999) was aimed at testing whether EE is one phenomenon spreading across London. One-to-one interviews were carried out with 16 adolescents (8 girls, 8 boys; aged 14-16). Such choice of informants reflected a fact well established in sociolinguistic research that the middle teenage years is a period especially productive for innovations. What concept does this refer to? All the subjects were natives or newcomers to the locality within their first 5 years of life. None had attended elocution lessons or suffered any speech impediments. This study was done in 4 different localities of London. 9. CONCLUSIONSThe examination of the phonetic make up of the variety revealed that the extent of geographical variability between the localities allows one to conclude that we are still dealing with a number of distinct accents. The existence of a clearly definable uniform variety seems doubtful. However, as the regional accents of the Southeast indeed reveal a weaker presence of old regional variants, it is plausible that the levelling tendencies are at work. At this stage however, the differences between the four localities are still quite sharp. 10. KERSWILL: DIALECT LEVELLINGKerswill (2000) investigated ten speech sounds that had different pronunciations in the Milton Keynes area. One of these variables was: (ou) the diphthong vowel in coat, moan, etc. The second part of this diphthong can be 'fronted' (pronounced further forward in the mouth), to give the impression of received pronunciation 'kite' or 'mine 11. METHODOLOGY The study focused on 48 children from three of the main new town developments near the town centre: 16 four-year-olds, 16 eight-years-olds and 16 twelve-year-olds. The children were either born in Milton Keynes or had arrived there by the age of two and each group of 16 children were equally divided between the sexes. The children were interviewed by Ann Williams who set tasks to get them talking. She also interviewed one caregiver for each child to see if there was a difference between the childs and the adults accent. The recordings were divided into two main sections: (i) elicitation tasks, using quizzes, 'spot-the-difference' pictures and map reading tasks, and (ii) spontaneous speech, obtained by interviewing the children about their school, friends and homes and by making recordings in the playground using radio microphones. 12. FINDINGS The children on average 'front' their vowels considerably more than the adults, suggesting that the fronted vowel is likely to be a characteristic of the new Milton Keynes dialect. In girls, the oldest girls have the greatest degree of fronting, with the younger ones having scores similar to those of the caregivers. This suggests that the younger ones have similar accents to their caregivers whereas older ones have moved away. The speech of older children (around the age of 12) quite closely represents the characteristics of the new 'speech community' which is developing in Milton Keynes 13. TOWER HAMLETS In her Tower Hamlets study Fox showed that it wasnt only JC that was influencing MLE, but also other cultures depending on the main cultural community in the area. In Tower Hamlets this was mainly the influence of the Bangladeshi community (35% of the community). 14. PROFESSOR DAVID CRYSTAL "Over the last 50 years or so we have seen an increasing cultural diversification across the country. Accents are a reflection of society and as society changes so accents change. "We need to look for accent change where society is evolving and this means that we are seeing far more urban accents in places such as Liverpool and Cardiff than ever before. For example, in Liverpool as well as the traditional Scouse accent you will hear distinct Caribbean-Scouse, African-Scouse as well as Indian-Scouse accents. In Cardiff I've heard a number of accent mixes that weren't previously heard before such as Cardiff-Arabic and Cardiff-Hindi. This pattern is repeating itself in many urban communities across the UK, people are especially keen to develop a strong sense of local identity." 15. MICK ORD Mick Ord, BBC Voices Project Director adds: "The only language that doesn't change is a dead language. English language is changing all the time and no more so than today with new influences and young people of many ethnic backgrounds mixing together in our inner cities. It is fascinating to discover how much the 'Tower Hamlets effect' is happening in other parts of the UK."