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Received Pronunciation(RP). Introduction. Received Pronunciation (RP) is the standard accent of Standard English in Great Britain, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms .

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Received Pronunciation (RP) is the standard accent of Standard English in Great Britain, with a relationship to regional accents similar to the relationship in other European languages between their standard varieties and their regional forms.

RP is defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as "the standard accent of English as spoken in the south of England", although some have argued that it can be heard from native speakers throughout England and Wales.


Although there is nothing intrinsic about RP that marks it as superior to any other variety, sociolinguistic factors have given Received Pronunciation particular prestige in parts of Britain.

It has thus been the accent of those with power, money and influence since the early to mid 20th century, though it has more recently been criticised as a symbol of undeserved privilege.


However, since the 1960s, a greater permissiveness towards allowing regional English varieties has taken hold in education[7]and the media in Britain; in some contexts conservative RP is now perceived negatively.

It is important not to confuse the notion of Received Pronunciation, as a standard accent, with the standard variety of the English language used in England that is given names such as "Standard English", "the Queen\'s English", "Oxford English" or "BBC English". 


The study of RP is concerned exclusively with pronunciation, while study of the standard language is also concerned with matters such as grammar, vocabulary and style.


The introduction of the term Received Pronunciation is usually credited to Daniel Jones (a London-born British phonetician ).

In the first edition of the English Pronouncing Dictionary (1917) he named the accent "Public School Pronunciation", but for the second edition in 1926 he wrote "In what follows I call it Received Pronunciation (abbreviation RP), for want of a better term."


However, the expression had actually been used much earlier by Alexander Ellis in 1869 and Peter DuPonceau in 1818 (the term used by Henry C. K. Wyld in 1927 was "received standard“).

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".


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.

RP is an accent (a form of pronunciation) and a register, rather than a dialect (a form of vocabulary and grammar as well as pronunciation).


It may show a great deal about the social and educational background of a person who uses English.

RP is often believed to be based on the Southern accents of England, but it actually has most in common with the Early Modern English dialects of the East Midlands.

 This was the most populated and most prosperous area of England during the 14th and 15th centuries.


By the end of the 15th century, "Standard English" was established in the City of London.

A mixture of London speech with elements from East Midlands, Middlesex and Essex, became known as Received Pronunciation.

comparison with other varieties of english
Comparison with other varieties of English

Like most other varieties of English outside Northern England, RP has undergone the foot–strut split: pairs like put/putt are pronounced differently.

RP is a non-rhotic accent, so /r/ does not occur unless followed immediately by a vowel. Pairs such as father/farther, pawn/porn, caught/court and formally/formerly are homophones.

RP has undergone the wine–whine merger so the sequence /hw/ is not present except among those who have acquired this distinction as the result of speech training.TheRoyal Academy of Dramatic Art, based in London, still teaches these two sounds as distinct phonemes. They are also distinct from one another in most of Scotland and Ireland, in the northeast of England, and in the southeastern United States.

Unlike many other varieties of English language in England, there is no h-dropping in words like head or horse.[69]

Unlike most Southern Hemisphere English accents, RP has not undergone the weak-vowel merger, meaning that pairs such as Lenin/Lennon are distinct.

Unlike most North American accents of English, RP has not undergone the Mary–marry–merry, nearer–mirror, or hurry–furry mergers: all these words are distinct from each other.


Unlike many North American accents, RP has not undergone the father-bother or cot–caught mergers.

RP does not have yod-dropping after /n/, /t/, /d/, /z/ and /θ/ and has only variable yod-dropping after /s/ and /l/. Hence, for example, new, tune, dune, resume and enthusiasm are pronounced /njuː/, /tjuːn/, /djuːn/, /rɪˈzjuːm/ and /ɪnˈθjuːziæzm/ rather than /nuː/, /tuːn/, /duːn/, /rɪˈzuːm/ and /ɪnˈθuːziæzm/. This contrasts with many East Anglian and East Midland varieties of English language in England and with many forms of American English, including General American. In words such as pursuit and evolution, both pronunciations (with and without /j/) are heard in RP. There are, however, several words where a yod has been lost with the passage of time: for example, the word suit originally had a yod in RP but this is now extremely rare.

The flapped variant of /t/ and /d/ (as in much of the West Country, Ulster, most North American varieties including General American, and the Cape Coloured dialect of South Africa) is not used very often. In traditional RP [ɾ] is an allophone of /r/ (used only intervocalically).