Adrianslont wrote:Random Review wrote:Adrianslont wrote:Atinkoriko wrote:I find it deeply ironic that the same people who point at RP as being a symbol of linguistic prejudice also do their very best to discriminate against RP speakers.
A very good example of this is the fiasco that George Osbourne found himself in when he tried to sound less RP in an effort to build rapport with the workers at a Morrison's store to whom he was giving a speech. Of course, he was soundly mocked for his efforts. I have no doubts at all that if he had stood there and given the speech in his characteristic RP accent, he'd still have been mocked for alienating them with his accent.
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.
Article here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politic ... -work.html
On the other hand, the same people come together to vote the Birmingham (Brummie) accent as the least intelligent sounding in the UK, an accent 'worse than staying silent'. I can't help but imagine what these people want the ESL crowd to do, risk learning a regional accent that still carries a lot of baggage or risk learning a more neutral non regional based accent in the form of RP which still guarantees some form of negativity.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstop ... shows.html
Interestingly, a friend of mine from the non-posh side of the tracks in Bath, Somerset got his first teaching job in Birmingham and the kids mocked him mercilessly for his hick accent. He deliberately lost it quickly. So even the supposed bottom of the pecking order sees someone else as lower.
What do people expect of immigrants? I think they expect them to eventually sound something like locals/their peers but also expect them to retain much of their foreign accent. So an Indian with a Brummie accent is going to do fine in Birmingham.
And maybe beyond Birmingham - I just remembered I have a friend of a friend who is a Brummie Indian who moved to London and is now the leader in his field in the U.K. And he has a Brummie accent. So there is hope even in class ridden Britain.
That bit in bold isn't quite correct mate. It's not what is happening. To use RP in a working class context comes across as making a claim to some kind of class privilege (knowledge, access, whatever). It comes across that way because it is routinely used in exactly this way in British society (thank God less than it once was) and it is unfortunate that it comes across this way even with people like your friend who in no way intend it that way. People will react to that in ways that range from grudging acquiescence through mockery to (in extreme cases) violence depending on the exact context and the options they have available.
Hi Random Review. I think you have misunderstood/misread what I meant by the bit in bold/anecdote about my mate. That may be my fault, I could have been more explicit. Or I may have got something wrong and am still getting it wrong! Anyway, I'll give it another go:
My mate didn't have or use an RP accent when he started teaching in Birmingham - he had a West Country accent i.e. he sounded like a pirate or farmer and pronounced his home town as "Bath" not "Barth"(excuse lack of IPA). In short he spoke with a stigmatised accent. I just thought it was notable that Brummie was stigmatised as "the least intelligent sounding in the UK" and yet here were these Brummie working class kids (supposedly bottom of the pecking order) mocking my mate's accent (which they saw as lower in the pecking order).
As to everything else you said, I understand and agree with completely. Although I live in Australia I am originally from England, "oop north" to be vaguely exact and I had a Manc accent until I was a teenager - and I think I basically understand about accent, society and politics in the UK. It's nice living in Australia where this isn't as big an issue - accent doesn't so closely reflect class, education and rural/urban background as it does in the UK (though it is still sometimes an issue).
Nope, I read your post again and it was my fault. You were very clear and I only saw what I expected to see instead of reading more carefully. Thank you for dealing with that so skilfully and politely.