I. Theoretical part. The specific features of British based pronunciation standards 5
1.1 Standard British pronunciation. 5
1.2 Received Pronunciation Standard. 5
1.3 Usage and status of standard British English pronunciation. 9
1.4 Some recent developments in standard British English pronunciation. 10
II. Experimental part. Analysis of the British based pronunciational standard and its variants 14
2.1 Phonological system analysis of standard British pronunciation. 14
2.2 Historical variation of Received Pronounciation. 18
2.3 Phonemic-systemic innovations of based pronounciation (in progress) 20
I. Theoretical part. The specific features of British based pronunciation standards
... Even at a time when English linguistics was not variationist oriented, Daniel Jones was far from maintaining that what he first called PSP (EPD 1), later RP (EPD 3ff), was a monolithic homogeneous accent. His successors on the chair of English phonetics and linguistics at the University of London and authorities at other British institutions have taken a similarly realistic attitude. A.C. Gimson distinguished three main types of RP, Conservative, General and Advanced, reflecting both generation and social differences .
J.C. Wells established a different set of distinctions, neglecting to some extent the chronological aspect and concentrating on social implications: Mainstream RP versus U-RP (beside adding adoptive RP and Near-RP, which need not concern us here). And, more recently, Alan Cruttenden has distinguished the three types of General RP, Refined RP and Regional RP.
The most obvious model for teaching EFL should be Wells’ Mainstream RP, which corresponds to Gimson’s and Cruttenden’s General RP, but includes some of what Gimson called Advanced RP features. Whichever classification of RP variability we use, it seems clear that what appears to be synchronic variation at a given time has in fact often diachronic aspects, in as much as it reflects age-graded usage differences.
When investigating some of the changes within modern RP of the last two generations or so, we cannot but recognize that some speech habits once typical of younger speakers have now become typical of Mainstream RP, while other, so-called conservative, forms have become obsolete or are on the verge of becoming so.
... "Long" and "short" are relative to each other. Because of phonological process affecting vowel length, short vowels in one context can be longer than long vowels in another context. For example, a long vowel followed by a fortis consonant sound (/p/, /k/, /s/, etc.) is shorter; reed is thus pronounced [ɹid̥] while heat is [hiʔt] (see a CD-appendix).
Conversely, the short vowel /æ/ becomes longer if it is followed by a lenis consonant. Thus, bat is pronounced [b̥æʔt] and bad is [b̥æd̥]. In natural speech, the plosives /t/ and /d/ may be unreleased utterance-finally, thus distinction between these words would rest mostly on vowel length.
In addition to such length distinctions, unstressed vowels are both shorter and more centralised than stressed ones. In unstressed syllables occurring before vowels and in final position, contrasts between long and short high vowels are neutralised and short [i] and [u] occur (e.g. happy [hæpi], throughout [θɹuaʊʔt]). The neutralisation is common throughout many English dialects, though the phonetic realisation of e.g. [i] rather than [ɪ] (a phenomenon called happy tensing) is not as universal (see pic.1.) (see a CD-appendix). ...
1. Abercrombie, David (1956). Problems and Principles: Studies in the Teaching of English as a Second Language. London: Longmans, Green and Co.
2. Coggle, P. (1993). Do You Speak Estuary? The new Standard English. London
3. Cruttenden, A. (2001) (Rev.). Gimson’s Pronunciation of English. ...