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Is it embarrassing to be posh?

Host_Ryan - One Show team | 14:03 UK time, Monday, 24 November 2008

It was revealed last week that Shadow Chancellor George Osborne has had voice-coaching lessons. It's been claimed that in the past year his voice has dropped in tone and his speaking style sounds less posh. It's also been noted that David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary may also have had voice-coaching lessons - apparently he's been dropping Ts from the ends of words etc - if true it would make him sound less grand.

For The One Show Gyles Brandreth has been investigating why people from different parts of the UK are sounding more and more like each other as their local accents and dialects die out with geographical and social mobility - a phenomenon that was nailed down more than a decade ago under the name 'dialect levelling'.

So what do you think, is it embarrassing to be posh? Or is a regional accent more of a hindrance?


  • 1. At 7:14pm on 24 Nov 2008, Rich wrote:

    Embarrassing having a posh, why of course not. Gary Barlow should know that the Americans love it. And he also knows that one needs to be somewhat of a chameleon in order to get on, please all of the people all of the time and generally have fun. Do your scottish, your yank, your barrow boy and yes your posh. Long live the brandreth's.

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  • 2. At 7:15pm on 24 Nov 2008, duncancarolyn wrote:

    I like posh - it's good to hear English spoken properly! I also like Gyles speaking English properly - perhaps I'm old fashioned too!


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  • 3. At 7:15pm on 24 Nov 2008, Rich wrote:

    Embarrassing having a posh, why of course not. Gary Barlow should know that the Americans love it. And he also knows that one needs to be somewhat of a chameleon in order to get on, please all of the people all of the time and generally have fun. Do your scottish, your yank, your barrow boy and yes your posh. Long live the brandreth's.

    Richard in Kenley.

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  • 4. At 7:16pm on 24 Nov 2008, trougher13 wrote:

    I think it would be a terrible shame to criticise any accent, providing that people can understand what you are saying. Disliking a posh accent is a form of inverted snobbery, and I thought we were trying to eliminate all forms of prejudice these days.

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  • 5. At 7:17pm on 24 Nov 2008, Belfiebird wrote:

    Yes - it is embarrasssing having a posh accent - especially a Surrey accent - when those who hear it assume snobbishness goes hand-in-hand with the accent!

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  • 6. At 7:17pm on 24 Nov 2008, shane_ wrote:

    absolutley not , the kids coming out of the schools are unemployable until they've shaken their ridiculous rolling on the street banter ..innit

    it is due to fear they assimulate scum in order to be the grey man

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  • 7. At 7:20pm on 24 Nov 2008, cherrieg wrote:

    I went to private school and I used to watch people freezing as I talked to them. It took me years to loose my "posh" accent.

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  • 8. At 7:21pm on 24 Nov 2008, viki wrote:

    i come from northamptonshire , when meeting new people sotherners think i talk like a farmer and norhterners think i speak posh i really don't know which is worse

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  • 9. At 7:21pm on 24 Nov 2008, redrob93 wrote:

    I am a 15 year old posh boy from runcorn, I am into typical things Games, Films, Football although all of this is true I have to put up with people saying my name in a posh accent. I wish I wasn't posh and always will but that's life if I wasn't posh then I wouldn't be me, I stand tall to my poshness.

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  • 10. At 7:21pm on 24 Nov 2008, J-dubya wrote:

    Keep your booms and diverse vocabulary, Gyles! You're a dying breed! It's such a shame that people seem to be judged so easily on the basis of their accent or for sounding posh :(


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  • 11. At 7:21pm on 24 Nov 2008, ryan_stiles wrote:

    I'm from the West Midlands so I have a brilliant accent.

    I love my accent and I think that posh accents make people sound more arrogant, regardless of their actual character, and in that respect it is a negative thing. It's also wrong to say that speaking posh is speaking properly as the English language was developed out of dialects, that's the source of most languages so diversity is really good.

    p.s. I have a signed photo of Adrian Chiles because I am cool.

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  • 12. At 7:23pm on 24 Nov 2008, jamesyates wrote:

    I personally think Gyles's accent and voice are captivating and certainly encourage me to listen. The dumbing down of society in this country really is becoming a joke, as we now appear to live in a country of badly educated people, that can only have a conversation with people that, like themselves, cannot speak properly. I am 33, and wouldn't say that I was posh, but I am proud to speak properly, and I always receive positive feedback about the way I come across! At the end of the day, English is an incredibly diverse language, and I would rather listen to someone who speaks properly. So, in conclusion Gyles, please continue speaking with your booming, clear voice, because it is a joy to listen to.

    James Yates
    Littlehampton, West Sussex

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  • 13. At 7:24pm on 24 Nov 2008, contemplativejoanna wrote:

    I think Gyles has a lovely way of speaking English and i am pleased to know people still speak it the way it should be spoken, it is what makes us what we are, good ole British.

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  • 14. At 7:24pm on 24 Nov 2008, Rachisweet wrote:

    I'm 17 years old, and at the tender age of 8 I was labelled 'posh' - simply because I pronounced every letter. I didn't miss out the 't' in the middle of water, or say 'innit' instead of 'isn't it'. At first I attempted to lose the 'posh' sound of my accent, but now I know that when people label you as 'posh', they just don't have any other insult to throw at you. I'm proud of my accent - I'm not posh, I'm just intelligent.

    And I didn't think it was possible, but his Scottish accent makes John Barrowman even sexier!

    Rachel, Crewe

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  • 15. At 7:25pm on 24 Nov 2008, GentleOfelia wrote:

    I have recently been criticised by my Dad that after having been at university for 3 years I have lost my Cumbrian accent in exchange for a "posh southern" one...despite being at university in Leeds.

    I myself, can also see the change, despite never having a particulary strong Cumbria accent in the first place, but find I do not wish to shake off my "new" form of speech as I believe a "posh" or "proper" way of speaking is nothing to be ashamed of.

    But I also understand my Dads concerns, that I will forget HIS working class roots and turn into someone that will judge his old class as harshly as he judges the middle class that I find I have been born into.

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  • 16. At 7:26pm on 24 Nov 2008, akeeley wrote:

    I am not posh but wish I was. I really think that being well-spoken would improve my job prospects. Perhaps Gyles would like to give me a 'My Fair Lady' lesson!

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  • 17. At 7:26pm on 24 Nov 2008, Nonnaflorence wrote:

    Sounding posh does not mean being snooty. It's a real treat to hear Gyles Brandreth's cut glass accent. I'm sick of dropped t's and aitches and sloppy speech. Many broadcasters and performers seem to revel in sounding as course and ignorant as they can. Don't change, Gyles. You're a breath of fresh air.

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  • 18. At 7:26pm on 24 Nov 2008, brightnewshound wrote:

    Why be so negative towards decently spoken English....do we all have to sound like we come from Romford? (Apologies to Romford!).

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  • 19. At 7:26pm on 24 Nov 2008, chris_robertson wrote:

    I think a posh accent is seen as aloof, but it probably depends on what part of the country you are in! With regards to politicians, a lot of people feel they are out of touch as it is, so add onto that an accent that may be perceived as belonging to an "elite" part of society, and it may go some way to explaining why many people feel politics has no bearing to their lives, even though, obviously, it's the complete opposite. No-one should be judged on their accent, but unfortunately we live in a world where judgements are made on the smallest things, and accents are so easy to pick on.

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  • 20. At 7:30pm on 24 Nov 2008, Katgi08 wrote:

    I think it's dreadfull that anyone that speaks without an accent is deemed to be posh and therefore a bad person. Not only is that wrong and insulting but it's the worst form of inverted snobbery. I remember a line from the Inspector Linley Mysteries "Your'e quite nice for a posh bloke" which sums up the general attitude that pervades the UK. No one should have to appologise for the way they speak, where they come from, or who they are.

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  • 21. At 7:31pm on 24 Nov 2008, Nonnaflorence wrote:

    To comment 7: "loose" means not tight. I think you meant "lose"

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  • 22. At 7:31pm on 24 Nov 2008, AsGranny wrote:

    I really like the variety of accents we have in this country. As an RP speaker I have found it quite a disadvantage - people think you're "posh". I have had comments like "I thought you was posh, but you're really nice" and "You sound like that John McCririck off the telly"! I'm hopeless at other accents anyway, and in any case I think it would be patronising to try and take on different accents. After all, we should be judged by what we say, not how we sound.

    And keep it up Gyles, I could listen to you forever!

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  • 23. At 7:32pm on 24 Nov 2008, Bill Raison wrote:

    I sincerely regret the passing of 'BBC English'. Those whose diction is as precise as Gyle's can be understood by any English speaker, anywhere. I live in Cornwall, though born and bred in W. London, and some local expressions and accents are difficult to understand. It is not a question of being posh or not but is an extension of inverse snobbery.

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  • 24. At 7:32pm on 24 Nov 2008, oohaln wrote:

    Certainly not ! Even as a Scot I appreciate the correct use of the language and it seems an unfortunate part of life these days that speaking correctly is considered posh.

    If regional dialects become the way forward, in another century we'll be back to grunting like cavemen!

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  • 25. At 7:33pm on 24 Nov 2008, Poshsuzie wrote:

    I have great difficulty in understanding some of the people I work with because although they are supposed to be British they don't seem to be speaking English! I have to bite my tongue to stop myself from correcting their grammar. I speak with an International English accent (Irish/South African/Canadian influences) but most people think it's just posh! It hasn't hurt my career, infact, it has probably helped as it lends me an air of authority which has been very useful at times!!

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  • 26. At 7:34pm on 24 Nov 2008, enjayes wrote:

    Posh accents; no problem. Regional accents, no problem. My biggest gripe is the way our beautiful language has been 'degraded' by sloppy talk and especially a poor command of written English! Shane is right, some kids, but certainly not all, coming out of school, colleges and university are unemployable due to a lack of even a basic command of spoken and written English.

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  • 27. At 7:37pm on 24 Nov 2008, Paulinehythe wrote:

    We should be proud of our language and speak properly as it makes understanding easier. Brandreth has nothing to fear. Plenty of people will champion his cause. As for lots of the blogs, perhaps spelling lessons may help too! Falling standards are to blame for the many of the problems we have in our society. Long live "Posh." We were once asked to change the way we speak because a third party didn't like it. Sorry, we are what we are. We don't ask or expect other people to change. Whatever happened to diversity?

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  • 28. At 7:40pm on 24 Nov 2008, sam20mitch wrote:

    i would rather have a posh accent then this scouse one, coz at least then peple outside of liverpool would be able to understand me. and not check if there pokets are shut before i walk away

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  • 29. At 7:40pm on 24 Nov 2008, ecofan wrote:

    I used to be embarrassed by what was considered a 'posh' accent where I grew up in a council estate on the northern fringes of Liverpool. It only dawned on me years later that it was the ecolcution lessons (that were part of the curriculum at the Catholic boys grammer school that I attended from 1960 to completion of 'A' levels) that played a large role in this.

    I read much later in life that one of the aims of the Irish Christian Brothers was to expand the Catholic middle-classes in Britain, so elocution was used as a weapon in that campaign.

    They did not quite succed with me, I may well be middle-class and talk with only a trace of a scouse accent, but they did beat all thoughts of Catholicism out of me!

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  • 30. At 7:40pm on 24 Nov 2008, EyesOfTopaz wrote:

    I'm almost seventeen years of age, and I am proud to say that I have what's known as a 'posh' accent. I see it as no hindrance whatsoever, but rather, a positive thing. My Mum has always encouraged me to speak well, not 'dropping' any letters whilst speaking and pronouncing words properly. I like to think that this is a good thing, as it has made me explore and appreciate the beauty of the English language to a strong degree. Taking pride in your language and speaking it well is not something to be ashamed of!
    At the same time, I do not look at anyone any differently if they do not speak in the same way as me, or, shall I say, not as 'posh'. As long as the words you are trying to say are communicated successfully, the sounds they make when they come out of your mouth shouldn't really matter.

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  • 31. At 7:40pm on 24 Nov 2008, ClaireofPotton wrote:

    I think it is nice to hear people speak without an accent. There are plenty of accents to go around so why judge somebody who speaks differently to you - it is only perceived that to speak nicely is a class thing - thats rubbish (in my opinion!!)

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  • 32. At 7:43pm on 24 Nov 2008, leoTruffle wrote:

    I think it is sad that people feel they have to change their accents as it may offend others by the way they speak and sound. Surely one should see past that and it is more important what they are saying and the sincerity of their message. I feel very lucky that I was privileged enough to be sent to a public school and am well spoken. I am sick and tired of feeling that I need to apologise for it and others taking offence by it.

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  • 33. At 7:43pm on 24 Nov 2008, DaughterofLir wrote:

    Voices that sound strangled and forced make me feel uncomfortable, but that's not about accent. If you speak clearly with good breath control, don't clench your jaw or squeak, your voice will sound great, whatever your accent.

    Gyles, I love your voice; what a difference there is between 'boom' and 'bray'! You project to be heard, because you want to communicate with an audience. The 'hooray bray' is intended to drown others out. Have the confidence to stay who you are.

    I can't imagine Kirsty Allsop taking lessons to talk less 'posh' ,as being posh and sexy is part of her image. Gyles, your voice is part of your attractiveness too, so keep that small plum in your mouth, we love it!

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  • 34. At 7:43pm on 24 Nov 2008, Miss-Husard wrote:

    I enjoy listening to Gyles Brandreth's correct use of the English language and agree with the comments from one of your contributers. It is lazy to deliberately drop "h's" and squeeze "t's". I am proud of being able to pronounce the Queen's English as it should hopefully be spoken. On a purely personal note even though I can occasionally sound like a "bigoted old bat" it has earned respect from some quite unlikely sources!
    I always enjoy the One Show and would like to wish Christine the best of luck and I hope she and Matthew are in SCD for many more weeks.

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  • 35. At 7:46pm on 24 Nov 2008, Terribram wrote:

    It is quite stupid to say that one talks posh, what is meant by the term posh? does it mean that listeners can understand what is being said? Unlike for example Christine Bleakley, I cannot understand a word she says, why do BBC producers use people with accents so strong they are impossible to understand by anyone who does not come from the speakers region.
    Presenters on national programmes should speak with an accent that can be understood by anyone that speaks English.

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  • 36. At 7:46pm on 24 Nov 2008, lordtup wrote:

    What absolute codswallop !The whole point of having a clear and precise diction is to instill authority.Imagine having to tell someone three times in order to get them to understand what one is speaking about.Once again it amounts to a dumbing down of standards to the detriment of the country as a whole

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  • 37. At 7:46pm on 24 Nov 2008, jonathanscovell wrote:

    Be proud of speaking correctly - I live in Portsmouth where some people have such appalling diction they sound as if they are speaking in a foreign language.

    In this town 'Going Out' becomes 'Gar neet' - 'Downtown' becomes 'Deenteen' and i am regularly addrssed as mate or mater. This is nothing to be proud of and I am sad to see that such speech has beecome the norm.

    I am pround of using the letter 'H' when speaking and am happy to pepper my speach with occasional use of 'ghastly' or 'shocking' - Giles....do not change your accent for a second and neither will I!


    Jonathan Scovell

    PS: Really loved your Oscar Wilde books!

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  • 38. At 7:48pm on 24 Nov 2008, Deepjungleman wrote:

    What is the feeling behind calling anyone posh? Having travelled all over the world the one thing of greatest importance in communicating has been respecting everyone at the outset. The second most valuable thing is to smile. I have followed both with the greatest care. Only here in my mother country have comments been made about how I speak rather than what I say or how I am behaving. Sadly, the situation gets worse and worse -dumbing down -with care and share laughed at. Is it fear behind calling anyone posh? I have always managed to make myself understood, which I believe is what verbal communication is for! Try communicating with people, posh or not, who cannot speak. We all depend on each other. Stop the slide to blissful ignorance.

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  • 39. At 7:50pm on 24 Nov 2008, dianauni wrote:

    I LOVE listening to Giles - his voice is what makes him unique [and his sense of fun] so, please don't even THINK of changing! On the other hand Brian Blessed is TOO booming so he could do with toning it down a bit. Different regional accents are fine as long as they can be understood by all. I was disappointed when watching Duncan Ballantyne telling his story as an entrepreneur as I could not understand much of what he said. Speaking "posh" is fine by me and I cannot see why anyone should dumb down. Perhaps they might need to moderate their voice a bit i.e. Margaret Thatcher took voice lessons to lower her register which was good as her voice was rather high pitched. Too many people today speak badly, dropping letters, aspirating h's and are grammatically incorrect to an astonishing level. It makes one wonder what on earth they do throughout at least 11 years of education. I think everyone should be taught elocution at school whatever their regional accent. I don't care if people think that view is old-fashioned - I love our language and it upsets me to hear it being murdered. So carry on regardless Giles and everyone else who has a posh accent. And whilst I'm at it, swearing should be made a punishable offence if done in public!!!! There is never an excuse for it - there is always another suitable word to use - just shows how poor a vocabulary many people possess.

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  • 40. At 7:50pm on 24 Nov 2008, davidhamish52 wrote:

    Not posh, but correct!
    How about getting the grammar in the site correct - not "comprised of"...

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  • 41. At 7:53pm on 24 Nov 2008, Sauna-Nut wrote:

    I think that talking posh is just pushing national, racial, imperial and cultural superiority.
    Once it becomes a way of life, the talker may no longer be aware that he is doing it.
    Nevertheless, posh talk is a hypocritical joke, trying to assert one's own superiority.
    My opinion is: If one can prove his own immortality, then I'll be far more convinced of his superiority. Until then, one should talk like everybody else.

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  • 42. At 7:54pm on 24 Nov 2008, Michael Lee wrote:

    I change my accent and language depending on the people I am speaking to and their level fluency in the language. I speak English to my dad and Cantonese with my mum even though they are both fluent in both languages.

    I speak with a slight Scottish accent when I am speaking to people in Scotland. I speak with an American accent when I speak to foreign people in Hong Kong and I speak Cantonese (a form of Chinese usually spoken in the southern parts of China) with the local people in HK. I used to speak "posh" English when I was young but I have now lost it after spending a part of my life in Hong Kong.

    I don't think speaking with an accent is embarrassing or a hindrance at all. To me, I think people feel more comfortable when you speak in a way that is very native to them. From my experience people tend to get along better right from the start.

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  • 43. At 7:54pm on 24 Nov 2008, sweetFairyEllen wrote:

    I come from Birmingham which everyone takes the micky out of our accent as we know, but I must say I love Giles and I love people talking "nice" not too posh.
    With all the swearing that is about and people not using our English language which is a Wonderful thing to use, we should all make the effort to speak better.

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  • 44. At 7:54pm on 24 Nov 2008, baggydraws wrote:

    I didn't realise until I went to secondary school that I would have the'mikey' taken because of the way I spoke. I thought that everyone spoke the same and I did go the throught the whole of my secondary school education with people making fun of the way I spoke. Having spent the last 30 years with my husband who doesn't speak the same as me I've found that I have become quite lazy which I don't like at all. I like the way you speak Gyles and you shouldn't change it for anyone except yourself and even then it would be a real shame. You stay as you are, thats how we love you and i'm sure you don't offend anyone really. No one should change the way the speak unless you want to, thats what is so good about this country we are made up of loads of different and diverse way os speaking and that's how we should stay. Helen, St Austell, Cornwall

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  • 45. At 8:00pm on 24 Nov 2008, MacSid wrote:

    It's a very, very sad state of affairs to hear that what my parents referred to as "speaking properly" is considered "posh" and distant from the people. It's not posh, it's the basic, accentless clarity that is the gold-standard of the spoken English Language.

    Britian should be proud of its regional diversity in accents, and yet, it should be no less so of received pronunciation - remember that the English Language has, in a way, always been Britian's Number One export to the world at large. Think about it...

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  • 46. At 8:01pm on 24 Nov 2008, tiggerificpurple wrote:

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with speaking correctly and fluently, and if certain people equate that with 'posh', that is certainly their choice to do so. However, to me it's more about having the self confidence to be an individual and how one speaks is part of that individuality, regardless of accent. Be proud of who you are.
    I hope Gyles never changes and certainly never tries to tone down his accent, as he did on tonights show - he sounded dreadful.
    He is who he is, complete with accent.

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  • 47. At 8:03pm on 24 Nov 2008, dianeofaberdeen wrote:

    i think gyles' accent is lovely - dont try to change it!

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  • 48. At 8:03pm on 24 Nov 2008, DaughterofLir wrote:

    Got to take issue with Sauna-Nut!

    "Once [talking posh] becomes a way of life, the talker may no longer be aware that he is doing it... one should talk like everybody else. "

    So - considering that the accent I was brought up with is, indeed, part of my way of life unless I consciously choose to change it, who's going to decide which particular 'acceptable' regional accent I should adopt? I obviously can't talk like "everyone else" because everyone else speaks with hundreds of accents!

    Like most people my accent and idiom has changed throughout my life and will continue to do so. I've dropped the 'Thames whine' I picked up at school to disguise my posh accent, and I am confortable with how I speak. Foreigners tell me I have a lovely voice - they aren't accent snobs.

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  • 49. At 8:07pm on 24 Nov 2008, poshspeaker wrote:

    I first learned the hard way that accents (or dialects) do matter in the UK when I passed the 11+ and gained a scholarship to a minor public school. By Christmas I was quite fluent in 'posh' speak but then I went home to Cockney mother. Here I learned that it was not good to use 'posh' speak everywhere and I adopted a two-toned approach for the rest of my schooldays.
    Since then I have 'posh' speak to be useful during interviews and when associating with certain individuals. However, I have also lived in Canada and Australia where I have found a more balanced attitude on the part of my listeners. These days I don't really care what other people think of my speech but I hate to see people using a particular way of speaking just to impress (or even to 'unimpress'.

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  • 50. At 8:08pm on 24 Nov 2008, miss_disorientated wrote:

    I'm from Lancashire, and have quite a 'northern accent' so to speak. My accent is often seen as 'common' or representative of the lower working class. The latter I do not mind, after all I do come from a working class family, however it is the connotations associated with 'sounding common' that frustrate me. Some people seem to think that people with a strong northern accent are less intelligent and less trustworthy than individuals with a 'posher accent'.

    In contrast those with a posher 'upper class' accent can be tarred with names such as 'snob' and 'toff', however sometimes a 'well spoken' accent can also improve job prospects and such!

    However I personally have no issues with accent, as long as what you say is understandable - why should it be a problem?
    Accents add to Individuality... it would be quite boring if we all sounded the same!

    As for Gyles, I like your posh-ness!

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  • 51. At 8:09pm on 24 Nov 2008, emmablog wrote:

    I agree with ther other people that think that Giles has a lovely acccent.
    People used to think I had a posh accent but it was more the fact that I pronounce all my consonants rather than RP.
    It would be a shame to lose RP speakers in this country. Long may "posh" accents continue!

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  • 52. At 8:10pm on 24 Nov 2008, RufusSussex wrote:

    People who sneer at those of us with 'posh' accents are simply jealous! Take no notice of them, carry on speaking properly and be proud of yourself.

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  • 53. At 8:14pm on 24 Nov 2008, jollynewbie wrote:

    One of the things I love about The One Show is listening to Gyles speak. Do not change one thing Gyles - we love your accent and there is nothing wrong with speaking correctly. Bring back 'proper' English :)

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  • 54. At 8:18pm on 24 Nov 2008, Sauna-Nut wrote:

    And oh, by the way, I do believe in speaking proper English without degrading our language. For example: Water, not wo'ah, Isn't it, not innit, Going to, not gonna, a "word" that has appeared in some modern Christian songs.
    There is a real difference between using good English words and pretending one's superiority by talking Surrey posh.

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  • 55. At 8:32pm on 24 Nov 2008, MK-cow wrote:

    The word 'Posh' reputedly relates to cabin arrangements of seaward travellers with lots of money. Apparently, they would leave dock with a cabin on the left hand side of the ship, and return with a cabin on the right hand side. Their luggage was marked 'P.O.S.H', meaning 'Port out, starboard home'. Posh therefore relates to wealth. Not all of us can be wealthy, but we can all at least communicate effectively.

    Having been born in Milton Keynes, an overspill town, I don't have an accent; I have at least three fighting for dominance! There's the sort of 'mockney' accent that one finds in people whose parents left London, and a type of 'northern' one reflecting many friends and influences from the North. Added to that is the local Buckinhamshire accent. The resultant mish-mash sometimes resembles something like Emmerdale set in Eastenders, where all the characters are addressed as 'Me Duck!'

    I love the diversity afforded by regional accents; generally the further North they come from, the better I like them. I could listen to Sean Connery or Gyles Brandreth reciting a phone book. It's not 'POSH' to enunciate words correctly. Correct diction merely shows that one has taken care with the language. Gyles has always spoken with the same, very BBC accent (I remember 'Puzzle Party' on ITV!) and it is deplorable that anyone should be criticised for the way in which they speak.

    It's not 'POSH' to be intelligent, either. I know many folk who are intelligent and articulate, who have and have not been to university. I know some people with more money than sense.

    I really do agree with the many bloggers on this forum who believe that the decline in the standard of spoken English is more at fault than those who continue to speak properly. More worrying is the decline in written English. We have a beautiful language, of which we should be proud. In today's world, we should celebrate diversity, but also remember that we live in a world where communication is key to everything we do.

    Without standards, and those who follow them, we are lost. Gyles, we look to you as a metaphorical yardstick as the saviour of spoken English. Boom away, old chap!

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  • 56. At 8:36pm on 24 Nov 2008, The_Frando_Bagel wrote:

    I grew up in Hampshire thus I have the accent, my parents moved up to Nottinghamshire due to work and being 8 I had no real choice but to go with them. Upon my first day of primary school in my new village I was bullied from day one for having a 'talking posh'.

    Even at secondary school I was reguarly asked 'grass' 'glasses' 'castle' etc. so that I could be teased. It was terrible, but by the end of it I've grown attached to it.

    If people are going to judge me on my speech then I don't think I'd like to know them! Why should I have to adapt myself (when there is nothing wrong with me) so that the masses will accept me?

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  • 57. At 8:37pm on 24 Nov 2008, blue-eyedbomber wrote:

    Loved the piece on being posh. I was born in late 50s and dragged up in the 60s in Leicester, I moved to Suffolk in 68 with my parents where after a few years a local chap who had an interest in dialects asked me to give talks using my woolyback tongue, such gems as Little Red Riding Hood from the Leicester Mercury of many moons ago. Great fun as Dad had a very good education and had a wonderful turn of phrase and a superb spoken voice. Now after working abroad for 15 years and back in Leicestershire after 40 years at the cross point of Nottingham, Derby, Leicester and Staffordshire, my woolyback has gone, all around me have a twang and I am deemed as posh. If only they all knew.
    Terry from Ashby De La Zouch.

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  • 58. At 8:41pm on 24 Nov 2008, blue-eyedbomber wrote:

    To Frando Bagel, I know that so well, I nearly got kicked out of school for stating the time in the leicester accent. The time was 14:30 and I said haff passt two. Whoa the teachers lost the plot, put me in detention and told my parents.
    Terry from Ashby

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  • 59. At 8:47pm on 24 Nov 2008, blue-eyedbomber wrote:

    let us not forget that the art of communication involves listening as well as speaking and ensuring what you have to say is being understood. Must admit though I hate people who listen with their mouths and not their ears.

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  • 60. At 8:49pm on 24 Nov 2008, merseydiver wrote:

    Why are people afraid to talk nicely these days? what is wrong with correct enunciation?, there is no greater pleasure that to here the English language being spoken properly. It is a beautiful language, which is the envy of most of the world, everyone wants to speak it, so why not do it properly. We are a nation obsessed with dumbing down everything, and this in part is what is wrong with our nation today, standards have slipped to an all time low, at least lets keep our language without using Americanisms and other short cuts, lets raise the level not lower it. Gyles has a lovely voice, clear ,concise and controlled, please do not change it, it is your signature it makes you unique, and we the nation love you for it!, at least I never have to ask my husband what you have said ,as I sometimes have to whilst watching the television these days. I am only just middle aged so I am not deaf, I just don't understand it when people don't talk properly!

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  • 61. At 8:52pm on 24 Nov 2008, EMMTEEDALE wrote:

    Well spoken, clear annunciation is acceptable everywhere, it is easily understood by everyone. Strong regional accents are much harder to decipher, therefore, some words are lost to the listener who then has to guess what they didn't hear clearly. Slovenly speech is unattractive and not worth listening to.

    Margaret from Hailsham, E. Sussex.

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  • 62. At 9:00pm on 24 Nov 2008, intellectualJennifer wrote:

    I have a Cornish accent - and I love all British accents.
    What I do object to is people being LOUD! - that includes yobs and nobs - nothing much to choose between them when I am in a pub trying to enjoy a peaceful drink and chat with friends.

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  • 63. At 9:10pm on 24 Nov 2008, hitchup wrote:

    For goodness sake! To talk properly means simply that others can understand you. The prejudice is that if you talk 'posh' you are considered to be rich, which means those who accuse people of being posh have no idea and only think materialisticly. It then boils down to jealousy - the 'haves' and the 'have nots', which is completely untrue. Most of those who 'have' have worked hard for 'it' and deserve it. Some though are in the 'jobs for the boys'Mandellson, comes to mind, but there lies another story or another prejudice!

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  • 64. At 9:21pm on 24 Nov 2008, quiltingtrish wrote:

    Speaking posh depends on where and how you were brought up and is difficult to change, and NO I do not find this a bad thing, the English language is a beautiful language and I am afraid it is being shortened and vulgarised, this is nothing to do accents either, pronouncing vowels and saying a whole word is much nicer and understandable for everyone, otherwise we would be all talking text!! which I find really difficult to translate.
    my opinion

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  • 65. At 9:34pm on 24 Nov 2008, deerly wrote:

    My accent according to some people is posh, rather plumy but I can do a more rural accent but it depends who I am chatting too. I was born and brought up in a council house in the very south of England and was taught to speak early and well and I guess it's stayed with me. People assume I went to private school or that I can play the piano but they are wrong, I am just a commoner. But this voice has it's advantages with those wrong assumptions, I've always been able to work well with the upper crust when really I am just the filling beneath.

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  • 66. At 9:36pm on 24 Nov 2008, The_Frando_Bagel wrote:

    To blue-eyedbomber I remember getting told off for being condercending (I'm also dyslexic so please forgive my typos) to a teacher; he was new and didn't know that was how I spoke. He made a big fuss about it saying 'I should respect my elders' etc. until my friend piped up that it was my accent. He took back his comments and apologised.

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  • 67. At 9:54pm on 24 Nov 2008, JackieRbow wrote:

    I am fed up with the lazy speech used nowadays, without properly pronounced words or grammar.

    I love regional dialect and it is possible to maintain a dialect and speak properly. I was once accused of being "toffee nosed" simply because I spoke properly, yet have also been told I have a broad dialect.

    It would seem that "posh" is the word used by people who cannot or will not speak properly!

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  • 68. At 10:14pm on 24 Nov 2008, oldcoalmunch wrote:

    As the third of of 8 children from a poor working class family in from south London, I a have to say that I would rather listen to Gyles Brandreth than say a black country, N.Irish or Glasgow accent but then I am from a generation when we were encouraged to improve rather than "dumb down".


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  • 69. At 10:19pm on 24 Nov 2008, Wooly29 wrote:

    Whatever is wrong with "Queens English"? When it was taught within the education programme, we all understood each other, and spoke the same language. granted, there are dialects within our language, but todays adulteration of English, as used by the younger generation, is just another wedge in the division in todays society.
    It is not a case of sounding "posh" as much as allowing the english language to be torn apart by modern trends.
    The media has donated to this degeneration by allowing its presenters and news readers etc. to replace "W" with "R" in any word where "W" is followed by a vowel. From here, it is a small step to replacing "TH" by "V" ETC.
    I am a Yorkshireman, and proud to be so, and my dialect is quite strong, but I respect and look up to anyone who has full command of the Queens English, and I yearn to listen to the BBC News, read in the traditional manner without paying lip service to the P.C. brigade, and the do gooders who think that the younger generation can become literate without any guidance
    Ian. Isle of Skye

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  • 70. At 10:22pm on 24 Nov 2008, geoanxious wrote:

    With reference to your comments about can you speak to posh, the answer in NO,
    It is considerably better than the language used by the likes of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand, plus a number of chefs, to name a few.

    Youngsters tend to copy their seniors, and surely it must better for their upbringing to hear people talking correctly (even if it is slightly posh) which I am sure all helps in their behaviour later in life.


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  • 71. At 11:14pm on 24 Nov 2008, winkart wrote:

    Bein' posh? i'm right posh, know wot i mean?Posh is cool. wot's the opposite to posh anyway? So long as a person is respectful and polite, who cares about the word 'POSH?' It's all about attitude. fanx.

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  • 72. At 11:52pm on 24 Nov 2008, grumpyant wrote:

    The idea that Gyles Brandreth should change his 'accent' is total nonsense! Speaking is about communicating NOT a fashion statement. Gyles communicates beautifully and, in fact, his voice ('accent') is attractive too. Mumbling, which is what passes for speaking in many, is totally pointless, lazy and an insult to the listener! All power to Gyles and the other intelligent speakers with so-called 'posh' voices who grace our airwaves. Don't dumb this down as well as everything else, Britain might then still remain great!

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  • 73. At 08:35am on 25 Nov 2008, KernowKeith wrote:

    It depends what you call 'posh'. The way the royal family speak is 'posh'! Giles Brandreth has a 'posh' lilt but is very easy to listen to and very clear, which is the way it should be when you are broadcasting. Some people consider good grammar posh which isn't true. I worked with a girl called Natalie who never pronounced the 't' as she thought it was too posh. Dialect is great but when speaking publicly you should speak clearly and concisely. Unfortunately there is little or no consideration given on how to speak the 'Queen's English'. The dropping of 't's at the end of words has become an unfortunate part of grammar these days and I am afraid broadcasters are just as much to blame as anyone else. They should set an example. I would like more Giles Brandreth-type broadcasters. He is a great example of how to speak. More please!!!

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  • 74. At 09:35am on 25 Nov 2008, KernowKeith wrote:

    After I wrote comment 73 I read through all the comments and have found them very interesting. First of all, though, I must apologise for spelling Gyles' name incorrectly!
    It was evident after all thet reading that people are REALLY concerned about English and the way it should be read - and written. I am well known (sometimes annoyingly so!) within family and close friends for my love for the English language and how it should be written and spoken. I am a 'Lancashire lad' who has retired in my beloved Cornwall and sometimes have to ask locals to repeat themselves because I have not comletely understood what they have said due to their wonderful accent or dialect. Sure. Keep accents and dialects. They are what make Britain, Britain. I was sorry to read in comment 28 that the writer was ashamed of their Scouse accent. Unfortunately it is tied in with the undeservedly bad reputation Liverpudlians have received over the past few years.
    If people think Gyles speaks 'posh' try listening - and watching - Sir Alec Douglas-Hulme speak. He was what I consider extremely 'over-the-top posh'! Really 'affected' speech! Compared with him Gyles is positively common!
    During my reading of the comments I couldn't help noticing the very descriptive 'inverted snobbery' used and this fits this discussion to a 'T'!
    Comment 55 was great. Thanks for explaining the origins of the word 'posh' it was very interesting.
    I am pleased that someone has started this discussion as it was long overdue. Perhaps someone would like to start a website for good grammar.
    I could list many dislikes such as the gross overuse of 'like' and 'basically'. 'Next up' instead fo 'next'. 'Your one' or 'my one' instead of 'yours' or 'mine'. I have always considered 'for free' incorrect. Why not just plain 'free'? I hate 'at this moment in time' and 'gotten' instead of 'got'.
    I once saw Andrew Marr showing his press pass saying, "Here's my one!"
    I could go on but I won't!
    Back to the orginal discussion, though. Gyles, keep your wonderful clear speech. Long may it reign!!
    Keith Kneebone, Camborne, Kernow.

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  • 75. At 09:36am on 25 Nov 2008, Ben wrote:


    There is nothing wrong with being able to speak correctly, to pronounce ones words clearly and with an education of grammar that precludes hums and errs. The only ones usually moaning about speaking correctly are those who cannot speak correctly.

    When I listen to the radio or watch tv I want to be able to understand the presenter. The presenter may unfortunately have to include speech from a 'local' but I want the facts of the matter clearly put across, without a heavy regional accent, without odd slang or substitute words being employed and with a command of the English language and grammar that enstills a level of competency and authority.

    Regional accents may be fine for regional programs, area by area, but for national broadcasts the presenters should be able to speak clearly and in English.

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  • 76. At 09:42am on 25 Nov 2008, prettyursulahall wrote:

    Please do not call it Posh - it is Received English - look it up in the dictionary. It is the correct way to speak. Have you noticed that Robson Green is now attempting to speak correctly - how did he lose his Geordie accent? Have you ever seen old black and white films of Sean Connery - he spoke beautiful English it is only lately that it has become cool that he had adopted a "Scottish Accent"

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  • 77. At 09:56am on 25 Nov 2008, Delewar wrote:

    No, I am not ashamed to have a 'posh' (an absurd word) accent. It's not a stigma. At least everyone, including foreigners, can understand me which is more than can be said about many other accents. I notice that BBC newsreaders still have 'posh' accents. I wonder why? Everyone can understand 'posh' but can they understand a 'geordie'?
    I have nothing against a 'geordie' accent, I rather like it, but I can't stand 'estuary' which is phony and sloppy and sadly obliterating all other regional accents.

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  • 78. At 10:08am on 25 Nov 2008, Phantomdoll wrote:

    People who "put on" a posh accent always bring out the worst in me - and I find myself speaking with a very London accent - not Cockney, but very distinctive. But whatever happens, I have never dropped an aitch (NOT HAITCH!) and a final 'T' in my life, and my use of grammar is good. At least no-one has ever asked me to repeat myself because I have not been understood. Being well-spoken and speaking clearly, in whatever accent is used, is just good manners. There are snobs in abundance with or without a "posh" accent. Re: message 75 - Beautifully put, bennock, but your spelling leaves a lot to be desired and regardless of whether presenters speak in a regional accent or not - they are ALL speaking English! My only complaint is that some of the regional accents used by presenters down South are so extreme that only their native county could possibly understand them.

    Christine has a moderate NI accent so she is still clearly an Ulsterwoman, but perfectly understandable. Gyles's "posh" accent has slightly strangulated vowels, but otherwise he's fine. This could rumble on and on.

    Jeanne, Southampton

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  • 79. At 10:21am on 25 Nov 2008, Delewar wrote:

    Reference no. 55
    As the child of parents who worked in the far east I am familiar with the meaning of the word 'posh'. We travelled to and from the UK by ship before the age of air travel.
    'Posh' did mean - port out and starboard home - but it had nothing to do with wealth.
    It was simply a preference for a cabin position on a ship. Port out meant that the sun would be on the starboard side going out to the east so that port would be the cool side, and vice versa.
    I cannot imagine that it was any kind of instruction on luggage since there would be several years between the outward and home voyages. My father had leave every four years, and he was the company's far east manager!
    Wealth, most ships only had one class. They were passenger liners not cruisers.

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  • 80. At 11:19am on 25 Nov 2008, dcjfrichards wrote:

    It is not being posh that is the issue, it is being different. I was severely bullied in my early childhood because I didn't have the accent of the country I was then living in (my parents were British). As an adult I was ostracized once again for having a different regional accent. I used to think it was the right thing to stick to my guns regarding my accent however last night's "The One Show" was the first time I ever questioned this attitude. The bullying has had lifetime scars and I could have been a much happier adult. Why can't people live and let live?
    Denise, Wiltshire

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  • 81. At 12:05pm on 25 Nov 2008, ofhope wrote:

    I think it is a great pity that people use the word 'Posh'! Surely well spoken English is the key! Of course there are different dialects and there is nothing wrong with that.

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  • 82. At 12:18pm on 25 Nov 2008, pluckyandtooposh wrote:

    I was born and brought up in a council house on a council estate. My parents were both cleaners and we had no money and no car and I was in my 5th year at school before we got a telephone.! Mum and Dad didn't like us to mix with the other children on the estate and were very proud people. I was fortunate to have been given elocution lessons as a child by my school so that I perform public reading for the school and for the local church. Now, 35+ years later, I look back and wonder whether this training hindered me. I constantly feel like a fake. There are still times when I feel like an observer, neither one class or another. I may come over as "posh" but am a council girl at heart and proud of my roots.

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  • 83. At 12:44pm on 25 Nov 2008, ChristineRollin wrote:

    I was absolutely flabbergasted when watching your programme on Monday 24 November to hear that George Osborne is beging coached to sound "less posh". I think the trouble with this country is that we have far too many people lacking in education, manners and standards and I would prefer people to improve themselves rather than expect those who have been educated to "dumb down". I love Gyles Brandreth's dulcit tones so please don't try to bring everything down to one size fits all.

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  • 84. At 1:07pm on 25 Nov 2008, Library Lil wrote:

    I just LOVE 'posh' accents! I think that there are far too many non-posh ones, though I do like hearing regional accents too, as long as they're not slovenly estuary English.

    Don't change your accent, Gyles - and please keep booming at us! It's a lovely boom, and reminds me of Donald Sinden, one of the world's greatest boomers if ever there was one!

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  • 85. At 3:29pm on 25 Nov 2008, poshBrittain wrote:

    I love the One Show but yesterday what a load of twoddle, the idea of changing the way one speaks so as not to sound old-fashioned or distant. Thank God there are a few people left in the country and on television whose diction is a pleasure to hear and who don't say "He went" when they mean to say " He said".
    The abundant slack-jaw speakers throughout the land could do well to listen to taped recordings of their own diction to realise how it grates on the ears of reluctant listeners. The same applies to those talentless but well educated TV personalities whose 'near the edge' version of wit is limited to foul language and public lavatory wall humour. The BBC managed for decades to get audiences laughing without resorting to this sort of sleaze.
    On another subject; that of Strictly Come Dancing, I had to laugh at Judge Len's protestations about the audience over ruling the panel's decisions. Surely, as Len must realize, the whole point of getting the non-expert public to vote is for the BBC to get a rake off from BT from millions of phoned votes each week? No wonder the old version; 'Come Dancing' was dropped, no rake off there.
    Best wishes Christine...Make Em have it...innit?
    David Brittain
    Walton on the Naze

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  • 86. At 6:10pm on 25 Nov 2008, lifeEnglishman wrote:

    Dear One Show,

    My wife and I are both avid One Show viewers. I am unable to think of anything more counterproductive than a person
    employed to teach someone how to misuse anything,let alone something as universally
    accepted as the English Language.

    There is an opening here for Gyles Brandreth to redress the damage already
    done to our beautiful language


    A.L.D. Cook

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  • 87. At 6:43pm on 25 Nov 2008, bigmummycain wrote:

    Giles you are not posh, you just speak beautifuly. I wish I did, unfortunately I am as common as muck.

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  • 88. At 7:09pm on 25 Nov 2008, mandy33 wrote:

    I don't think it is embarrasing to be posh, people talk how they want to talk whether they want to talk posh or not.

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  • 89. At 7:27pm on 25 Nov 2008, criticthinker wrote:

    I love to hear good clear English, I smile with pride when I hear my children speak well and properly - I cringe when I hear words that are misued, such as "basically" and mispronounced, such as "specifically" (usually said as 'pacifacally').
    I repect and trust a person more if they are capable of speaking our national language properly, it reassures me that the person is properly educated and therefore in a position to advise me or represent me..... and I get really wild when I hear TV presenters, and radio DJ's dropping T's or saying "ta" instead of "to" .. KEEP ENGLAND SPEAKING ENGLISH please.

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  • 90. At 8:04pm on 25 Nov 2008, Flashtaf wrote:

    I sometimes think that people object to others "speaking posh" because they are too lazy to correct their own speech.

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  • 91. At 8:16pm on 25 Nov 2008, Rinklie wrote:

    It's what you say that's important - not how you say it. Leave regional accents alone - we don't want a country full of clones. But just make sure that what you say is grammatically correct, please!

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  • 92. At 9:47pm on 25 Nov 2008, KernowKeith wrote:

    I am really enjoying the banter regarding 'posh' and 'grammatically correct' English.
    (I am sure Anne Robinson would call me 'a bore!) So many opinions but all creditable in their own way.
    I must take issue however to what was said by Rinklie at no. 91. Of course it's what you say that matters, but if you put it over well you have a more captive audience because they can understand your subject better.
    I speak publicly as part of my life and receive many compliments regarding (not regards) my diction because I speak correctly. This is nothing to do with my accent as I'm a Northerner living in Cornwall. I speak as the situation dictates. I'm not 'posh'. I've not been on an ocean liner to be 'branded' although I find the reasons put forward very amusing!
    Keith Kneebone,

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  • 93. At 10:53pm on 25 Nov 2008, AlaindeBungay wrote:

    During the Second World War all of the News Announcers spoke Received or BBC English. I never heard of any complaint that they could not be understood anywhere between John O'Groats and Lands End. Without being unkind I would rather listen to Gyles Brandreth to the end of my days than the sometimes tortured English of Christine which requires a sort of mental translation to understand her. According to her Edrien's arksent usn't tae bad and I agree with her. What we need is comprehensible English. I cite Scouse and Geordie as probably the worst but even here in Suffolk just try listening to the closed mouth mutterings of some of the more rural folk. Thass warl nigh imparsable to unnerstan, Bor.

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  • 94. At 11:36pm on 25 Nov 2008, poshpeagee wrote:

    Why is it considered 'posh' to speak one's own language properly? I simply don't understand why, when English is considered to be one of the most beautiful languages of the world, we in Britain have such a dislike of anyone who pronounces their vowels correctly. We have managed to completely denigrate our speech in order to achieve what exactly? As my mother used to say - why does everything have to be brought down to gutter level? I shudder every time I listen to the young of today. This has very little to do with dialect but more to do with a determination to make everyone in this country sound working class!!! That, in itself, is inverted snobbery. As someone has already said, there is an opening for Gyles Brandreth, to redress the damage done to our beautiful language. Over to you, Gyles, baby!

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  • 95. At 09:20am on 26 Nov 2008, KernowKeith wrote:

    I hope you all don't mind my going off on a tangent slightly but may I please add a little more to this fascinating discussion. Can we PLEASE stop calling children, 'kids'! Kids are young goats which doesn't say much for our young people today.
    Another of my hates is 'vee' instead of 'versus'. Not only have we became dreadful at diction but we have also become very lazy and 'Americanized' within our speech. Many newsreaders say 'Briddish' instead of 'British'.
    Another bad old one is the lady, Laura Norder. What's wrong with 'law and order'? During pronunciation 'w' often becomes 'r' when follwed by 'and' (which becomes 'n') or any other vowel.
    Can people also cease putting themselves before others in speech. One does not say, for example, "Me 'n' 'im"! It is "He and I"!
    It has been quite noticeable during this discussion that not everyone can write properly either with quite a few missed apostrophies. The problems with this grossly misunderstood punctuation mark within our language are not as bad as they are made out to be. I think people are afraid of it.
    Let's face it. With just a LITTLE thought we could all speak better. Taking your time when speaking helps. Don't try to get everything said at 100 mph!
    Sorry I have gone on but it is one of my passions as you may have realised.
    Incidentally, I don't mind 'text language' but keep it where it belongs - on your 'phone!
    Back to Gyles. Please keep up the good work.

    Keith Kneebone,

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  • 96. At 10:28am on 26 Nov 2008, radiantMadhat40 wrote:

    Melanie, Kent - I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with the way Giles Brandreth speaks. It's fab and I could listen to him all day - I find it soothing and seductive, especially the elongated vowels. He can boom at me anytime. Keep going Giles - can you do a recording for us to download so we can listen to you all the time!

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  • 97. At 2:28pm on 26 Nov 2008, LizaSwanson wrote:

    I'm not posh just well spoken...some of the time. Depends on who I'm talking to and what for. I am from Glasgow but don't have a Glasweigan accent as I had moved in and out all my life. and Johns right he's a bit all over the place when he's up here. Its really funny.

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  • 98. At 2:58pm on 26 Nov 2008, steffers wrote:

    I attended a public school but on leaving at 18 went to work in a supermarket. My posh accent and long words were a source of merriment, wonder and derision to my colleagues. I quickly adopted the local patois and dumbed down. Over the years I unconsciously adapted my accent to the situation, and even now, at 48 years old, I find my accent changing to suit others, even though I'm happy and at peace with who I am. If I need to be authoratative, for instance, I find my accent becomes posher than posh - the more cut glass, the more likely I am to get results. It's a shame, but it's instinctive and I can't help it.

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  • 99. At 3:22pm on 26 Nov 2008, harleyaitch wrote:

    No it certainly is not embarrasing to be posh.
    What I consider to be absolutly terrible is the so called "Street Talk" young people are adopting. Also, I regularly travel on public transport at the same time as a lot of teenagers travelling to school and I find it most annoying to hear them using antipodian dialect (where the last word of a sentance raises at the end). The latest thing I have picked up on is the use of the word "Like". They uses phrases such as "My Mum was like..." and "I said to him like, and he was like...." Urggggg!!! It drives me insane! Also todays youngsters are trying to be American, using that girly phrase "Ewwww" all the time in "croakey" way....so bring back proper speach and more english lessons I say!

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  • 100. At 4:01pm on 26 Nov 2008, harleyaitch wrote:

    I also forgot to mention another irritation (I 'm really on a roll here!) is the way in which people say "can you patch me through" instead of "Put me through" whilst on the telephone...what is all that about??

    I totally agree with all the comments on severe overuse of words such as Like, basically, innit (What?) pacifically (Is that to do with the ocean?) instead of specifically, he went, she went extra...where do we end?

    And yes, to all those who suggest bringing back the presenters/newsreaders who speak correctly and clearly (As in the post war years) I say "HERE HERE!!"....and I'm not even 40 yet, so no need to call me "Fuddy Duddy!!

    I'm certainly for a website based on speaking correctly too.

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  • 101. At 5:03pm on 26 Nov 2008, Itastelikedeath wrote:

    I'm a student from a pretty common area near Heathrow, but I think that some posh accents can be lovely. I certainly love Gyles's accent, and I would be his friend. In the language of youth "Gyles Rocks".

    HannaH (Bristol Uni)

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  • 102. At 6:44pm on 26 Nov 2008, omegawinnie wrote:

    Why should we all speak the same? Why should we all copy the lowest common demoninator. Stay posh Gyles. Dont descend to othere people's standards. Bring them up to yours!!!!!

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  • 103. At 7:43pm on 26 Nov 2008, jebba12 wrote:

    I'm labled as posh by other and think i have to work twice as hard to get people to like me. I do take all comments on the chin and am proud of my voice because it's what makes me me. I wouldn't change myself to suit others and I don't think anybody should.
    P.S. One wishes Gyles to keep booming forever and a day!!!

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  • 104. At 8:26pm on 26 Nov 2008, stupendousbuilderjon wrote:

    It is a sad comment on those who think that anyone who has the temerity to speak "properly" is considered as "posh";

    It is a myth, but one which is peddled by those who are intolerant of those who speak differently from them.

    It MAY also indicate that the speaker is from an educated, middle "class" background which may inspire a feeling of some jealousy in the listener.

    Personally, I am 1,000% of the opinion that ALL regional accents, for example, should be treasured and nurtured, as they are part of our heritage and culture, so "vive les differances!!" I say.

    Accordingly, I would express my sadness at those who can only tolerate the "Eastenders" - school of diction, many of whom, one can only assume, are a product of the "Education, education, education" system that the Blair/Brown axis have inflicted on us [.........another hollow promise, may I add], and who failed to learn their grammar at school.

    So, to all you posh-ist inclined people, RESIST! FIGHT BACK against the grammatically-challenged "Eastenders" school of elocution who foster this anti posh-ist nonsense!

    After all, its against our Human Rights to 'ave ter tork 'an fink loik 'em, innit?

    John A

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  • 105. At 8:27pm on 26 Nov 2008, CyberCynth wrote:

    Regional dialects? Music to my ears! - As long as they are ennunciated correctly! 'Posh' is alright too, but the same rules should apply. Just listen to some BBC announcers and their terrible diction: 'Medson' instead of medicine, 'secetry' instead of secretary, 'Febry', which I assume to be the second month of the year, and 'Pleece', which I think has something to do with law enforcement. I could go on....!

    I have had my leg pulled over the years about my rural West Berkshire accent, however, no-one has actually complained they can't understand what I am saying, so it doesn't concern me that some people think I'm a bumpkin.

    Hoorah for diversity, with a healthy respect for grammatical correctness! My apologies for any mistakes here - I attended a Secondary Modern school and left without any qualifications, aged 15. How am I doing?! Judging by the written English in some blogs I've read, the standard taught in the 60's must have been higher than that taught in schools nowadays.

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  • 106. At 11:43pm on 26 Nov 2008, Rich7714 wrote:

    I've never been "posh" accented at all, but I think it is important to speak properly and not use lazy, sloppy speech like saying "innit". Gyles Brandreth is someone to look up to and shows that he has been educated well which is, of course, something to be proud of! Go Gyles!!!

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  • 107. At 09:19am on 27 Nov 2008, KernowKeith wrote:

    I am loving this blog. It is 'right up my street' as they say! Who the hell IS 'they'?? Judging by the standards of grammar in general circulation I didn't realise how many people are on the same side as me (I?)! I also love some of the names and totally agree with CyberCynth (love it! - Cynthia?) at 105, stupendousbuilderjon (are you?) at 104 and harleyaitch ('arleyhaitch??!!) at 100. It has all been serious but fun.
    One part of speech I hate also is difficult to spell! - s've! It is supposed to be 'sort of' which shouldn't be said anyway!
    I have had 'phone calls from companies promoting a product and the caller says that it is, '....of great advantage to yourself.' Why say 'yourself'? Just plain 'you' will do! I once read a letter that said 'please forward your remittance to myself'. Why not just 'to me'?
    And the number of times correspondents get mixed up with 'yours faithfully' and 'yours sincerely' is incredible.
    There are simple rules to correct these mistakes if thought is put into what is to be said or written.
    Before anyone is employed in broadcasting they should go through rigorous training to ensure they speak properly whilst 'on air'.
    And it should be the same in the written media. After all these years we STILL see and hear the offending 'preposition at the end of a sentence'.
    I wonder how much longer this blog is going to continue. 'Not a lot' I suspect but it has been very interesting nevertheless.

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  • 108. At 10:16am on 27 Nov 2008, CyberCynth wrote:

    Glad to see someone else is into alliterative nicknames, Keith! I, too have thoroughly enjoyed reading through and participating in this blog; a favourite ' 'obby 'oss' of mine (As it might be described in Padstow!)

    I'm going to have another moan about grammatical and phonetical faux pas - one that the leader of the opposition seems to have adopted, the dreadful 'gonna'. Do our political leaders think that lowering their speech patterns to the lowest common denominator will somehow endear them to the voters? Yeuk! I wouldn't want them all to sound like Boris Johnson (perish the thought) but feel they should at least set an example by speaking the English language correctly.

    As for prepositions at the end of sentences, it just amazes me that we are not immune from this cringe-making clanger even when listening to supposed quality radio programmes such as the Radio 4 'Today' programme. Is nothing sacred??? Is it just laziness, or do the presenters think no-one will notice if they drop the grammatical rules?

    One final comment; someone mentioned the difficulty they had understanding the Cornish dialect. Since living here I can't say I've had any problems following the locals' speech, but what I do find intensely irritating is the way actors, whenever portraying a Cornish character, use this awful generic 'rural England - one accent fits all' , rather than coming down and mingling with the local people to really get a feel for the speech patterns. The Cornish accent is very musical and attractive to listen to. I would like to say to the thespians amongst you, if you can't master the Cornish accent, please, just use a neutral tone rather than massacre the local dialect!

    Cynthia, Cornwall.

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  • 109. At 12:26pm on 27 Nov 2008, supabikerpete wrote:

    I think Shadow Chancellor George Osborne should review his political ideas rather than his accent! Gyles Brandreth has one of the nicest accents I've heard. There's nothing wrong with a good speaking voice; good annunciation, delivery and tone etc. Have you heard how the majority of the Enaglish speak these days-it's revolting?

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  • 110. At 1:11pm on 27 Nov 2008, KernowKeith wrote:

    Here I am again.
    Another hate I just remembered is 'droarin' instead of 'drawing' and on the radio earlier an announcer referred to an earlia raccident!!!! In an article in a local paper where I used to live the writer said that 'your' was pronounced the same as 'you're'! I wrote to that paper too!!!!
    And why do people 'go' instead of 'say' or say 'went' instead of 'said'?
    We could go on and on and on and on..........(and we have)! But it's been fun!

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  • 111. At 7:14pm on 27 Nov 2008, Insp_Morse wrote:

    I was educucated in West London and although I admit, I speak nicely I do not speak "posh". Living in Manchester however, I am often referred to as the one who has the posh accent.

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  • 112. At 8:26pm on 27 Nov 2008, akathespoiler wrote:


    I really think it is okay to be a common man. As a big fan of Lady Chatterley, I live in the dream that oneday some posh lady will fall for a bit of rough.

    But, alas, that is about as likely as Dominic Littlewood having an affair with Fiona Bruce.

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  • 113. At 11:34pm on 28 Nov 2008, CarmelR wrote:

    When I moved over to the UK from (Zimbabwe) Africa, I had a really strong foreign accent. My accent, changed as I tried to fit in more with those around me, but it was, and still is described as "Posh".
    I used to hate being described as 'Posh' when I spoke- everybody else missed off their 'H's or 'T's, but now I don't mind being different, because it means that my speech and diction is well articulated, and I stand out in a good way and can actually be understood by most people.

    CarmelR, Hampshire

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  • 114. At 3:44pm on 29 Nov 2008, paso-girl wrote:

    i love gyles brandeth's accent!

    it's refreshing, it's unique and should not be bullied into a more "propa" english.
    one's accent is part of one's identity, and should be cherished.

    but most of all we should learn how to respect it, not just ours but others. including the posh accent!

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  • 115. At 7:01pm on 30 Nov 2008, PeppySaf wrote:

    I am fed up with the incoherent sing-song (dare I say, uneducated?) voices that proliferate the media. After all you are supposed to be the role models. No wonder all the young Londoners speak like Council bovver boys/girls and I for one, cannot begin to make head or tail of what they are saying.

    I am a South African who grew up with BBC World News and we always loved the cultured, clear English accents - posh or otherwise. You don't have to talk with marbles or hot potatoes in your mouth and you don't have to be stuck up but you should know how to speak from your diaphragm and speak with rounded vowel sounds - I would far rather have 'how now brown cow' in "oldspeak" than cats meowing which is what you generally hear nowadays. What happened to rising intonation at the end of a sentence only for questions and not for statements?

    Your history lad and the older guy who had to "unlearn" his excellent voice projection are tops. I don't mind Christine's Irish lilt as my father's family all came from Lisburn so I grew up with Irish voices, Adrian's Brummy accent isn't too strong so it is quite clear and understandable.

    As long as they are clear and easy on the ear, all voices are fine but when you have to strain to hear or understand then there is a problem. But there are far too many untrained voices, with shallow breathy, gasping production and projection - and for goodness sake why can't you stand still, walking backwards sideways and trying to overact and make a topic so exciting!! It is about time the directors were a bit more professional!

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  • 116. At 8:35pm on 01 Dec 2008, Chris_Page wrote:

    It is pure snobbery to say that working class accents mean people are less educated. The snobbery is all in one direction. What people think is inverse snobbery is merely a righteous backlash. And it amazes me to see that so many defending "Posh" accents are so poor when it comes to their spelling. They defeat their arguments by proving their poor grasp of our language.

    And I'm a solidly working class, council estate boy. I can modulate my speech according to situations, but I'll never betray my background.

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  • 117. At 7:24pm on 08 Dec 2008, AsGranny wrote:

    I know this thread is rather old now, but I just wanted to speak up for poor old Alec Douglas Home. He really did speak like that, not in an attempt to be posh, but because that's how his family and friends all spoke. Also, he was from another era. I think someone said that all Prime Ministers until Harold Wilson spoke with RP, whether genuine or acquired, because it was expected to go with the job and if you didn't speak like that, you wouldn't get the job.

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  • 118. At 6:00pm on 10 Dec 2008, janlol wrote:

    who cares its about time people, lived and let live. im from the north, but nothing wrong with a bit of ok ya lol.

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  • 119. At 8:07pm on 15 Dec 2008, KnightWhoSaysNii wrote:

    well said janlol!

    as janlol said,
    it aint about your accent, its what your like as a person that counts!

    I'm from Nottingham, and we don't speak posh round ere, if anything we have got our own slang, :)

    some famous people have come from nottingham, there down to earth, even if some of em do have posh accents..

    everyone is the same when it comes down to it.

    (ey, it's abit black over bill's mothers!)

    right i'm off to mash a brew..

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