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29 October 2014
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Women talk 'posher': Across the world in almost every language studied, females use more 'prestige', 'standard' forms of language. The exception is extreme Arabic societies where women do not participate in public life.
The art of conversation - Why do men and women miscommunicate

Page 3 of 3
What is Received Pronunciation?
What is BBC English?
Is there such a thing as 'BBC English'?

Received Pronunciation and BBC English
by Dr Catherine Sangster

Is there such a thing as BBC English?
The BBC doesn't require any of its broadcasters to speak with any particular accent. It could be argued that, even in those early years before the Second World War, the fact that the announcers and newsreaders heard on the BBC spoke RP was a by-product of the restricted social group from which BBC employees was drawn, rather than a matter of deliberate policy.

Nevertheless, the term 'BBC English' entered the language and is still widely used, even though - as we can see from the comments above - a range of accents are used on the BBC. The term is even being used by linguists. This maybe because, as we have seen, RP is a loaded and problematic term which conjures up many problems and prejudices. So some linguists now follow popular usage by relabelling what they used to call RP as 'BBC English' and, in some pronunciation dictionaries, the accent represented is now called 'BBC English' instead of RP.There's a problem with this approach, though. If you call the accent normally used in BBC news broadcasts 'BBC English', and use that as an example of RP, then the people whom the BBC employs as news broadcasters are therefore RP speakers by definition. This circularity of defining 'BBC English' in relation to RP, and RP in relation to the BBC makes 'BBC English' meaningless as a concept. Ironically, this is happening just as the relationship between RP and so-called 'BBC English' might more logically be viewed as a thing of the past.


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