Queen's English: changes through the years
The notion of “Queen’s English” is usually applied to our pronunciation. Taking the term at its most literal, our monarch’s own sounds are enlightening when it comes to language change during her reign. Phoneticians have noted subtle but distinct changes in Her Majesty’s voice over the past 60 years, amounting to a more democratic style of pronunciation. Evidence from a detailed acoustic analysis of royal Christmas broadcasts suggests that Estuary English, a term coined in the Eighties to describe the apparent spread of London’s sound patterns to counties adjoining the river, might well have had an influence on Her Majesty’s vowels.
If in 1952 the royal complaint may have been “I’ve lorst thet bleck het”, then today those o’s and a’s would undoubtedly be more rounded. In the same way, “orf” was left behind and “off” ushered in, “veddy” became “very”, and a y sound no longer followed the s in such words as super. Such conservative sounds, once the norm, are almost never heard these days, except in caricatures of formal old-fashioned speech. It is the Queen’s English that even the Queen no longer speaks....
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History