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
- 'Sexist' Paris streets renamed in the name of feminism
- NYT profiles a path-breaking transgender pioneer who became a judge
- CIA Plans Huge Release of Top-Secret Reports From the 1960s
- South Dakota drops history as a high school requirement
- The Forgotten History Of 'Violent Displacement' That Helped Create The National Parks
- Historian author Antony Beevor says his new World War 2 book may anger Americans
- Ron Radosh and Allis Radosh plan to defend Warren Harding in a new book
- Historians tackle America’s mass incarceration problem
- Report: Russian studies in crisis
- Ken Burns: Donald Trump’s birtherism — a “politer way of saying the ‘N-word'” — proves America isn’t remotely “post-racial”