Wednesday, April 16, 2008

RP

Received Pronunciation (RP) is a form of pronunciation of the English language (specifically British English) which has been long perceived as uniquely prestigious amongst British accents. About two percent of Britons speak with an RP accent in its pure form.[1]

The earlier mentions of the term can be found in H. C. Wyld's A Short History of English (1914) and in Daniel Jones's An Outline of English Phonetics, although the latter stated that he only used the term "for want of a better".[2] According to Fowler's Modern English Usage (1965), the term is "the Received Pronunciation". The word received conveys its original meaning of accepted or approved as in "received wisdom".[3]

Received Pronunciation may be referred to as the Queen's (or King's) English, on the grounds that it is spoken by the monarch. It is also sometimes referred to as BBC English, because it was traditionally used by the BBC, yet nowadays these notions are slightly misleading. Queen Elizabeth II uses one specific form of English, whilst BBC presenters and staff are no longer bound by one type of accent, nor is "Oxbridge" (the universities of Oxford and Cambridge).