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English Language & Linguistics
The BBC Accent
This article is from the Guardian, by Andrew Culf, Media Correspondent. Read the article and respond to the questions which follow.
1. What values are implicit in the following phrases and what connotations do they have?
"cut glass", "banished", "more energetic and vigorous", "lagging ... behind", "cliquey and alienating", "educated at Benendon ... and a model of received home counties pronunciation."
2. Write an entry for the BBC Handbook outlining the Corporation's attitude towards accents and dialects in the speech of its presenters.
3. Write an
advertisement, for a post in which accent is specifically mentioned, of
4. Comment on the following references to BBC English:
i. The first Director General of the BBC, Lord Reith, A Scot, himself believed in a broadcast English that would give no offence:
"the language, the speech and pronunciation ... that the announcers were taught to speak ... was the very best that we could do."
The establishment of a uniform BBC English was partly designed to promote a sense of impersonality and impartiality. It was felt that a sober recital would seem more accurate.
ii. The Advisory Committee on Spoken English, set up in 1926, wrote "We cherish the decision that our language will remain as we know it now ..." it had the bbelief: "It would appear ... that the higher a community climbs on the social scale, the greater is the degree of conformity in speech. Whenever a language is spoken, there is present in the minds of the speakers the notion that there is a "right way" of speaking it." Lord Reith's BBC was determined to promote this "right way."
iii. During the Second World War the BBC tried to use well-known personalities with local accents, such as the Yorkshireman Wilfred Pickles, as news readers. The experiment was abandoned after listeners complained.
[taken from the Story of English - Robert McCrum et al]