Welcome to the Speak English Now Podcast, your resource for practicing your English speaking and listening. You will also learn about lifestyle and culture, language, vocabulary and how to learn English more effectively.
I’m Georgiana, founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.com. My mission is to help YOU to speak English fluently.
In this episode:
• I’ll talk about why is the American accent is so different from the British accent.
• After that, I’ll use the Question and Answer technique for helping you develop your speaking skills.
Let’s get started!
In the eighteenth century, American and British pronunciations were pretty similar.
Remember that the British Empire colonized America.
Many immigrants traveled to America to start a new life.
Well, there are many theories, but here’s a reasonable one:
I know that may come as a surprize to you It’s actually the standard British accent that has radically changed in the past two centuries. However, the American accent has remained almost identical.
So, what happened? A little bit of history can help us. At the time the British accent started to change, the industrial revolution began. That means that many families became wealthy in a short period.
The upper-class society did not welcome those families, although they had a lot of money.
Therefore, newly wealthy families tried to distinguish themselves from the other lower classes. One way to achieve that was to change the way they spoke. They tried to sound more sophisticated, more elegant.
So, new tutors and experts on pronunciation offered their services to the newly affluent people. New guidelines and pronunciation dictionaries were written. This new way of speaking became standardized – it’s called “Received Pronunciation” – and it spread all over the country.
More and more people wanted to sound more elegant and not like the lower class. It was a fashion that became very popular.
The funny thing about this is how accents are represented in historical films.
For example, the American Revolutionary War shows British soldiers talking with the Received Pronunciation (RP) accent, as if they were on the BBC, and American soldiers with the Standard American Accent, you know that’s not very accurate.
(END OF THE EXTRACT).
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