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I’m Georgiana, founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.com. My mission is to help YOU to speak English fluently.
In this episode:
• I’ll discuss why the American accent is so different from the British accent.
• After that, I’ll use the Question and Answer technique to help 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.
So, a fair question is:
Why are American and British pronunciations so different nowadays?
Well, there are many theories, but here’s a reasonable one:
I know that may surprise 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 and 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 – called “Received Pronunciation” – and 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.
Ok, let’s move on to the next section.
(practice your speaking)Awesome! Now let’s practice with a mini-story, a method I use in my English courses.
Sometimes I call it a conversation simulator because you practice your English like in a real conversation.
Here’s how it works: I give you information and ask simple questions. After each question, there is a pause where you can answer. After the pause, I give you the correct answer for you to compare. You’ll see how this method will help you improve your English.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
The Parker family owned a big factory in Liverpool.
Did the Parker family own a small factory?
No. No. They didn’t own a small factory. They owned a big factory.
Did the Parker family own a big restaurant?
No. They didn’t own a big restaurant, but a big factory.
Was the factory big or small?
Big. The factory was big.
Where was the factory? In Manchester?
No. Not in Manchester. The factory was not in Manchester, but in Liverpool.
What did the Parker family own?
A big factory. They owned a big factory in Liverpool.
More than 1000 people worked in Parker’s factory.
Did only 500 people work in the factory?
No. More than 1000 people worked in the factory.
Did less than 1000 people work in Parker’s factory?
No, no. That’s not true. More than 1000 people worked there.
Where did the people work?
In a factory. They worked in Parker’s factory.
How many people worked in Parker’s factory?
More than 1000 people. More than 1000 workers worked in Parker’s factory.
Parker’s. Parker’s factory.
(END OF THE EXTRACT).
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