Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

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Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:39 am

"The way British people speak could sound extremely different in the future, a new report has found, as traditional and regional accents start to be replaced by new urban dialects.

Linguists in the UK analysed British language trends over the past 50 years, and have predicted that the next 50 years will see what they call a "homogenisation" of spoken English, due to multiculturalism, new population centres, and the increasing prevalence of technology in our lives.

While the UK has long been known for its broad variety of regional accents – many of which have social class connotations historically – researchers now think many of those distinctive dialects could be on the way out.

The study, led by forensic speech scientist Dominic Watt at the University of York, also suggested that changes to UK society could spell the end of Received Pronunciation – aka 'the Queen's English' – the characteristically upper-class way of speaking, defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as "the standard accent of English as spoken in the south of England". "
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Read the complete article on Sciencealert.com's website.
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Re: Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

Post by Phil White » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:46 pm

Wow, no shit, Sherlock! Blows my mind how some people can be so damned clever. And so original too!
How much funding did they get for that research, I wonder?
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Non sum felix lepus

Re: Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

Post by Erik_Kowal » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:00 am

Phil White wrote:How much funding did they get for that research, I wonder?
"...the study [...] was in fact commissioned by British bank HSBC to complement the launch of a new voice print security feature."
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Loads.

Persevering readers who are interested in British dialects may consider the PDF of the full report both accessible and worth reading. It singles out the pronunciation trends that the researchers have identified in Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool, London, Manchester and Newcastle for particular mention.
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Re: Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

Post by Phil White » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:10 pm

Yes, I did read the report, and was gobsmacked by its shallowness and complete failure to take into account strong counter-trends that are leading to greater diversity within and between urban accents. Insofar as the findings are based on any original research, it seems to me that it was done in Waitrose stores, rather than in Poundland.

As far as I can see, the noted trends in pronunciation in the cities they focussed on are trends that have been well documented by others. It is interesting to draw some of them together, but hardly earth-shattering.

Particularly from the perspective of the Merseyside and Manchester accent groups, which are the ones with which I am most familiar, the underlying assumption that the accent is relatively homogeneous either geographically or, more importantly, socially, is at best questionable. While some claims of homogeneity may apply within socially and geographically mobile groups over the areas within the reach of a particular accent group, they do not apply in the deprived neighbourhoods. Parts of Birkenhead and Liverpool remain among the most deprived areas of the UK, and social and geographical mobility are extremely restricted. The current accent in parts of Birkenhead is not only dramatically different from the accent spoken in parts of Liverpool, the other side of the Mersey, but is also continuing to diverge. This is a phenomenon associated with social status, culture, privilege and deprivation and identity. And it can be observed throughout urban Britain. The fact that the Estuary-English-influenced standard of modern English shares a few phonetic characteristics with many London accents does not take account of the English that is spoken in the deprived areas of Tower Hamlets or parts of Chelmsford, for instance.

The study also fails to take account of the massive sense of "Northern", or more specifically "non-Southern/London" identity that is widespread across huge parts of Britain that have not enjoyed rising living standards for many decades, in some cases, for several generations. The strength of feeling against "fook'n Soothenas" is doing its part to militate against the loss of the North/South accent divide, but again, this is partly a divide of privilege and mobility.

I strongly suggest that language researchers need to get out of Waitrose and wine bars and get down to Poundland and the food banks to hear what is going on with language in the real world.

But, of course, those who use Poundland and food banks are not of primary interest to the HSBC. Which brings me back to my original question. I wonder how much they paid for this lightweight drivel.
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Re: Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

Post by Wizard of Oz » Thu Oct 06, 2016 5:11 am

Erik_Kowal wrote:
Phil White wrote:How much funding did they get for that research, I wonder?
"...the study [...] was in fact commissioned by British bank HSBC to complement the launch of a new voice print security feature."

Methinks, in my cynical way, that the funding body has a very strong desire to find that regional differences are homogenising into one wonderful "voice".

WoZ who can bung on the strine
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Re: Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

Post by tony h » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:15 pm

Surely as soon as you find one voice culture will demand a rebellion and create another. In another thirty years the street kids will re-find received pronunciation and make it their own. Then some politicians will start to mimic and slowly it will climb back.
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With the right context almost anything can sound appropriate.

Re: Here's how the English language could sound incredibly different in 50 years

Post by KennyC » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:04 pm

Seems to me they ignored everything else but what they wish to focus on to get the desired result. How typical.
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End of topic.
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