University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Linguistics Occasional Talks and Seminars > Prolegomena to a real-time sociolinguistic study of 'modern RP': varieties, social practice and language change-in-progress

Prolegomena to a real-time sociolinguistic study of 'modern RP': varieties, social practice and language change-in-progress

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This paper will focus on Modern RP (also known as SSBE ), the accent that can be seen as the generational successor to the variety of British English first described by Daniel Jones as ‘Public School Pronunciation’ in the early 20th century. This particular accent variety presents some (by no means insurmountable) challenges to sociolinguistic theory and practice, and I want to show how the overarching discipline of sociolinguistics and the empirical challenges of a changing (and yet in some ways conservative) accent landscape in Britain can be brought together. The study reflects on my PhD fieldwork and data analysis of 10 years ago, and points the way forward to a presently ongoing replication of this fieldwork being carried out in 2008, and a proposed real-time empirical study of ongoing variation and change in modern RP. Along the way I will consider issues such as perspectives on ‘varieties’ versus ‘social practice’ and the theoretical underpinnings of the study of language change.

This talk is part of the Linguistics Occasional Talks and Seminars series.

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