When embarking on this course, some clients express concern about sounding "too posh". However, what exactly does it mean to speak "posh", and is it the same as speaking well? Let's explore.
Received Pronunciation (RP) is a standardized British accent that originated in the early 20th century and was popularized by the BBC. It's characterized by its lack of regional or cultural markers and its emphasis on clear articulation and enunciation. While RP is often associated with the British upper class, it's important to note that not all speakers of RP are posh, and not all posh people speak RP.
Famous actors like Daniel Craig and Ben Kingsley speak with clear accents that have become part of their identity in their acting careers. Even robotic AI assistants like Alexa and Siri have been given an RP accent to ensure clear communication. However, what students may be referring to is their fear of speaking in a manner that comes across as overly dramatic or condescending.
Certain speakers of RP may stress certain vowel sounds too much, resulting in this type of perception. For example, if the /ɑː/ sound is overemphasized, it can potentially come across as affected or snobbish. It's important to note that speaking clearly and articulating sounds properly is different from speaking in a way that's perceived as haughty or pretentious.
It's not the goal of this course to encourage individuals to speak in a way that's perceived as elevated or condescending. Rather, the course aims to provide individuals with the resources to articulate the sounds of English clearly and effectively. By focusing on clear pronunciation, grammar, and intonation, individuals can communicate effectively and confidently in a variety of contexts.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misunderstanding regarding Received Pronunciation due to the UK's complex history regarding accents and class. While there may be certain societal biases or assumptions associated with RP, it's important to remember that clear communication is a valuable skill in any context. Whether you're speaking in a professional setting, giving a presentation, or simply communicating with friends and family, clear articulation and effective communication are key.
In summary, don't let the fear of sounding "posh" hold you back from developing your English language skills. By focusing on clear pronunciation and effective communication, you can speak confidently and effectively in a variety of contexts.