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Types of English Pronunciation


1. The orthoepic norm of a language.

2. Received Pronunciation (RP).

3. The pronunciation varieties of British English:

• the Northern region type

• the Scottish type of pronunciation.


The orthoepic norm of a language is the standard pronunciation adopted by native speakers as the right and proper way of speaking. It is the pronunciation used by the most educated part of the population, the pronunciation that is recorded in pronouncing dictionaries as the best. It comprises the variants of pronunciation of vocabulary units and prosodic patterns which reflect the main tendencies in pronunciation that exist in the language.

The orthoepic norm of the English language is considered to be Received Pronunciation (RP). It is mainly based on the southern region type of pronunciation, but it has developed its own features which have given it a non-regional character. The main changes that have recently take place in RP are as follows:

1) the diphthongization of the RP [i:] and [u:] which in final position are often pronounced with a glide;

2) monophthongization of [ai] and [au] when followed by [ə];

3) the centering of former [ou] to [зu];

4) the assimilation of the following sounds:

[sj] > [∫]

[zj] > [ʒ]

[tj] > [t∫]

[dj] > [dʒ]

5) the use of the intrusive [r] which some 30 – 40 years ago was carefully avoided by RP speakers.

RP is accepted as the teaching standard in many countries, in Russia as well.

There are many educated people in Britain who do not speak RP, though their English is good and correct. They speak Standard English with a regional type of pronunciation. The types of pronunciation that are widely used by educated people in Britain, besides RP, are the Northern type and the Scottish type of English pronunciation.

The Northern region type of English pronunciation is characterized by the following features:

• [æ] is more open and more retracted back;

• [a:] is fronted as compared to the RP [a:] and it approximates to [æ] in words which do not contain the letter “r”;

• [u] is used instead of [л];

• [ou] is pronounced as monophthongal [o:].

The Scottish type of English pronunciation is characterized by the following features:

• the sequences [ir], [er], [лr] are used instead of RP [з:];

• [u] is used instead of [au];

• all vowels are short;

• [r] is an alveolar flap not only between and before vowels, but also after vowels;

• a voiceless labiovelar fricative is used to distinguish, for example between “whine” and “wine”;

•a backlingual fricative [x] is used.


Лекция 9

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