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  • Betrifft

    Received pronunciation

    I have a question for the British native speakers concerning RP that has been on my mind for a long time, and I would like to get some views on the issue.

    I am aware of the fact that RP has been changing over time and some vowels are now pronounced differently from what would have been considered RP a few decades ago (although it can still be heard from older people). (By the way, http://www.bl.uk/learning/langlit/sounds/case... is a very interestion overview on vowels in RP). I am also aware of the fact that nowadays even BBC news presenters and Royals are to be treated with caution if you want to pick up a RP accent.

    That being said, here's my question, or rather a number of questions.

    Many dictionaries that claim to state the RP (rather than the General American pronunciation, for example) have noteworthy variants in the case of some words.

    For instance, 'director" and 'direction' can be pronounced with a short i vowel (as in 'dependent') or with a diphthong (as in 'dynamic'). Some dictionaries have the first variant only. What puzzles me is why I've never encountered the first variant -- and I've been to the south of England more than once and I've talked to Englishmen of different educational backgrounds in England and here in Germany. Is it an example of 'conservative' (or even 'outdated') RP that has fallen out of use, but is still retained in dictionaries?

    Other examples are the words 'year' and 'your'. Some dictionaries say that 'year' has the same vowel as 'her' while others say it has the same vowel as 'here' or that both are equally acceptable. Similarly, 'your' can either rhyme with 'more' or rhyme with 'pure'.

    In the case of 'your', I've actually heard both variants from Englishmen. I know that 'sure' is often pronounced like 'shore', 'poor' often sounds like 'pour' etc. (at least in the south), so that doesn't bother me much. But I've never encountered 'year' rhyming with 'her'.

    Interestingly, http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/your lists both variants (along with the unstressed variant, of course), while http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/year has the second variant only (from which I gather that the first variant is not used in American English at all).

    So, how do you pronounce 'director', 'your' and 'year'? How do you feel about the variants?
    Verfasser Frank FMH (236799) 03 Nov. 07, 23:32
    I'm not British, but your problem doesn't seem to me to be a British-specific problem, at east not going by your example, director. Here in the States, this phenomenon exists as well: in California (often cited as "standard" American), you'd say director with the short vowel, whereas in the South (and other areas), you'd use the diphthong. So it seems to me this is more a "problem" of regional diversity/variance than anything else.

    Sorry, I'll let the Brits have at it now. :-)
    #1Verfassersammy04 Nov. 07, 01:22
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