Received pronunciation and regional speakers


Received pronunciation, RP, speakers are perceived as having more competence (intelligence, self- confidence, etc.) but less integrity and social attractiveness (sincerity, kindheartedness, etc.) than regional speakers…’ (Bourhis & Giles, 1976, pp. 13).This is an argument presented by the authors in the text the language of cooperation in Wales: a field study. This point is makes a number of implications that makes it exceedingly interesting. For instance, it suggests that there are two different kinds of speakers, Received Pronunciation speakers and regional speakers. The quote above suggests that the RP speakers are the better of the two in conveying information, and that they are even regarded and rated higher in the society that the regional speakers.

However, it also suggests that the RP speakers are harsher in communication, and in nature when compared to the regional speakers, who although are poor communicators, are privileged with kindheartedness and sincerity. The reason why this point is interesting is that its implications are confusing. For instance, would we not expect the most privileged communicator in the society to be the one who was kind and sincere than the communicator who the society regards so poorly? The roles and the natures of these two speakers seem interchanged, and this is what makes this point interesting, and worth looking into.

To explore this issue closely, one could formulate a study that could provide more answers to the questions this point pose. An example of a research question that would shed more light on the issue would bewhat attributes and characteristics make Received Pronunciation speakers better than the regional speakers? To answer this question, one mightneed to formulate a study that would require the collection and analysis of data to come up with a comprehensive conclusion. In such a study, I would use random sampling to appoint participants. I would do this sampling on different individuals in the society of all ages, sex, race, education levels, class, and profession. I would ensure that I have a large number of participants in my study to minimize bias as much as possible. In addition to this,I would also use a number of research methodologies such as interviews and questionnaires to come up with both quantitative and qualitative data. I can obtain qualitative data by asking such questions like, who is your preferred communicator, RP or regional speakers. I can obtain quantitative data by asking questions such as how many RP speakers do you know, and so forth. To come up with conclusions of my findings, I would carry out data analysis. There are several methods of analysis that could be useful in this case. For instance, I could use content analysis. This would require me to look at the themes that emerge from the responses of all the participants and make conclusions based on these themes. Logical analysis is another method I might use to come up with conclusions. I can construct charts and diagrams from the results of my research and use these to conclude.

In carrying out this study, it is possible that I could run into a few problems. For instance, it is possible that my participants would not be aware of what RP and regional speakers are. To solve this problem, I would first explain the main differences between these two speakers to the respondents so that they become familiar with the issue. Another challenge that I might experience in the study is the collection of data. It is possible that even after explaining the differences between these two speakers that my participants would still have problems identifying the different speech patterns of the two subjects. To solve this problem, I can provide them with recorded tapes of each type of speaker so that they completely understand the differences in communication between regional and RP speakers.





Bourhis, R. Y. & Giles, H. (1976). The language of cooperation in Wales: a field study.     Language and sciences, 42. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University.




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