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English and Social Class Pronunciation




Hey guys, so today I am going to be talking about the correlation between pronunciation and social class. 
Just a quick one. 



This a conversational question how pronunciation may be influenced by the social class. The language that people use it's usually divided into six factors; occupation, education, income, type of housings, locality and father's education. 
In the nineteenth century, the phrase " Standard English" was used to describe a form of English that was 'common' but by the 1930s, however, it had become associated with 'social class' and was seen by many as the language of the educated. Just as Standard English establish a norm of spoken and written language, Received Pronunciation fulfils a similar function, inevitably. 



However, social judgments are still made on the way in which people speak and write. 

The phoneme /h/ 
While RP pronounces the H in the initial position such as "House" the most regional dialects don't, these speakers are known as ‘H Droppers’ and it’s a clear feature of most regional British accents – London included: “Harry has hairy hands”. 
This means that some minimal pairs sound the same; maybe 
air /hair 
eat/ heat 
ill/ hill 
Or 
maybe 
Ear/ hear/ here 
In fact, H dropping has a close relationship with social class. Lower working class speakers on average dropping 93% of H sound and upper-middle-class only 12% 
Speakers who are trying to emulate RP frequently overcompensate: in making sure that the phoneme /h/ is pronounced in the position, for instance, a speaker may also pronounce it where it is not needed. 

The phoneme of ‘ng’ /ŋ/ 
The phoneme of ng may vary. In almost all informal spoken 
accents other than RP will pronounce - ng as N in the final position cryin, seein, runnin, burnin, visitin 
Okay, I just want to point it out to avoid further confusion NG and N are two different sounds. 



NG it's a velar nasal sound thus is G-dropping is not exactly dropped- is just the case of how you place your tongue. 
Hunting, shooting, running, crying 
Bang 
Fang 
Gong 
Strong 
Thing 
Wing 




In some parts of the Midlands and the North, speakers pronounce a final G, thus articulating nG at the end of the words 
cryinG, 
seeinG 
RunninG 
burninG, 
visitinG 



Interesting research had been done by Bill Labov and Peter Trudgill examining the relationship between social class and number of different linguistic variables. 
One such variable was the pronunciation of -ng at the end of the words. He found, as he expected, that respondents lower down the social scale were more likely to drop the nG in their pronunciation and replace with N sound. 




Glottal stop 
In RP, the glottal stop is used on very few occasions but in dialect, it's very common, particularly among young people in urban areas. It frequently occurs in the medial and final position of 'T' 
Water would pronounce as waʔer 
In RP, it would be Water 
GS righʔ” or “taughʔ 
RP right” or “taught 
GS There’s a loʔ of iʔ abouʔ”. 
RP There's lot of it about 




The glottal stop is a feature traditionally associated with, working-class speakers traditionally has been associated with working-class Cockney, Scouse (which is people from Liverpool) and Glaswegian 
fooʔ away, streeʔ outside, righʔ ankle 
There are actually different pronunciations of the middle T sound in those words. British “received pronunciation” would give it a hard T. 


RP foot away, street outside, right ankle.

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