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Although RP is widely used by non-native speakers all around the world, the situation looks a bit different when we talk about the Great Britain itself. While the UKSE is used by about 15% of the British society, RP at the same time is spoken by around 5% of the population. It clearly shows that many people prefer to speak a non-RP accent while using UKSE. While in 1920s or 1930s the appropriate “voice” of BBC radio was only RP, several decades later many people started to perceive this accent as being too “posh” (actually, “speaking ‘posh’” is now a well-known expression meaning simply “speaking RP”) (Stockwell 2002, 38-40). This triggered a rapid loss of its prestige in Britain (Collins 2008, 226).
As early as in 1970s, many middle-class people started to perceive regional accents to be more attractive than Received Pronunciation. Conservative RP is by now very rarely used (mostly during comic situations or historical archive material), whereas advanced RP has been heard much more often, for example in media (Stockwell 2002, 39). However, over the years, the accent has become more and more unpopular. RP is now very unpopular among native English-speakers, especially in America and Scotland. Moreover, it is both disliked and envied in England. RP’s power, prestige and privileges started to erode. Many speakers of RP themselves decided to turn against their ‘posh’ accent – a huge amount of young people, whose parents are RP-speakers, preferred to use some of regional accents (Collins 2008, 226-227).
Except for the fact that the position of RP has been undermined since 1970s, it remained influential. To preserve the powerful accent and to make it less ‘posh’, RP-speakers started to mix it with regional accents, especially with Cockney. Such process is called a casualisation of RP. According to “Guardian” on 27th January 1994, the British Broadcasting Corporation decided that “the cut-glass accent of home countries Britain is to be banished from the air waves by the BBC in favour of more energetic and vigorous voices from the regions (…) Parts of the BBC were lagging a little behind the sound of the nation, beginning to sound a bit antique.” From then on, we could notice that RP pronunciation started to change quicker and more vividly.
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