How much is spoken English changing?

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When you speak does: pristine rhyme with wine, respite pronounced as if there were no e, combat is cumbat, finance is finn-ance. If so you might sound like a BBC newsreader from 1928 as these were all in the BBC´s guide to pronunciation back then.

In the 1970s Frank Spencer on Some Mothers Do Ave Em was ridiculed for pronouncing harass with the emphasis on the first syllable. Apparently now 40 years later this pronunciation is favoured by people under 35 years old. Maybe Frank Spencer started the trend!

The younger you are, the more likely you are to make says rhyme with lays rather than fez, ate rhyme with late rather than bet and to add a whole new syllable to mischievous, turning it in to miss-CHEEVY-us rather than MISS-chiv-us.

The British Library now wants to get a clearer idea of how spoken English is changing by recording as many people as possible reading the opening paragraph of the Mr Men book, Mr Tickle.

'Haitch' or 'aitch'? How do you pronounce 'H'? by David Sillito, BBC arts correspondent


28 Oct 2010
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"I ran the trial with a small group of students over three weeks before the summer holidays," she says. "I quickly saw the benefits, and signed up."

King's Leadership Academy, Warrington

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