The proposed research is on sound change and social networks relating to Received Pronunciation English (RP), an accent related to what is commonly known as ‘BBC English’ or ‘the Queen’s English’. The primary aims are to identify and analyse current variation in Received Pronunciation based on both external social factors (such as age, sex and region), and internal linguistic factors (such as phonological environment). The work will consider whether these are a change in progress (based on apparent time data) or stable variation.
During the MA I intend to focus on the goat and tour diphthongs in 10 subjects, the project will be expanded for the PhD years to include other sounds that are in variation over at least 20 subjects. Doing this research at Newcastle University will give access to northern speakers of RP and study on these in contrast to the more commonly studied southern speakers will provide innovative information on the nature of the speech community and whether RP truly still is a non-regional sociolect.