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Singaporeans' reactions to Estuary English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 September 2002

Chia Boh Peng
Affiliation:
Upper Serangoon Secondary School, Singapore
Adam Brown
Affiliation:
National Institute of Education, Singapore

Abstract

A consideration of whether EE could conceivably be an alternative to RP as a teaching model.

Since David Rosewarne first coined the term in 1984, much has been written about Estuary English (EE). The definition usually given of Estuary English is that if we can imagine a continuum with Received Pronunciation (RP) at one end and Cockney (an urban accent of London) at the other, then Estuary English is in the middle. This definition is restated by Wells (1998-9) as ‘Standard English spoken with the accent of the southeast of England. This highlights two chief points: that it is standard (unlike Cockney) and that it is localized in the southeast (unlike RP)’. The book English Language for Beginners (Lowe & Graham 1998) contains on p. 156 a diagram giving the actress Joanna Lumley as an example of RP, the boxer Frank Bruno for Cockney, and the comedian and writer Ben Elton for EE. This is ironic, in that Ben Elton himself denies that he is a speaker of EE (John Wells, personal communication).

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Original Articles
Copyright
© 2002 Cambridge University Press

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