Jamie T and Diana Spencer that I have not mentioned before, are not fully analysed here, as they represent the two “pole” accents (Cockney and RP). The accents of the speakers in question are not the ultimate examples of conservative RP or a “real” lower-class Cockney; yet, they still bracket the rest of the presented accents.
Like the majority of the British, Jamie T and Diana were also influenced by the Cockney trend. The former person, Jamie Alexander Treays, was born in the middle-class family in London, and he adopted Cockney as a teenager. It was not very difficult for him to do so, because thanks to his peers, he has become familiar with the accent from his childhood. Now he uses fluent lower-class Cockney, but there are still some features of the accent that Jamie T does not pronounce. In the case of Diana Spencer, she was born in an upper-middle class (but still aristocratic) family in 1961. On the one hand she was a descendant of Charles II of England and James II of England through illegitimate children. On the other hand, she was still a commoner who married the heir to the English throne. That is why her accent was a mixture of RP and Estuary English. Depending on the situation her accent changed from more to less informal and the other way round.
Analysing the accents of the five speakers, we can notice that they differ from each other in the amount of Cockney features. The figure below shows the location of their accents:
Jamie Kate Simon Tony Diana
Treays Nash Reeve Blair Spencer
Fig. 1 Accents of the speakers
To sum up the table and the diagram presented above, the accent of a person is more cockneyfied when their job is less formal (singer, actor etc.), whereas people connected with politics or holding a bureaucratic post tend to speak in a more traditional way. Furthermore, the age of the speaker also determines the tendency to use a lower-class accent. Even if all of the persons were taught the “proper” pronunciation at school, their attitudes towards accent innovations are different. Older speakers of RP prefer not to change the way they speak too much, while the younger generation is much more flexible and open to any modifications. Last, but not least, the level of the speaker’s education has no longer to do with accent. The theory that each social class has its own way of speaking becomes refuted.
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