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The average Londoner, or even south-easterner (the whole of the south-east
of england in some sense a suburb of London now) does not speak anything
like how your teachers spoke, especially if they spoke something like
traditional RP.  Sweet, Shaw and Higgins lost: there will now never be a
time when all englanders, let alone all britons speak something like RP
(even modern RP, let alone how Sweet presumably spoke).  If there is ever a
democratic accent in England (and one supposes that given enough time, there
_must_ be one some day), it will be something like current Estuary: shifted
vowels, glottaled or missing final t's, vocalized nonprevocalic l's,
possibly dropped h's, etc.

My advice to any forener learning english is: it is no longer sufficient to
learn RP.  At times this would not even equip you to understand me, let
alone many of my fellow-countrymen who speak more basilectally.  If you
learn to comprehend the Estuary accent as well as RP, you will able to
understand all the many shades of accent between the two.

Kordiale, James Chandler
[log in to unmask]
http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Forum/5037 - IALs index

"Linguistics has been reduced by Chomsky and his disciples to a positively
mind-boggling level of stupidity and insignificance.  If ever the Prime
Minister wants an excuse to close down a university, she has only to look at
its department of linguistics." - Auberon Waugh, Oxymoron to a boiled egg
(1988) [review of The Chomsky Reader, 1987]



>From: Kjell Rehnstrom <[log in to unmask]>
>Reply-To: International Auxiliary Languages <[log in to unmask]>
>To: [log in to unmask]
>Subject: Re: More about Pei's book.
>Date: Fri, 31 Aug 2001 13:29:22 +0200
>
>"Donald J. HARLOW" wrote:
>
> > Je 05:20 ptm 8/30/01 -0400, Chris BURD skribis
> > >On Thu, 30 Aug 2001 11:15:39 -0700, Donald J. HARLOW
> > ><[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> > >
> > > >Je 10:40 atm 8/30/01 -0700, Bob PETRY skribis
> > >
> > > >>FRENCH
> > > >>SPEAKERS AND LOCATION
> > > >>(All population figures are approximate)
> > > >>
> > > >>Western Hemisphere - Canada (Quebec and Ontario) -
> > > >>3,000,000
> > >
> > >About 6 million in Canada - 5 million in Quebec, 1 million outside,
>mostly
> > >Ontario and New Brunswick. One million French speakers, as opposed to
> > >persons of French heritage, in New England sounds awfully high to me.
> >
> > It's an acceptable figure, I think; there are a _lot_ of French speakers
>in
> > Maine and, I believe, Vermont and New Hampshire. My second daughter's
> > high-school French teacher was a native French speaker from Maine
>(which, I
> > gather, didn't make him a better French teacher -- after three years of
> > almost straight As, she had trouble asking for a glass of water in
>French).
>
>Oh, how well one will recognize that! The first time you go to London with
>your school English, being able to read the Observer from beginning to end,
>and you open your mouth and speak English and you get back something that
>you
>don't understand. A horrible experience. The Londoners did most certainly
>not
>speak as my English teachers, neither did they speak like the BBC or Radio
>Moscow or the Voice of America! But you get used to it and ofter some day
>it
>works quite fine.
>
>Or when you have your first dive into German reality. At an
>Esperanto-conference actually. German: "Oh, I can understand your esperanto
>perfectly..."
>"Hmm, as a matter of fact I was trying to speak German!"
>
>In fact a positive experience was Geneva. My French is l o u s y, but they
>understood me and I understood them. A real positive experience, honnestly.
>
>But what the shool or reading and writing will give you is a lot of
>instruments to use when you land in the country in question. I think
>lessons
>like askinf for a glass of water will just be obstacles on your way to
>learn
>the language. After some time your second doughter could make use of her
>straight A's and begin speaking French like a Mr Pivaux (sp) himself.
>
>If school doesn't take care of the emersion job, you've got to do it
>yourself.
>Even though I had heard German on the radio etc. I was very surprized when
>I
>heard it in reality!
>
>Cellus


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