Essay about English Language and Formal Accent

Submitted By katrinatimeless
Words: 805
Pages: 4

Think about your own personal talk (idiolect) what might adults say about it?
The way in which we speak has developed noticeably from the way in which we write, so much that it has become almost another language entirely. In this essay, I will be analysing the way in which I speak and the attitudes towards my speech.
My idiolect is based on several things: regional location, friends, family and occupation. The main influence is my geographical area. I was brought up in Pontefract and spent 23 years there. Although I speak using mainly Standard English I do use several dialect words including “snicket” (meaning a cut through between houses) and “backie” (meaning taking a ride on someone else’s bicycle ). As part of my dialect I also use the glottal stop in words with a t-sound in the middle(bottle) and phrases which have a the in the middle (I’m off t’shops). The main influence that West Yorkshire has had is on my accent. My accent is that of Pontefract and means that when saying words such as “car” I use a long A vowel and when saying words such as “bus” I have a short guttural u sound.
However, the strength of my accent depends upon the register that I am using. When reading out loud, or speaking to my superiors at work, my accent tends to be more neutral as I am using a much more formal accent which is more like Received Pronunciation and I don’t use dialect. This is because when speaking to superiors, the situation requires much more politeness and when I am reading I use a more formal register because I am teaching and want to be understood by all pupils or because I am wanting to put on voices for the different characters. When speaking to superiors, or colleagues, I understand that some people perceive that a strong accent is not suitable for the workplace and that a more standard accent is preferable. Indeed, in a BBC study, although 78% of people like hearing different accents, the respondents overwhelmingly said that an accent closer to Received Pronunciation was desirable in the workplace. On the other hand, when I am with friends, my accent becomes more pronounced and I use more dialect words (particularly if I am with friends from Pontefract) because I am using an informal register and I want to belong to the group of friends and share in our mutual sociolect.
Another large influence on my idiolect is my occupation. Teachers have a sociolect made up of jargon and other educational terms. This non-standard use of English uses educational lexis in a manner that excludes other people because they may well not be understood by someone who is exclusive to the group. However this lexis such as “APP” is used everyday because teachers are in constant contact with the jargon.
A more minor influence on my idiolect is the individual words used by my family. For example, when discussing someone who is in a bad mood in my family, we would say that they are having a “roar”. This word came about because of an event that