back to course outline

RP and GA                       

RP (or BE, "British English")

"RP" stands for "Received Pronunciation", the traditional name for the standard British English accent. "Received" really means "accepted in good society", which shows the prescriptive social character of the original concept. Today, "RP" is used to refer to the pronunciation usually taught to foreigners -unlike the other English accents it is not associated with any one georgraphical area, and can be heard spoken as a prestige accent thoughout the British Isles.
   Wells (Accents of English, 1982) distinguishes between several types of RP:

GA (or AE, "American English")

or "General American", described by Wells (LPD) as the accent spoken by "the majority of Americans, namely those who do not have a noticeable Eastern or Southern accent" (xiv).


For later:

In this course we shall be looking briefly at some of the differences between RP and GA. Below is a link to these differences, but in order to make sense of it you will need to know about lax and tense vowels (go back to week 1!)
  • Main differences between RP and GA vowels  

  • back to course outline back to Phonetics back to Pétur Knútsson's home page

    If you have any questions mail me at