English is the most widely spoken language in the world. Its form, grammar, syntax and pronunciation, however, gradually have become corrupted, not least in England itself. The Queen's English, sometimes called RP (Received Pronunciation), is considered the purest form of the English language. Many people use or want to learn Queen's English because it implies a higher social status. Others learn it for career advancement. The Queen's English Society exists to preserve the language in its pristine form.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Find a voice coach or look for elocution classes in your area. The best way to learn the Queen's English is to engage in conversation with a native speaker. Be aware that "native speaker" doesn't necessarily mean anyone from England. Most English people don't speak the Queen's English.
Watch or listen to the BBC. This is considered the last bastion of correct Queen's English. Pay particular attention to BBC newscasters' elocution and, of course, listen to the Queen herself when she gives her annual address to the nation.
Read the classics of English literature aloud. Choose novels like Pride and Prejudice or Jane Eyre to get a feel for the rhythm of spoken Queen's English. Listen to the 'clipped' tones of Julie Andrews in the film Mary Poppins, or Sir Lawrence Olivier's diction in Hamlet.
Buy English language CDs. The Linguaphone series tends to use Queen's English. Be careful because some English language CDs use colloquial British accents as a practice for foreign students who plan to live in England.
Download the iPhone app: 'British Accent Training'. This is designed for foreigners who wish to learn the correct pronunciation of Queen's English. Visit the Queen's English Society web page for what is considered 'correct' English.
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