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在中国,普通话作为官方语言的地位日益巩固。然而在英国,为什么大多数的英国人不遵循标准的发音["standard pronunciation" or RP(received pronunciation)],却喜欢操着一口地方口音呢?难道英国人不认为RP English是"perfect English"吗?可我们中国人学英语伊始接触的却都是RP English呀。学好英语的一个重要标准就是发音准确、纯正,不能南腔北调的。难道这种观念过时了吗?

RP is an expression which is used in the media and it's the kind of English that used to be spoken on television or radio. In fact RP English is not standard English in the sense that it's not what most people speak. It's very rare that you'll find someone who really speaks RP English, probably the queen is one of the few people who speak that way.

请注意,上面这段话中提到RP used to be spoken on television or radio,"used to be"意味着曾经如此,而现在已经不同了。也就是说,从使用人数这个意义上来说,RP不是标准英语。因为它不能反映绝大多数人的讲话语音。


In Britain there are lots of different accents and dialects. Generally speaking you can tell a lot about a person's social, educational and geographical background from the way he or she speaks. 英国社会有许多种口音。一般来说,口音能反映一个人的社会、教育背景和出生地,你也可以通过英国人讲话的口音来判断其所代表的社会等级。
In the past the most prestigious accent was what we call RP but this is no longer as fashionable as it once was. 过去曾被公认的高贵语音(即标准语音),随着社会的发展,已经不再时髦。如今在英国的电视和广播里面,大家可以听到各种各样的口音。媒体也流行起地方口音了。There's less pressure now to conform. 外界压力减小,人们再也不需要循规蹈矩地、拿腔拿调地去模仿标准口音了。

One of the characteristics of British society is that people are often very proud of the class that they are from, if they are working class they are proud of being working class; if they are middle class they are quite proud of being middle class; and if they are upper class they are proud of being upper class. They don't necessarily want to belong to a different class; not everybody wants to be upper class, in fact some people think that upper class people are a little bit silly. This is something that we sometimes called inverse snobbery. 英国社会不再那么强调字正腔圆的纯正语音。每个阶层都为自己的口音感到自豪,而中下阶层也对上层社会的口音表现得不屑一顾。

Even for job interviews, pronunciation is no longer the key to success. Alison Burger is working for a recruitment consultancy and she said as long as you are articulate and eloquent and have the skills, then you get the job. 应聘咨询公司的职位,只要发音清楚,吐字清楚,能言善辩,就可以赢得工作。

所以,英国现在最流行的口音就是:Don't copy other people's accents, but sometimes adjust your own accent according to different situations.以自己的口音为荣,同时又能根据场合调整口音。

调查显示,只有百分之三的英国人讲话是标准语音!这么说,我们学英语的人也用不着在语音上下太大的功夫了?Althought you don't have to speak RP, you do need to speak clearly and effectively. 我们至少要做到articulate and eloquent,口齿清楚并且能言善辩。from sl.



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