A Daily news digest by Jasper van Santen

When you sound too posh to earn the dosh – Telegraph

In Nonsense on April 11, 2012 at 16:34

More brittle but never plummy: the Queen at the time of the 1957 Christmas Message - When you sound too posh to earn the dosh

When you sound too posh to earn the dosh 

The voice on the telephone said: “Hello, it’s Giles.” Giles, Giles? Giles who, I wondered. It turned out not to be Giles but Charles, who speaks in rather a clipped, traditional public school way. It wasn’t, in case you were wondering, Charles, Prince of Wales, whom 10 per cent of the population would apparently hesitate to employ because his voice is too “posh”, if a new survey is to be believed.

The Prince of Wales seems to have overcome this disadvantage bravely, but it is an affliction that the rest of his family has also been doing something to address. If you listen to a recording of the broadcast by the Queen as Princess Elizabeth, for her 21st birthday – a moving declaration of lifelong service – the first thing that will probably strike you is how high-pitched it is. Of course, a younger voice tends to be higher, but any woman’s voice nowadays that is such a piping soprano sounds old-fashioned.

In this week’s survey about employable voices, people mentioned accents that were too “plummy”, but the Queen’s has never been plummy. It used to be more brittle, though, than now. At 21 she was heppy to take the berden orf the shoulders of those in the werld who cerried it in yers garn by, like the az to the throne before her.

If the Queen has moderated her accent, it remains aristocratic. To label it as Received Pronunciation comes nowhere near indicating the tell-tale elements that betray its social position. Her grandchildren William and Harry, by contrast, exhibit the standard speech of their friends from school and the Army. They sometimes go close to a strange new way of speaking adopted by younger people, particularly girls from pricey schools. It sounds a little as though they were talking with a pencil clenched between their teeth. If a giant tortoise spoke to you while dealing with a tough piece of lettuce, it might sound like that.

 

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