They say you should always dress for success, but should that extend to the way you speak?
We’re not adverse to dressing appropriately to make a good impression at work or for a social engagement, even if it means wearing clothes we wouldn’t normally choose to put on. Is changing your accent to get ahead any different?
There are some famous names who have done it: Margaret Thatcher swapped her Lincolnshire accent for a posher one, adopting the standard ‘received pronunciation’ (or RP), which at the time was thought to be more in keeping with a position of political power.
More recently, Tony Blair and George Osborne took their own accents in the opposite direction, introducing more working class “mockney” inflections in their upper class speech, in an attempt to enhance their perceived approachability. With such obvious changes to their accents, they were roundly mocked for lacking authenticity.
A standard dialect is simply one local variety of a language which has become most publicly accepted in social institutions such as the media, the law and government. In many Anglophone countries, the dialect spoken by most of the population is considered to be standard, such as Standard American or Standard Australian English. In the UK, however, the so-called standard – known as RP or the Queen’s English – is spoken natively by less than 3%. Yet, it’s unreasonable to suppose most Britons are speaking their own language incorrectly.
Read more: BBC