A Level English Language Website
Do people speak less correctly now than they used to?
People have always spoken their own language perfectly, but vary in their ability to speak someone else's. During the time of the British Empire, there was a widespread belief that polite Londoners spoke correctly, and that everybody else got their English wrong. This view culminated in the early 20C in "Received Pronunciation", the accent of English public schoolboys, which was adopted for broadcasting by the BBC. Up to the 1970s there was intense social pressure on educated English people to modify their speech to make it closer to RP. In the modern world, global English is spoken in many different ways, and British English is one variety among many. Even in England the speech of young people is influenced not by RP, but by Estuary English, a less exclusive accent spreading from the South East of England. Young people today do not speak 1920s English, but do speak perfect 'noughties' English.