19th century RP

Here are seven examples of 19th century RP (the accent of RP-speaking people born in the 19th century). They are, ordered by birth year:

RP12: Robert Baden-Powel 1857-1941; Baron Baden-Powell; army general, scout movement; gramophone record 1937
RP06: Stanley Baldwin 1867-1947; Earl Baldwin of Bewdley; politician, industrialist; political broadcast
RP13: Neville Chamberlain 1869-1940; politician; BBC broadcast;
RP08: Sir Richard Paget 1869-1955; barrister, scientist, British Deaf Association; no recording available, vowel diagram reconstructed from published sources
RP01: William Somerset Maugham 1874-1965; author; adopted RP (first language French); a recorded interview
RP07: Daniel Jones 1881-1967; phonetician, professor; educational material on gramophone record
RP02; Harold MacMillan 1894-1986; Earl of Stockton; politician; broadcast speech

This is essentially the RP described by Henry Sweet (1877) and Daniel Jones (1932). But the accent was already undergoing change before and during this period, although not always recognised until later in the 20th century. Possible changes to STRUT, TRAP, THOUGHT, GOOSE, FACE, GOAT and MOUTH are examined in the next pages.

Henry Sweet. 1877. Handbook of Phonetics. London, Macmillan.
Jones, Daniel. 1932. An Outline of English Phonetics. Leipzig, Teubner. 3rd edition.

Listen to this brief extract by Robert Baden-Powell:
“… as a boy I was a sort of, sea scout, what I learnt then, helped me ever afterwards, in my life, I became a soldier, and did war scouting, and jolly exciting it was, in the army, I learnt, learnt, service, that is, doing your duty, without asking the reason why …”

Listen to this brief extract by Stanley Baldwin:
“… the country, is face to face, with a grave crisis, and the simple issue is this, whether the, electors, at a time, of grave, national, crisis, a time of national emergency, are going to entrust the government of the country, to the party, which brought us, to the verge of ruin, and then, ran away …”

Listen to this brief extract by Nevil Chamberlain:
“… but these plans need your help, you may be engaged in work essential to the prosecution of war, or the maintenance of the life of the people, in factories, in transport, in public utility concerns …”

Listen to this brief extract by W. Somerset Maugham:
“… sometimes, an experience of my own, has gi given me an idea, and I have invented the incidents to fit it, but more often, I’ve taken, people I knew, slightly or in(t)imately, and used them as a foundation for characters of my own invention …”

Listen to this brief extract by Daniel Jones:
“… I did a thing the other day, that I’ve never done before, let me see, when was it, it was last Tuesday week, no, it was a week last Wednesday, yes that’s right, ten days ago, I went down to Southampton docks, to see my partner off to New York on the Aquitania, one of our largest liners you know, he’s going to be away for three months, and I don’t expect him back till the end of August …”

Listen to this brief extract by Harold MacMillan:
“… my tour, of Africa, of certain parts of Africa, the first ever made by a British prime minister in office, is now alas, reaching it’s end, but it is fitting, that it should culminate, in the Union parliament, here, in Capetown …”

Figure 1. F1/F2 diagram for RP12 Robert Baden-Powell.
Figure 2. F1/F2 diagram for RP06 Stanley Baldwin.

Figure 3: F1/F2 diagram for RP13 Neville Chamberlain

Figure 4. F1/F2 diagram for RP08 Sir Richard Paget, based
on data in his Human Speech, 1930, London, Kegan Paul
(formants reported as frequency ranges).

Figure 5. F1/F2 diagram for RP01 W. Somerset Maugham.
Figure 6. F1/F2 diagram for RP07 Daniel Jones, combined
from an educational recording (1929) and the commentary
to the 1956 cardinal vowel recording

Figure 7. F1/F2 diagram for RP02 Harold MacMillan.