Saturday, 6 April 2013

BBC (English)

BBC, British Broadcasting Corporation, microphone, news


British Broadcasting Corporation.

BBC English
A form of standard English regarded as characteristic of BBC announcers.

The BBC (sometimes called The Beeb) is one of Britain's cultural icons, on a par with red telephone boxes, the royal family and fish and chips. As a public service broadcaster, it operates without advertising and has a remit to be wholly impartial in all its reporting. Its reputation for this was forged in World War 2 when, transmitting in some 45 languages, its radio broadcasts were listened to around the world. Although its reports were no doubt slanted to maintain British and Allied morale, it was secretly listened to in occupied and enemy territories by civilians (and soldiers) who saw it as the only source of reliable and accurate news. The BBC still plays a significant role in modern British consciousness both for its reporting and its high-quality entertainment shows (such as Top Gear, Sherlock, Dr Who and Strictly Come Dancing). Despite having been subject to a number of scandals in recent years, its weighty broadcasting presence, revered position of trust and catalogue of internationally popular programming seem set to ensure that the Beeb will be with us for many years yet ...

Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, James May, BBC
Apparently it's the world's most popular factual show
(personally I can't stand it and it pains me to reference it in my blog)

... as will BBC English, also known as the Queen's English, Oxford English, Standard English and Received Pronunciation. In decades past, all BBC announcers were required to speak with this type of English which today can sound rather posh and affected. To reflect the cultural (and linguistic) diversity in Britain, however, it's now common to hear BBC announcers speak with regional accents that reflect the area to which they're broadcasting. Despite this, it's still the English that is generally taught in schools and language courses, and an accent that is widely seen as (if there is such a thing) the proper English.

Do you have any thoughts on the BBC?

Do you consider BBC English dashingly dapper or priggishly posh?

Please leave any comments below.


  1. I love BBC English! I wish I would be able to speak like that :) Instead I sound like a French-German mix-up when I'm Englishing (that's a neologism. I thought of it three seconds ago.)

    We have a national equivalent, which sets the bar for pronounciation and vocabulary in Flanders as well as the BBC does for the UK (although in recent years I think the quality has gone down tremendously). I think there's nothing wrong with broadcasting in "proper" English (or in my case, Flemish-Dutch), even if it sounds a bit stiff sometimes. Probably because I've been raised in a dialect with an accent that's very tough to get rid of.

    1. I'm rather glad to hear that Bibi! Having grown up in Oxford, my accent is a less stiff form of the BBC English, and people variously love it as 'proper English' or dislike it and assume I'm looking down my nose at them.

    2. I sound as if I come from Croyden.

      I wouldn't mind, but I've never even been to Croyden.

    3. That's a very specific area of London to have an accent from if you've never even been to that specific area of London : o )

  2. RYC: Thank you! I'm kinda proud of it myself! Although I'm sick and tired of hearing myself talk :P

    I'm really glad you like it. Hope the audio wasn't too bad :/

    1. RYC: Oh, okay, that's a relief. Thank you very much!

    2. RYC: I'll stop spamming your comment section after this one.

      Thank you for your kind words, I really appreciate it. It does take courage to admit we're not perfect human beings, but throughout the years I found writing down the things that worry me, or have caused pain, has helped me put things in perspective. Also, the feedback of other bloggers really makes you realise you're not the only one struggling from time to time. And yes, some things that happened or that we feel when we are younger are still reflected in the way we feel today. We can keep trying to improve ourselves, but when is a person "done", or "finished"? Maybe it's better to just learn to accept yourself the way you are, warts and all, and make the best of it.

    3. If anyone is wondering what Bibi and I are talking about, she has just completed a short animation called 'How I Learned to Love My Body' and it's really rather smashing. I would heartily recommend it to anyone - so hop on over and give it a peek : o )

  3. Hi Ed,
    I can't stand Top Gear either, it's not just the presenter that I find obnoxious but also the co-presenters' hair (it's 2013!).

    BBC English... Most EFL books in Greece are based on British English which is really hard for Greek speakers and especially kids. For example, when a 9-year-old student sees the word "motheR" they can't understand why British people don't pronounce the "r". Lately, the authors have started to incorporate more accents so as for the conversations to be more realistic.

    I must confess I'm a fan of the North American accent and it's the one I try to use as accurately as possible when I speak. People can usually tell I'm not a native speaker but they can't pinpoint where I'm from exactly, which is fun. :)

    1. When I speak Spanish, I've been told that it's hard to tell that I'm English, which makes me jolly proud indeed. However, I then usually mess it up by doing something like ordering crumpets and a cup of tea. Ah well.