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Times change… and so does Pronunciation

We often moan about the passing of time and the changes that it brings about, but personally, I often forget that pronunciation also changes over the years. I am not referring to huge differences, such as those between Shakespeare’s Old English and the current one, but rather to those changes occurring in the last 50 years or so.

The British Library has decided that it is worth researching and recording all the changes that have occurred lately. They will then be presented to the public in an exhibition called Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices. If you want to read more about this, you can have a look here and here.

But before reading those articles, have a think about your own pronunciation! How do you say aloud the letter ‘h’, as well as the words ‘says’, ‘ate’, ‘mischievous’, ‘harass’, ‘garage’, ‘schedule’? It has been said that young people have shown a tendency to pronounce these words differently to their parents. Although most children’s first exposure to English is through their parents, once they go to school they are more likely to be influenced by their classmates, as they spend most of their time with them.

In addition, there is an increasing influence on English pronunciation coming from the US accent. ‘The number of times something is heard, influences the way people pronounce it, because they assume that is the way to say it’ said the socio-linguist Johnny Robinson in this article. So, it is likely that the many US TV programmes broadcast in the UK, often targeting a young audience, have a significant influence on young people’s speech.

And finally, if you are learning English, you can learn more about how to pronounce words properly here, as well as have some fun with quizzes!A menudo nos quejamos sobre el paso del tiempo y los cambios que trae consigo, pero creo que a veces olvidamos que la pronunciación también experimenta cambios a lo largo de los años. No me refiero a las enormes diferencias entre inglés antiguo de Shakespeare y el actual, sino a los cambios ocurridos en los últimos 50 años.

La Biblioteca Británica ha decidido que vale la pena investigar y registrar todos los cambios que han ocurrido recientemente. Por ello, se presentarán al público en una exposición titulada Evolving English: One Language, Many Voices (La evolución de inglés: Un lengua, muchas voces). Si quieres más información,haz clic aquí y aquí.

Pero antes de leer los artículos, piensa un momento en tu propia pronunciación. ¿Cómo se pronuncia en inglés la letra “h”, y las palabras ‘says’, ‘ate’, ‘mischievous’, ‘harass’, ‘garage’, ‘schedule’? Se dice que los jóvenes han mostrado una tendencia a pronunciar estas palabras de manera diferente a sus padres. Aunque la primera exposición al inglés de la mayoría de los niños es a través de sus padres, una vez que van al colegio se ven influenciados por sus compañeros de clase, ya que pasan la mayor parte del tiempo con ellos.

Además, existe una creciente influencia en la pronunciación del acento del inglés de EE.UU. “La cantidad de veces que se escucha una palabra, influye en la manera en cómo la gente la pronuncia, porque asumen que es la manera correcta”. Esto es lo que dijo el socio-lingüista Johnny Robinson en este artículo. Por lo tanto, es probable que los programas de TV estadounidenses televisados en el Reino Unido, y a menudo dirigidos a un público joven, tengan una influencia significativa en el habla de los jóvenes.

Y, por último, si estás estudiando inglés, puedes aprender sobre la pronunciación correcta de las palabras aquí, ¡y al mismo tiempo divertirte con sus juegos de preguntas!

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About Sharon Stephens

Sharon Stephens is Operations Director of Lingua Translation. With a First Class Honours Degree in Translation and a University Lecturer in Translation (Masters), she is a self confessed language geek! Bringing the academic principles of translation and business together Sharon offers a quality-driven and needs centric translation and interpreting service - like no other.

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