Received Pronunciation

Received Pronunciation (RP) is the proper term to describe the regionally neutral accent used by many middle-class speakers in the UK, particularly in England. It is widely used as a reference point in dictionaries and as a model for teaching English as a foreign language. But what are its origins, how is it changing and what role does it play in modern Britain?

Photograph of two men

Received Pronunciation

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

Variously referred to as the ‘Queen’s English’, ‘BBC English’ or ‘Oxford English’, Received Pronunciation, or RP for short, is the accent usually described as typically British. Find out more about its origins and its current status in the UK.

Read more
Illustrations of Victorian gentlemen

Received Pronunciation consonant sounds

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

Listen to the 24 consonants used by RP speakers.

Read more
Illustrations of Victorian women

Vowel sounds of Received Pronunciation

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

Vowel sounds are one of the most useful ways to analyse and compare English accents. A typical RP accent contains between 20 and 22 vowel sounds but not all RP speakers are alike. Listen to the range of vowel sounds that exist in present-day Received Pronunciation.

Read more
19th-century illustration of two men

Received Pronunciation connected speech processes

Article by:
Jonnie Robinson

Some words are pronounced differently in isolation than in continuous speech – a phenomenon known as a connected speech process. Listen to examples of typical connected speech processes associated with RP speakers.

Read more

Further themes

Changing voices: English over time

Explore how spoken English has changed over time.

Regional voices: English across the UK

Explore how accents and dialects vary across the UK.

Diverse voices: varieties of English in the UK

Explore how English is spoken in Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England.

Geordie voices: dialect in the North East

Explore one of the most distinctive British dialects.

English voices from around the world

Explore the accents and dialects of Britain's Caribbean and Asian communities.

Received Pronunciation

Explore the accent traditionally described as ‘typically British’.

Your Voices: contemporary accents of the UK

Explore present-day English voices across the UK.