Around a year or so back, I came across a rather intrigued survey on BBC News about "Nation's Favourite Accent".

According to the survey, Scottish accent were more acceptable for holding management position, along with nation's strong penchant for "plummy" as of Hugh Grant.

Sean Connery was voted to be nation's favourite accent followed by Hugh Grant.

American accent were also liked, especially as of George Clooney.

Accent that people often disliked were Brummie (Birmingham), some Northern accent along with to my huge disappointment, VERY STRONG regional accent like Midlands having its own setbacks in working life.

This made me delved into ways of losing my rather strong East Midland accent. Once I looked into it, I realised the way to do so, is by having good knowledge of Phonetics & once we get to know the sounds & the way it's produced in particular accent, could be the key to learn that particular accent.

After around a year since then, I seem to losen my original Midland accent & have achieved neutral accent now.

However, this one year has got me addicted to Phonetics & now, I seem to have strong penchant for a very neutral accent as of RP, something that I'm still working on.

I, however, seem to have developed a rather keen interest in "plummy" accent, as of Hugh Grant.

Now, the problem is, the easy availability of loads of books & materials on Internet had helped me work towards RP (neutral) accent, however, getting to know more about "plummy" accent & it's sound & the way it's produced has VERY LITTLE availability & hence I'm stuck in my research towards it.

I wonder if anyone could possibly point me in the right direction in working towards gaining my much loved Home Counties' "plummy" accent. Perhaps, someone could tell me more about such accent & share their knowledge about it. At the same time, someone might have some resource they could possibly share with me that could help me enlightening myself further.

Lastly, some linguistic (if there's anyone around) would have precise idea about how do I go about achiving this much desired accent.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
New Member48
I'm inclined to think that plumminess is a state of mind, rather than a question of phonetics.

Moreover, it's important to acquire an engaging plumminess, rather than that faintly off-putting tone that you hear from people like – well, I won't name names; but you've heard them on the news, I expect, talking about the local elections.

For engaging plumminess, as I say, the state of mind is the most important thing. The road is long, and has many stages; but at its end resides the potent triad of bewilderment, befuddlement, and obfuscation. You must seek to acquire a permanently bemused, confused, yet amused demeanour; perhaps even slightly tousled. Practise a look of blank incomprehension, when anyoone asks you a question. If forced to respond, speak only in vague half-finished non-sequiturs that trail off into the middle distance accompanied by a dense dust-cloud of "ums" and "whatdoyoucallems" and "if you catch my drift, so to speak"s. Yet at the same time, allow a suspicion to form in the mind of your interlocutor that you do in fact know exactly what you're talking about, but have cunningly concealed your razor-sharp wits beneath a bumbling exterior. Deny vehemently any suggestion that you do unofficial errands for the Foreign Office. Always answer your mobile with "Oh, hello Max, can't talk now, I'll call you back later..." (Or "Ernst", or "Lucien".)

Once you have mastered these things, the accent will naturally follow. And you will be well on the royal road to plumminess.

MrP
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The reason that Scottish (and indeed Irish) accents are often more aceptable to the English than some regional English accents is because the English do not have any associations of any particular social status with any accent, they just think of them as being on a scale of "broadness".

I think that the reason the way Sean Connery and Hugh Grant speak is admired is as much to do with the quality of their voices as their accents.

I have often puzzled why the Birmingham accent should be the least liked. I have known a few people form Birmingham and they have all been reluctant to admit where they come from. This contrasts with Liverpudlians who are always going on about how great Liverpool is, but never go back there.

I do not think that studying phonetics will help you acquire an RP accent any more than studying mechanics and geometry will make you a good snooker player. If you mix with people who speak the way you want to speak you may start to sound like them - it is very much a personal thing. Some people adopt new accents very quickly and others never. What is likely to happen is that some changes will take place so that when you are amongst Southerners they will still think you come from the North (do not forget that the average Southerner cannot tell an East Midlands accent from an accent further north) but that when you go back to the East Midlands people there will think you come from the south.

A thing to remember is that whilst those who speak with an RP accent may be perceived as knowledgeable and reliable, they may also be perceived as more aloof and less friendly.
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plummy accents grate on me...
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Anonymous:
I'll trade you my southern American accent for whatever you got. I've been trying for years to get rid of it and the best I can do is sound a bit more understandable then the rest of my kin. I still sound like hill folk when I'm not concentrating on correcting my words. I really want an Irish accent (or Scottish or Welsh...hell anything but mine) My heritage is Scottish, but I guess we were bumpkins there too because our family name is Sidhe which I'm told means "from the hill" I guess I'm just destined to speak this way.

If you can't change your speech, change your location. If I drive about two days north of here, everyone I meet thinks my accent is cute; same distance south and people think I sound snooty. If you were here people would love your accent.
Anonymous:
Trying to change your accent makes you affected, especially if you want to sound like Hugh Grant. The only way to pick it up naturally, apart from being born into that culture, is to move somewhere where people speak like that, however personally I can't see why you would want to do it as I think regional variations in our language should be embraced rather than watered down. Also, firstly there is no such thing as a "neutral" accent (and definitely not a "very" neutral accent), RP is just the standard variant for our country for completely non-linguistic reasons, however ironically it's spoken by the smallest percentage of the population. Secondly, RP is exactly what Hugh Grant speaks, he just accompanies it with a croaky voice and eyebrow movements. If that's really how you want to be, then watch his films.
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