SpeechSchool.TV, the world’s largest provider of online speech training, provides a model for speech and English accent learning in the form of ‘International Received Pronunciation’. It has been extremely successful in helping speakers develop a mode of speech that is easily understandable and well respected anywhere in the world English is spoken. So what is ‘International Received Pronunciation’ or IRP?
IRP is a model of English speech that aims to be as clear as possible. It based on British Received Pronunciation but has some important differences. “Received Pronunciation (RP) is the gold standard in spoken English,” reports the Course Director, “as the phonetic pronunciations are those used in an Oxford Dictionary. It is highly regarded but spoken by a minority of English speakers. When it comes to speech training, students don’t necessarily want to speak traditional RP, instead they simply want to soften an existing accent or speak a lot more clearly. For that reason we acknowledge that the best result is achieved by learning RP but then blending it with the student’s own language background or the sounds of the country in which they’re living.”
While the International Received Pronunciation model was developed by SpeechSchool.TV as an ideal English Accent for global speech training, there are already numerous examples of IRP speakers. For example the actor, Patrick Stewart who played Captain Jean-Lu Picard in the Star Trek series speaks with a mix of RP and his native Yorkshire accent. Karan Bilimoria who founded the Cobra Beer company mixes in a little of his Parsi (Indian) background to his sounds. This represents an ideal basis for speech as all sounds are clearly pronounced but they are also blended to some degree with an accent that reflects the person’s background and identity.