Four Weddings and a Funeral is a well known movie in which Hugh Grant plays Charles, a debonair but socially clumsy Englishman who falls for an American woman, Carrie (played by Andie MacDowell) that he repeatedly meets at four weddings and then a funeral.
For students of English, of most interest is his classic British accent. It is a very clear form of English but also somewhat posh and according to SpeechSchool.TV, a leading provider of online accent training, it is the most sought after form of English speech amongst learners.
Received Pronunciation and the English Accent
Grant’s accent is very close to Received Pronunciation, an English accent commonly associated with well educated speakers in the South of England and the Home Counties around London. However, the main reason it is taught as the Standard English Accent by SpeechSchool,TV is that it is also the standard pronunciation used in the Oxford Dictionary, and compared to most other English accents, in fact has very little accent and no regional indicators.
When it comes to learning English, learners need to also learn pronunciation and this comes down to deciding on which English accent to focus on. If the aim is clear English and intelligibility anywhere in the world, the clear tones of Standard English are recommended. Moreover, learning correct English pronunciation allows the learner more easily to adapt their accent later on according to the environment in which they are living but with a secure understanding of elocution. Hugh Grant himself for instance does not speak pure Received Pronunciation but rather an accent based on that with some London undertones.
Preferences to Learn English Accent
Even in America, SpeechSchool finds that students prefer to learn the English accent based on Standard English. American accents can be quite varied and even compared to General American (the American accent most often used in the news media) the clarity of Standard English is preferred.
American accents are also blended with Standard English, most commonly in the form of the authoritative ‘Trans-Atlantic’ accent which combines Received Pronunciation with General American. Again the clarity of this accent is based on its pure English accent roots.
Perhaps another reason for the teaching and learning preference for the English accent (as opposed to the American or other accents) is that Standard English contains the most phonemes, in total 50 unique sounds, whereas General American has only around 40 – depending on which version is used.
SpeechSchool.TV has one of the most complete programs on the internet to learn the English Accent. For more information on the English learning programs, please visit the English accent course page: