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Growing numbers taking lessons to sound "less posh"

Many are looking to fit in better in a professional context

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More and more people are choosing to move away from "the Queen's English"

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Eoin Brennan
11:07 Sunday 18 May 2014

Growing numbers of people are taking classes to help them sound “less posh”.

Speaking with an upper class accent is losing its status as a desirable trait as more and more professionals are looking to lose the air of high society from their accents in the hope they can better relate to co-workers and clients at work.

Sky News reports today on the growing phenomenon in Britain. The Tutor Pages, an extensive directory of UK private teachers, has been getting increasing numbers of inquiries for elocution coaching in recent years, but not in the manner you might typically expect. The Tutor Pages say that the majority of new clients they are seeing want to alter their speech to help them fit in in a wider variety of scenarios, with one particular desire being to lose a posh accent.

Roisin Logan, an 18-year-old art student, told Sky News:

"I don't want to sound like I'm pretending to be something I'm not. I just want to maybe tone down a tiny bit of like the posher edges of my voice to sound just a bit more normal."

"I think I'll get less assumptions that I'm stuck up or that you're not able to talk to me because you think I've had a privileged life."

Voice coach Christine Hubbard said thatshe now receives a steady stream of customers who "don't want to come over as too posh" as they feel it might have professional benefits to take on a new accent.

"It's also the kind of people such as social workers, policemen, lawyers, barristers, even teachers who do not want their clients to be saying 'Oh I'm not having anything to do with him he's too snooty',” Hubbard says.

Hubbard says she thinks the accent we would associate with the British royal family is going out of fashion.

"Even the Queen has what we call a little bit of Estuary creeping into her voice these days. And certainly even the - shall we dare say - better spoken presenters on television have lost their extremely didactic way of speaking,” she said.

Research conducted last year showed that one in five people has changed their accent at one point or another, with one in ten admitting they have affected a posher accent, and one in twenty having put on a less posh accent.

Can your accent affect your professional prospects? 

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