Spoken English and the BBC: In the Beginning

Lynda Mugglestone

Abstract


Focussing on the period 1922–25, this chapter examines the formative developments
which took place in terms of spoken English and the broadcast voice
in the early BBC. Detailing the emergence of specific desiderata regarding
accent, elocution, and speech-training, it traces the consolidation of the role
of the ‘announcer’ (and the qualities of speech which were increasingly seen
as both necessary and desirable for such a role). Looking in particular at the
ways in which contemporary language attitudes, not least towards Received
Pronunciation, impacted on changing criteria of acceptability, it uses archival
documents from the BBC’s own history to explore the explicit engagement
with issues of linguistic responsibility and norm.

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