In today’s lesson, you will take a posh test, which reveals if you are posh based on your English pronunciation. The method is very simple; all you have to do is pronounce the five words in the test naturally. Follow along with the video below and calculate your posh score at the end of the test.
Posh Test Notes
Each of the words in the test can be pronounced in three ways. One pronunciation is considered ‘posh’, one pronunciation is associated with the ‘common folk’, and one pronunciation belongs to American English.
The five test words have something in common in that their posh variants contain a /juː/ sequence. This pronunciation is the traditional British English pronunciation. In contrast, the other variants have changed as a result of accent simplification over time. The posh pronunciation is always used in the accent known as High R.P., but is gradually fading out of the Standard Modern British Accent.
For the purposes of this test, the ‘posh’ pronunciation corresponds to the standard dictionary form of the pronunciation in British English. It’s important to note, however, that in ‘real life’ the majority of British people don’t pronounce these five words in the same way that they are transcribed in the dictionary. This is why the standard / dictionary form of these words is considered ‘posh’ by people who pronounce those words differently, in the non-standard form.
The 5 posh test words below are transcribed three times, in the order of ‘posh’, ‘not posh’ and American. Note that the pronunciation order is different to that of the lesson video, in which the variants were randomised.
Posh Pronunciation = /djuːk/
Not Posh = /ʤuːk/ Notice that the first consonant has changed to the consonant in ‘jam’.
American = /duːk/ Notice that a sound has been lost in comparison to the the posh pronunciation. The /j/ sound that disappeared is called a yod.
Posh Pronunciation = /ˈstjuː.pɪd/
Not Posh = /ˈʃtjuː.pɪd/ The first consonant changes to a ‘sh’ sound /ʃ/, which is considered an ugly pronunciation.
American = /ˈstuː.pɪd/. This Americanised pronunciation is gaining ground in the UK.
Posh Pronunciation = /ˈtjuː.nə/
Not Posh = /ˈʧuː.nə/ The first consonant changes to a ‘ch’ sound /ʧ/, as in the word ‘choose’.
American = /ˈtuː.nə/
Posh Pronunciation = /sjuːt/. This pronunciation is old-fashioned.
Not Posh = /suːʔ/ In the lesson video, this pronunciation contains an emphasised glottal stop for a London accent.
American = /ˈsuːt/
Pronounce Produce (verb form)
Posh Pronunciation = /prəˈdjuːs/
Not Posh = /prəˈʤuːs/ Notice that the second syllable sounds the same as the word ‘juice’.
American = /prəˈduːs/
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