Posher and Becks
Manchester academics say David Beckham is getting posher
David and Victoria Beckham have changed the way they speak over the last few years to sound less ‘working class’, according to research carried out at the University of Manchester.
Research teams, made up of final year linguistics students, watched video footage of David and Posh from before and after 2007 – the year the couple moved to the US when Becks signed for LA Galaxy.
One team concluded that David, born and bred in London, is losing his dim but loveable southern style and now does not tend to drop his ‘H’s at the beginning of words when speaking.
In fact, the students found that the former Manchester United footballer is now guilty of this terrible crime only 20% of the time, compared to 80% before he moved State-side.
Victoria too is surrendering her southern ways it seems, with another of the research teams concluding that the Essex girl has doubled her pronunciation of ‘L’s from 23% in 1997 to 46% today. This means she’d no longer say ‘Football’ as ‘Footbaw’, so the King of English sport can sleep peacefully knowing his wife is sounding more like the Queen every day.
Dr Laurel MacKenzie, who is guiding the students’ research programme and a lecturer in linguistics at Manchester, said:
“The general assumption is that once we pass puberty, our way of speaking is fixed. But pronunciation isn’t static, it changes gradually”.
She went on to describe how “factors such as geographical location can have an impact on the way adults pronounce words” and that “it is primarily children and teenagers” who actually drive changes in the way we speak.
It’s not just the Beckhams who’ve had a spot of vocal cleansing either – several well-known faces also decided to drop their birth tongues in favour of a step towards proper pronunciation.
Incidentally, the late Margaret Thatcher was one such member of this group – actor Laurence Olivier famously arranged for her to have voice lessons at the Royal National Theatre to make her sound calmer and more authoritative.
Others who appear to have made the change include Mick Jagger and Tony Blair, a BBC report decided.