Few British English accents are more effective for audiovisual productions than the posh accent. In fact, we’d go as far as saying that a posh English accent is the ultimate accent choice to enhance your TV and film productions.
To define ‘posh’, in the case of accents, posh is the name given to an accent that is proper. Also known as ‘Queen’s English’, the posh accent is the most desirable for many and one that is widely understood by non-native speakers.
At GoLocalise, we work closely with our clients to bring their audiovisual projects to life through voiceovers. Our posh English voiceover artists can help you to effectively convey important messages to your chosen audience, narrate an animation, or even add a personal touch to your communications.
We often receive requests for ‘posh’ native voiceover artists to work across projects, and for many different reasons.
If you’re considering using a posh English voiceover artist for your production, read on to learn more about why the accent is the best choice!
You could also learn why we find the British Accent so charming.
Decoding the Posh Accent Meaning
The posh English accent, also known as Received Pronunciation (RP) or Queen’s English, is an accent that has become synonymous with prestige and refined mannerisms.
It is the standard accent used in British broadcasting and is often associated with the upper class, although it is not exclusively limited to them.
Below, we’ve listed some of the features of the accent and how you can identify it when you hear it amongst native speakers.
One of the major characteristics of a posh English accent is clear enunciation, which means that every letter of each word is pronounced clearly.
Unlike that of many regional English accents, the posh English accent places emphasis on ensuring each letter is heard when speaking, unlike in the Scouse accent which does not follow this rule.
No letters are shortened or dropped in the case of this accent, which is often spoken in London especially.
Distinctive Vowel Pronunciation
Another hallmark of the posh English accent is that vowels are pronounced distinctively. For example, the ‘a’ sound may be elongated to sound more like ‘ah’.
This means that ‘apple’ becomes ‘ah-pple’. The opposite of this, can be heard in a Geordie accent, which omits many vowel sounds.
No Glottal Stops
There are no glottal stops heard in a posh English accent. Unlike the Cockney accent, which is an accent also associated with the capital, London, the posh accent focuses on clearly pronouncing every sound of a word.
Few Slang Words
There are few slang words heard in posh English when compared to other accents such as Irish English. For example, in Queen’s English which is heard throughout the popular TV series, The Crown, very few colloquialisms are used.
Posh Accent vs RP: Understanding the Difference
Received Pronunciation (RP) is often associated with the British upper class and has been the standard accent for news presenters, politicians, and actors for many years. However, it’s important to note that not all wealthy or high-status individuals in the UK speak RP – it’s just a particular accent that has become strongly associated with the upper echelons of society.
One important feature of RP is its lack of regional variation. Whereas other accents, including the posh accent, might include distinct vowel sounds or pronunciation quirks based on the speaker’s home region, RP aims for a standardized, neutral sound that can be easily understood by speakers from any part of the UK.
On the other hand, the posh English accent is not strictly limited to the area of London. It instead, is a type of accent that can be heard nationwide. For example, you can still encounter posh English accents in the North of England and they too will have their own slightly different sound.
Not all posh English accents conform to the RP standard. In fact, there are a number of different accents that might be considered ‘posh’ based on a variety of factors, such as the speaker’s tone, inflection, and overall demeanor.
Ultimately, the differences between a posh English accent and RP come down to subtle variations in pronunciation and tone. While RP is certainly the most well-known and well-established of these high-status accents, it’s important to remember that other accents can also convey a similar level of prestige and social status.
The Benefits of a Posh English Accent
There are many benefits of using a posh English accent instead of other regional accents such as Brummie for a voiceover project, some of which we have listed and elaborated on below:
Classic and Timeless Appeal
A posh accent has classic and timeless appeal since it is associated with the upper classes in Britain. This accent is widely used as a benchmark for sounding authoritative or intelligent.
Therefore, even if the content of the project is trendy or contemporary, a posh accent can add a sense of sophistication and elegance to the overall presentation.
Increased Clarity and Enunciation
A posh accent can help to prevent misunderstandings or misinterpretations. The clear pronunciation of sounds like ‘t’, ‘th’, or ‘r’ is essential in specific contexts like pronunciation guides, educational videos, or corporate presentations.
Using a posh accent can make the content easier to understand and more informative.
Posh English has become the accepted standard for non-native speakers of English worldwide. By using a posh accent, your English voiceover project can easily connect with a broader audience beyond regional dialect or accent barriers.
Overall, using a posh accent for voiceover projects has numerous benefits, from increased clarity and international recognition to enhancing the brand’s image and creating a timeless appeal.
Examples of Successful Use of a Posh Accent
The posh English accent is a distinctive and recognizable accent often associated with the upper class and refinement. While some may see it as a symbol of elitism, it remains a popular accent used in many professional settings, particularly in the media and the arts.
The Crown is a historical drama series produced by Netflix that depicts the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. One of the most striking features of the show is the English accent exhibited by the characters.
The English accent in The Crown is a combination of different variations of the British accent. The show primarily focuses on the characters who are members of the royal family, and therefore the accent portrays a sophisticated and formal tone.
Apart from RP, the show also features various regional English accents. For instance, the Northern accent of Winston Churchill and the Scottish accent of the Duke of Edinburgh are some of the accents exhibited in the show.
However, these accents are not as prominent as the RP accent, and they are only used to give the characters distinct personalities and backgrounds.
The English accent heard in the TV series Downton Abbey is often RP. The accent is characterized by several distinctive features, such as the use of long vowel sounds and a preference for rounded or rounded-back vowels.
RP speakers also tend to pronounce their consonants very precisely, with a clear distinction between voiced and unvoiced sounds.
Overall, the English accent heard in Downton Abbey is an important part of the show’s appeal, as it helps to transport viewers back in time to the early 20th century and immerse them in the world of the Crawley family and their servants who speak in a more common, Yorkshire accent.
Harry Potter Movies
Many accents can be observed in the Harry Potter franchise, including posh English accents. At Hogwarts, the fictional school, many of the professors speak with an upper-class English accent or RP.
With this said, there are also clear examples of regional accents such as with Ron Weasly and Hagrid.
You’ll love this post about The Impact of the English Accent on Pop Culture. Check it out!
How to Learn a Posh British Accent
If you want to perfect the posh British accent, we have some helpful tips and information listed to help you along the way:
Use Longer Vowels
One of the easiest ways to speak with a posh English accent is to accentuate vowel sounds.
You can do this by focusing on the letter ‘a’ as a starting point ‘A’ often becomes an ‘ahhh’ sound in a posh accent.
Pronounce Each Consonant
Focus on pronouncing consonants rather than diminishing their sound as you speak.
For example, as in shorter words such as ‘cat’ where all letters can be heard, try this with longer words like ‘actually’.
Emphasize ‘r’ Sounds
Don’t roll your ‘r’ sounds or attempt to cut them out altogether, as in some regional accents. Instead, choose to create space around ‘r’ sounds so as to speak more clearly.
Avoid Using Modern Slang
Posh British speakers don’t often use modern slang as part of their vocabulary. Try to omit any slang words that you would typically use.
Don’t Make ‘y’ Sound Like ‘ee’
Keep ‘y’ sounds as they are. Often in regional accents, ‘y’ becomes an ‘ee’ sound. Avoid doing this and you will be one step closer to speaking in a posh British accent.
Professional Voice-Over with Posh Accent
GoLocalise is an English voiceover agency that can ensure your content is localized to a posh accent.
Our team of experts work closely with you to identify and hit your project goals. Whether you are seeking a voiceover for an advertisement or a subtitle project, we are happy to help.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and what we can offer you!