Estuary English: the first systematic Study of the south-eastern British English accent
The term "Estuary English" (EE) was coined by David Rosewarne in 1984. According to Rosewarne, EE is a phonetically and socially intermediate accent on the south-eastern accent continuum between Cockney and RP. What he considers to be new and most striking about EE is its increasing social acceptability. Rosewarne even goes so far as to describe EE as "the new RP". Since the term "Estuary English" was coined, it has been discussed with increasing frequency and unreduced controversy. Journalists and literary authors make frequent use of the term in order to label a number of different trends, such as structural convergence of the accents of the Home Counties or the situation-related use of London variants by speakers who are otherwise speakers of RP. Linguists on the other hand are very critical of the term itself and the way it is used. The continued disagreement about EE is mostly due to the absence of a systematic empirically-based socio-phonetic study of EE in the larger context of the south-eas-tern accent continuum. This book is such a systematic study, and explaining EE. It also contains a section exploring possible explanations - both socio-historical and system-internal - for the rise and shape of the sociolinguistic situation in south-eastern England today.