Archive for July, 2007


standard southern-British accent

As for the scientific content, the papers from 2000 were J. Harrington, S. Palethorpe and C. Watson, “Monophthongal vowel changes in received pronunciations: An acoustic analysis of the Queen’s Chistmas broadcasts”, Journal of the International Phonetic Association 30 63-78, 2000; and J. Harrington, S. Palethorpe and C. Watson, “Does the Queen speak the Queen’s English?“, Nature 408 927-928, 2000. Here’s the abstract of the 2000 Nature article:

The pronunciation of all languages changes subtly over time, mainly owing to the younger members of the community. What is unknown is whether older members unwittingly adapt their accent towards community changes. Here we analyse vowel sounds from the annual Christmas messages broadcast by HRH Queen Elizabeth II during the period between the 1950s and 1980s. Our analysis reveals that the Queen’s pronunciation of some vowels has been influenced by the standard southern-British accent of the 1980s which is more typically associated with speakers who are younger and lower in the social hierarchy.

Here’s a display that presents the key findings:

The three symbols ‘5’, ‘8’ and ‘S’ represent the average positions of different vowel types in the Christmas broadcasts of the 1950s and 1980s, and in standard southern British of the 1980s, respectively.


Assignment 2: Research of Design Aspects

Using information from the first assignment, as a starting base, each student will study particular ideas as design issues. The essential goal of this process is to transform indicated design potentials into design aspects, related to the established ideas of functionality. These ideas can also relate to specific fields where design and other disciplines are sharing knowledge. Applied to the formal and social context and ways of using different theoretical and visual properties in design, these ideas must relate to practical issues to solve a problem in a design task and basic functional ideas, and/or to develop techniques, visual properties, and needs in design. Here students will learn how to use and conjoin explicit, factual knowledge with knowledge based on accumulated experience, in that way creating specific design knowledge. Mixing intuitive and non-intuitive design methods and personal creative impulses, knowledge and procedures which reflect values established and confirmed in design practice, students need to give personal interpretations of the applicability of the researched issues to the process of designing, within an autonomous design discipline.

Assessment Criteria:

• A systematic approach to a visually and empirically based research process.
• Demonstration that the research and outcomes can be applied in designing.
• Ability to critically reflect on the research.
• Demonstration of a speculative way of thinking.
• Production of a research outcome, which indicates a concern for design quality, and professional and intellectual accountability.
• Demonstration of an awareness of broader contextual issues.
• Concern with formal, technological and social implications of the research outcome.
• Concern with quality interactions between the researcher and user.
• Flexibility within methods of research.
• Ability to develop their own statement about relevant design issues.
• Ability for independent use of different aspects of knowledge in the process of creating specific design knowledge.


Does social class decide which spaces or objects we use in a modern society?


“Design is a personal response to combination of function and beauty.”
” This combination makes a good design!”


The Camera Obscura is a Latin for Dark room. It is a dark box or room with a hole in one end. Pinhole photography is a lens less photography, because the tiny hole replaces the lens. Light passes through the hole and an image is formed in the camera.

“I then thought of trying again a method which I had tried many years before. This method was to take a camera obscura and to throw the image of the objects on a piece of paper in its focus – fairy pictures, creations of a moment, and destined as rapidly to fade away. It was during these thoughts that the idea occurred to me – how charming it would be if it were possible to cause these natural images to imprint themselves durably, and remain fixed upon the paper.” –William Henry Fox Talbot

The first permanent photograph was taken in 1826 by a French inventor, Nicéphore Niépce on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea. This first image required an eight-hour exposure in bright sunshine. The Camera Obscura was for upper class people only rich people could afford gadgets like a Camera Obscura. Royal families made photographers take portraiture of their kids. When there were many dangerous sicknesses in the world, the royalty wanted to have memories of their kids, even after they had passed away.

“Does social class decide which spaces or objects we use in a modern society?”

While investigating the space in between, I found that the most common use of the space was, that of people. There are 4 doors from the space, leading into the surrounding buildings. One of them is just to a gas cupboard but the other 3 are into the buildings. The staff from the restaurant uses the alleyway for their cigarette breaks and for the rubbish. I measured the space in between and the pinhole camera, that I made myself to experience this old invention. I decided to use my body as a tool and see how many Signý´s I could fit into the space and how many Signý´s could fit in the pinhole camera? There is a space for 220 Signý´s in the space in between and 2 shoes of Signý can fit into the pinhole camera. As I was documenting the space, a chef walked out of the restaurant on his break. I also met an Asian woman walking with bin full of water she had been cleaning Zico, the Italian café. I found few signs made for the public with messages such as; staff only! , EXIT, smokers please and warning security. Would you walk into a space, which looks like a private property? Most people stay away from alleyways specially if they look like a private property. The space in between, seems to be mend for 6 different groups of people; the staff at the restaurant and the café, the cleaning staff, the rubbish people, the person who takes the reading of the gas meter and the people who bring the goods to the workplaces.

Are those people in upper class, middle class or lower class? Scientists have uncovered evidence of a new class divide, the lower our social standing, the faster we age. The claim follows the surprise discovery of accelerated ageing among working class volunteers, leaving them biologically older than those higher up the social ladder. What has changed with the camera and the alleyway through the years? The Camera looks brighter and cleaner every year while the alleyway only gets dirtier. One of the reasons is because the camera is for the public and the market but the alleyway is mend to be out of the public’s eye. When the Camera Obscura was found the people in higher classes were the only once that could be photographers, today everyone is a photographer. The space in between has hardly changed over time it looks like it has stayed the same for years and done what it was mend for, it is a time to rebuild it. The camera has changed a lot and is always getting shinier and the technology is only gets more functional. If we think of the space and the object as humans, we would see that the space doesn’t move, this surroundings are the only thing it is going to see in its life while the camera gets to travel around see a lot of things and capture it!























space in between


Sociolinguistic issues of British English:

In Britain, “people are often able to make instant and unconscious judgements about a stranger’s class affiliation on the basis of his or her accent.” (Wells 1982a) Both the words and pronunciation of many individuals reflect that person’s social position. It is agreed that in England, the “phonetic factors assume a predominating role which they do not generally have in North America” (Wells 1982a).

Traditionally, it has been acknowledged that in England, the relation between social and regional accents can be diagrammed as follows:

Geographical variation is represented along the broad base of the pyramid while the vertical dimension exhibits social variation. It can be seen that working class accents display a good deal of regional variety, but as the pyramid narrows to its apex, up the social scale, it’s also apparent that upper class accents exhibit no regional variation. (Wells 1982a)

Thus by definition, any regional accent would not be considered upper-class and the more localizable the accent, the more it will described as a “broad” accent. Wells (1982a) purports that broad accents reflect:

  • regionally, the highest degree of local distinctiveness
  • socially, the lowest social class
  • linguistically, the maximal degree of difference from RP.

A 1972 survey carried out by National Opinion Polls in England, provides an example of how significantly speech differences are associated with social class differences. (Wells 1982a) The following question was asked:
Which of the these [eleven specified factors] would you say are most important in being able to tell which class a person is?” Respondents were randomly chosen from the British public. The factor that scored the highest was “the way they speak” followed by “where they live.” At the bottom of the list was “the amount of money they have.” All this is evidence that then, and to some degree even now, “speech is regarded as more indicative of social class than occupation, education and income.”
(Giles & Sassoon, 1983) also cite consistent findings of listeners evaluating anonymous speakers with standard accents more favorably for such status traits as intelligence, success, confidence. In Britain the middle class is associated with having not only a standard accent, but with also speaking in a more “formal and abstract style than working class.”
Accents are often characterized by British speakers themselves as either “posh” or “common” accents. Most speakers of British English would recognize these labels and create a fairly accurate image of the sound of these far ends of the spectrum. Conservative or U-“Received Pronunciation” representing the “posh” end and a less broad version of Cockney representing the “common” accent.

The significance of accents and their cultural and social associations is well represented in films and on television in Britain. The critically acclaimed 1964 file My Fair Lady based on George Bernard Shaw’s 1912 play, Pygmalion is often referenced in linguistic discussions as a wonderful example of how social class and accent were, and are still, inextricably linked in Britain. Over the past years, numerous television series have also provided viewers with a glimpse of the lives and accents of the Cockney population of London. The Cockney English section talks more about the current, very popular long running television series EastEnders.


social classes

Decorative Initial C lass is a complex term, in use since the late eighteenth century, and employed in many different ways. In our context classes are the more or less distinct social groupings which at any given historical period, taken as a whole, constituted British Society. Different social classes can be (and were by the classes themselves) distinguished by inequalities in such areas as power, authority, wealth, working and living conditions, life-styles, life-span, education, religion, and culture.

Early in the nineteenth century the labels “working classes” and “middle classes” were already coming into common usage. The old hereditary aristocracy, reinforced by the new gentry who owed their success to commerce, industry, and the professions, evolved into an “upper class” (its consciousness formed in large part by the Public Schools and Universities) which tenaciously maintained control over the political system, depriving not only the working classes but the middle classes of a voice in the political process. The increasingly powerful (and class conscious) middle classes, however, undertook organized agitation to remedy this situation: the passage of the Reform Act of 1832 and the abolition of the Corn Laws in 1846 were intimations of the extent to which they would ultimately be successful.

The working classes, however, remained shut out from the political process, and became increasingly hostile not only to the aristocracy but to the middle classes as well. As the Industrial Revolution progressed there was further social stratification. Capitalists, for example, employed industrial workers who were one component of the working classes (each class included a wide range of occupations of varying status and income; there was a large gap, for example, between skilled and unskilled labor), but beneath the industrial workers was a submerged “under class” — contemporaries referred to them as the “sunken people” — — which lived in poverty. In mid-century skilled workers had acquired enough power to enable them to establish Trade Unions (Socialism became an increasingly important political force) which they used to further improve their status, while unskilled workers and the underclass beneath them remained much more susceptible to exploitation, and were therefore exploited.