Did George Washington have a British Accent? A southern accent? Or did he sound like Dan Rather?
Well, scientists wondered this too, and they discovered some shocking things.
None of the above.
In fact, the “british” accent we think of is called Recieved Pronunciation, which only became popular in England in the late 1800s!
The introduction of the term Received Pronunciation is usually credited to Daniel Jones. In the first edition of the English Pronouncing Dictionary (1917), he named the accent “Public School Pronunciation”, but for the second edition in 1926, he wrote, “In what follows I call it Received Pronunciation, for want of a better term.” However, the term had actually been used much earlier by P. S. Du Ponceau in 1818. A similar term, received standard was by Henry C. K. Wyld in 1927. The early phonetician Alexander John Ellisused both terms interchangeably but with a much broader definition than Daniel Jones, having said “there is no such thing as a uniform eduction pron. of English, and rp. and rs. is a variable quantity differing from individual to individual, although all its varieties are ‘received’, understood and mainly unnoticed”.
So what did George Washington sound like?
Check this out: