UK & World News
Voice Coaches In Demand To Tone Down 'Toffs'
Speaking like the Queen could be losing its status as a desirable accent as a growing number of people are paying voice coaches to help them sound "less posh".
The Tutor Pages, one of the most extensive directories of UK private teachers, says it has seen a year on year increase in enquiries for elocution coaching.
But the interest does not tend to be from those wishing to speak with a cut-glass accent.
Instead, The Tutor Pages says most people want to adapt their voices for success in a variety of contexts - including trying to reduce posh tones.
Roisin Logan, an 18-year-old art student, believes her naturally well-spoken voice has caused others to judge her negatively.
She has been having private lessons to soften it.
"I don't want to sound like I'm pretending to be something I'm not. I just want to maybe tone down a tiny bit of like the posher edges of my voice to sound just a bit more normal."
Roisin believes the coaching will make a difference to how she is perceived by others.
"I think I'll get less assumptions that I'm stuck up or that you're not able to talk to me because you think I've had a privileged life."
Voice coach Christine Hubbard said she has received around two requests per month from professionals who "don't want to come over as too posh" at work or while they are job hunting.
"It's also the kind of people such as social workers, policemen, lawyers, barristers, even teachers who do not want their clients to be saying 'Oh I'm not having anything to do with him he's too snooty'."
She believes traditional Received Pronunciation, also known as 'The Queen's English' or 'Oxford English', is starting to go out of fashion.
"Even the Queen has what we call a little bit of Estuary creeping into her voice these days. And certainly even the - shall we dare say - better spoken presenters on television have lost their extremely didactic way of speaking."
Research by www.trulawn.co.uk†last year found more than one in five Britons said they had altered their natural accent at some point.
Eight per cent made themselves sound more posh while 4% said they had tried to sound less posh, increasing to 11% among Londoners who apparently said they did not want to sound like "toffs".