1. Social class divisions (vol. II, p. 629):
|credit: National Portrait Gallery|
|Alexander John Ellis|
- 'Upper ten' (the court and nobles)
- 'Middle class' (the professional and studious)
- 'Commercial class' (the retail tradesman)
- 'Young men and young ladies' (servants, porters, mechanics etc.)
- 'Dangerous classes'
- He is aware of the observer paradox (vol. IV, p. 1086: "The only safe method is to listen to the natural speaking of some one who does not know that he is observed").
- He is also well aware of the volatility of his data (vol. IV, p. 1086: "the sounds of language are very fleeting")
- Ellis points to the fact that there’s a great deal of variation as far as pronunciation of one and the same word is concerned (vol. II, p.628f.; last paragraph of p. 628 extending to p. 629). So he takes a descriptive stance (this is my personal conclusion; it shows his descriptive unwillingness to succumb to prescriptive absolutes.).
- He introduces the conception of a mean incorporating variation (vol. I, p. 18: "there will be a kind of mean, the general utterance of the more thoughtful and more respected person of mature age, round which the other sounds seem to hover").
- received pronunciation (vol. I, p. 23: "recognize a received pronunciation")
- dialectal pronunciation
- r.p. is regionally unmarked (vol. I, p. 23: "a received pronunciation all over the country, not widely differing in any particular locality").
- there's a certain degree of "regional colouring" of r.p (vol.I, p.23: "there will be a varied thread of provincial utterance running through the whole").
- "received speech is altogether a made language, not a natural growth" (letter of 26 September 1882 by Ellis to Murray).