The Queen’s English
pronunciation of sounds and intonation:
a practical guide
The Queen makes the /æ/ vowel found in MAT, MAN, ACTION
and THANKS with a more close jaw than standard GB
speakers, closer to the /e/ found in MET & MEN.
This is a very distinctive feature of the Queen’s accent. GB
speakers start this vowel in the centre of the mouth, but the
Queen starts at the front of the mouth in words like GO, FLOW.
If a word ends in a weak ‘y’, GB speakers will make a short,
weak /i/ sound, but the Queen will say a more open /ɪ/.
This vowel is quite neutral in GB English, but the Queen goes
further back than the average speaker in words like LOVE,
JUSTICE and YOUNG.
In words like TYRE, SHIRE & FIRE, the Queen would use a long
single vowel like /ɑː/ instead of the three sounds in /aɪə/, she’d do
the same for /aʊə/, so words like POWER and TOWER would also
When an /r/ sound appears after a vowel and before a weak
vowel, the Queen will tap her tongue, such as SORRY, SPIRIT,
The Queen makes her /uː/ sounds very far back in the mouth,
a standard GB speaker would have the tongue further
towards the centre in words like TOO, NEW, SOON, WHO.
The Queen makes her weak vowel /ə/ more open than many
at the end of words, like LOVER, SUMMER, SAILOR and
A distinctive feature of the Queen’s speech is her use of a
high-falling intonation pattern that doesn’t quite hit the
bottom tone and glides down rather slowly.
It is very rare to hear the Queen speaking in a hurry, she has
no need to do so, one would imagine, so it gives her plenty of
time to articulate her sounds fully.
Thank you for your attention!
Best regards, Anna Panfilovich & Kseniya Cheretun.
SPEAK LIKE THE QUEEN!