English/UK Dopers, how would you classify this accent?

Link goes to movie trailer for “The Adjustment Bureau.”

I’m curious about Emily Blunt’s accent. To my ear is sounds similar to Minnie Driver’s in another Matt Damon film, Good Will Hunting.

Is this accent associated with a particular location or region?

Just curious.

I’m neither English nor British nor an expert on accents, but it sounds like a run-of-the-mill southeast England accent to me.

I’d say more of a generic upper middle class accent than one from any particular region. I would think a woman who talks like that probably had wealthy or at least very comfortably-off parents and very likely went to a private school and a good university. (Of course, in reality Ms. Blunt very likely learned to talk that way at drama school.)

I was going to ask about whether it was a function of education but forgot to. It just seems different to anything I hear on the BBC or Sky Sports. It doesn’t have the clipped diction of the announcers and it sure doesn’t sound anything like the athletes.

I’m not a Brit, but I think of it as a London accent, as it doesn’t have a distinctive regional twang.

And as it turns out, Emily Blunt was born in London (it’s her real accent, the same one I heard her use on The Graham Norton Show recently) so I guessed correctly.

Sounds “transatlantic” to me - RP with a bit of an American twang. I can’t view the OP’s video, but assuming this is it, the way she pronounces “boring” at 0:10 is more American than British, for example.

I think the reason that it doesn’t sound like anything you hear on BBC or Sky Sports is that it’s so clearly transatlantic. It sounds like the way that an educated Brit would speak after spending some time living in the U.S. Come to think of it, perhaps it has something to do with Matt Damon. You say that it sounds like Minnie Driver in Good Will Hunting. Apparently it’s the way British women sound like when they’re in a film with Damon. British women, stay away from Matt Damon! He’ll screw up your accent!

Don’t the athletes have a variety of accents?

Her accent in that clip is really odd. It sounds like a British RP speaker being indecisive about pretending to be generic American - it’s not even the famous translatlantic accent, because it’s too inconsistent.

I am a Brit,

It’s a London/South East England educated/middle to upper class accent
with a hit of Amrican but not much.

Close to Blunt’s own background and prettymuch how she sounds in real life (eg on a recent talk show)


I’m actually astonished that anyone who’s ever heard an RP accent could think she doesn’t sound at least 40% American. She even says ‘liddle.’

I hear “little” ., or she’s saying it mockingly.
If she’s trying to sound American it’s not very convincing to me in that clip.

I’d say about 20% US (“liddle”, “borring”), the rest ‘lazy’ RP: a posh girl who’s got a few Estuary consonants.

ETA: ‘lazy’ not to imply a judgement call - it’s a similar accent to my own.

It might be one of those things like Alastair Cooke, Kelly and Jack Osbourne, or Cary Grant, in which to Americans they obviously sound English and to Englishpeople they obviously sound American.

She very definitely says liddle, and it’s not mockingly. I take it you’re not English.

What is “RP?”

Received Pronunciation. The way british public school (ie private) kids were/are taught to speak. The effect is to remove regional accents and have a generic middle class vocal pattern. Many young people who haven’t been taught this adopt it once they get to university. I believe.


People might enjoy watching this Saturday Night Live clip and the discussion by experts in linguistics of the attempt by American actors to imitate British accents using nonsense words:


RP is the term for the standard/generic/newsreader English accent, the English accent most familiar to foreigners. It’s actually more of a range of accents, because hardly anyone talks like the Queen, for example, but I guess she would still be considered to have an RP accent, albeit an old-fashioned one. RP is mostly associated with the south-east, but their are RP-speakers throughout England and beyond.

Yeah - it would actually be good to have a different name for those two accents or at least call the way the Queen speaks ‘old style RP.’ I mean, you don’t get newsreaders saying ‘hice’ for house.

If you watch old British newsreel, WWII-era, the voiceover you will be listening to is very, very strong RP. Nowadays there’s considerably more diversity in terms of non-RP and non-London accents by newsreaders and the like, happily.