RP vs SSB vs GB

RP (Received Pronunciation) vs SSB (Standard Southern British) vs GB (General British)

As pronunciation teachers, we are often asked about the accent model we use in class. Unfortunately, the accent has 3 widely used names:

  • RP / Modern RP – Received Pronunciation
  • SSB – Standard Southern British
  • GB – General British

In practice, they are the same – if you are considering pronunciation courses and you’re not sure which one is right for you – it makes no practical difference whether the course is Modern RP, SSB, or GB.

However, the name might indicate the background and approach of the course provider. In this article, each name has a video explainer where you can hear the accents and learn about their histories.

RP / Modern RP – Received Pronunciation

Received Pronunciation was spoken by middle and upper class English people in the 20th century.

It was taught in private schools and was strongly associated with a certain authority and prestige. It sounds old-fashioned, even absurd these days.

Some ESL (English as a Second Language) teachers still use the term, often with ‘Modern’ attached at the beginning. This is likely because they are familiar with RP from their teacher training days.

SSB – Standard Southern British

Standard Southern British is popular with phoneticians as a modern alternative to RP. It’s the model described in the Handbook of the International Phonetic Association.

SSB is potentially confusing in its use of the terms ‘Standard’ and ‘Southern’ which are both difficult to accurately define.

Estuary English and MLE (Multicultural London English) are more widespread in the same areas of England as SSB.

GB – General British

General British (GB) was coined in the 70s as an alternative to General American (GA). 

Controversial name as Britain consists of Scotland, Wales and England, each with their own accents.

Popular in British English pronunciation text books such as Gimson’s Pronunciation of English and English Phonetics and Pronunciation Practice. GB is the name used on Pronunciation Studio course materials.

The post RP (Received Pronunciation) vs SSB (Standard Southern British) vs GB (General British) appeared first on Pronunciation Studio.

Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed
AuditStudent.com, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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