Prince Harry uses ‘unforced, natural voice’ in USA – claims
18th February 2023

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Prince Harry’s voice and language pattern have notably shifted since he moved to the USA three years ago. Linguistic experts from the language learning platform Babbel have shared their insights into how Harry’s voice and language have changed.

They said: “Since moving to the US, Harry’s once traditional, royal accent has taken on a more laid back tone, which, to some, might sound like an Americanisation of his accent.

“However it’s more likely due to him dropping Received Pronunciation (RP), which is often the world’s idea of the ‘perfect’ British accent, also referred to as the Queen’s English.

“Many aren’t aware that the Royal Family has, in the past, been obligated to use RP when speaking publicly, however since Harry moved to the US, we are seeing him develop his own persona in front of the camera, which includes presenting his unforced, natural voice.

“What we’re seeing as Harry’s ‘new’ accent is more commonly referred to as an ‘Estuary English’ accent, a well-spoken accent typical of London and the South East of England which is less rigid in its pronunciation than RP, but is still common amongst the upper class.

“Although Estuary English shares a handful of similarities with the American accent (dropping of ‘t’s and the use of contractions like ‘gonna’), it is more likely that Harry simply speaks with Estuary English naturally, and we’re noticing the difference because Harry is embracing his life outside the Royal Family.”

As well as his accent changing, Prince Harry has also reportedly adopted American slang according to the experts.

They added: “It’s clear that Harry is beginning to borrow a selection of popular American slang and phrases (‘pop the hood’, ‘you guys’), although it’s unsurprising considering he’s been living in the US since March 2020.

“What’s more interesting, however, is that a few specific pronunciations take on a slight American twang, which likely mirrors the speech of the family and friends in the US that he interacts with on a daily basis.

“It is unlikely Harry will ever lose his British accent completely, as demonstrated by the many other British celebrities that have moved to the States for a significant period of time, who still maintain their distinctive accents to this day.”

What type of language is Harry using in his recent interviews to promote Spare?

The experts claimed: “In his recent interviews, Harry’s choice of language seems to strongly align with his life in California.

“For example, in Harry’s interview with the Today show’s Hoda Kotb, he was noticeably more open and forthright about his emotions than we have come to expect of the Royal Family, who traditionally present a stoic style of speech, reflective of British culture’s famous stiff upper lip.

“In this interview, Harry used emotive language while touching on topics of anxiety, which is not something we’ve experienced organically to date who would typically approach the topic with a more reserved manner.

“His use of phrases like ‘feeling at peace’, ‘healing in helping others’, ‘helplessness’ and ‘compassion’, are far more expressive than the public would usually expect from members of the Royal Family.”

Simply put, Prince Harry is now more “colloquial and informal”, according to these linguistic experts.

They opined: “We have also seen Harry start to use certain phrases to punctuate his thoughts that make his speech come across as more colloquial and informal.

“While the Royal Family tends to adopt a ‘no frills’ style of speaking, Harry now seems to often use phrases like ‘to me’ at the beginning of sentences, or concludes with ‘right?’ or ‘you know?’.

“This borrows from American patterns of speech and offers a tone of familiarity otherwise seldom used by the Royal Family.

“The shifts we have seen in Harry’s language may be a form of cultural frame switching, a concept which refers to the unconscious decision to mimic the vocabulary and speech patterns of those around you.

“This can be a way to promote social connection and comprehension in everyday conversations, which could explain why Harry is picking up some new phrases in the US.”

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