Could London's cockney and the King's English accents be dying out?

According to researchers, singer Adele exemplifies the new 'Estuary English' accent, which shares similarities with Cockney, as Ellie Pitt reports

The King’s English and Cockney speech are being replaced by three new accents in young people, according to a new study by Essex Univeristy.

Researchers analysed the voices of nearly 200 people aged 18 to 33 - which showed they have moved away from class-based accents like Received Pronunciation (the King's English) or working-class cockney used by celebrities like Barbara Windsor.

The study, led by Dr Amanda Cole, discovered features from the three new accents were shared across different social groups, and geographical areas, showing they are being picked up fluidly.

The rise of new accents is due, in part to celebrities popularising the speech, which is being picked up by younger generations.

So what are the new accents, and who are the celebrity exapmples?

Standard Southern British English (SSBE)

SSBE was the most popular accent in the study, making up 49% of the people surveyed. It is defined as a modern, updated version of received pronunciation, or the way the King speaks. It involves dropping the letter T at the end of a word, but not in the middle of a word; like pronouncing 'what' as 'wha'. Celebrities such as Singer Ellie Goulding and Commedian Josh Widdicombe speak in this way. The research has suggested even Prince Harry uses SSBE.

Ellie Goulding speaks using Standard South British English. Credit: PA

Estuary English

26% of people surveyed spoke Estuary English. The accent is a mixture of cockney and received pronunciation accents and is  associated with the area along the river Thames and its estuary. It is spoken mostly across parts of Essex. Notable people who use this accent are Singers Adele and Olly Murs, and Broadcasters Stacey Dooley, and Jay Blades.

Olly Murs speaks with an Estuary English accent. Credit: PA Images

Multicultural London English

The least common accent used by people in the study is Multicultural London English. 25% of young people serveyed spoke in this way, and they were mostly Asian British or black British people from London. It is characterised by the way England footballer Bukayo Saka, and rappers Little Simz and Stormzy speak.

Grime musician Stormzy popularises the Multicultural London English accent. Credit: PA