Saturday, 21 November 2015

ackshly English - pt.2

In the television series Doctor Foster, fairly at the beginning of episode 1, Emma Foster, who's just found a lipstick among the belongings of her husband Simon, asks: "Is this yours?" and he replies: "Yes, actually", to be transcribed as: /ðɪʃʊəz/ - /jes ækʃi/. In a later scene Simon says: "It was real actually." /ɪt wəz rɪəl ækʃli/. Listen:


In The Kennedys, a BBC sitcom, there are some more examples. Tony Kennedy asks his friend Tim, if he happens to know how to get hold of pasta not in a tin. To which Tim replies: "Actually, I do know someone who might have some pasta not in a tin."
In another episode Tony tells his wife Brenda that she's just ruined their car. "You have actually killed the car."
The first sample contains the weakform /ækʃi/ of the adverb, while the second sound track illustrates the strongform variant /ækʧʊəli/.


Monday, 16 November 2015

ackshly English

What is this post ackshly about? It's about the adverb actually.
It's not only an adverb but also a weakform word. The strongform pronunciation is usually /ˈækʧuəli/, or in a more traditional manner /ˈæktjuəli/.
To make your conversations in English sound more natural and relaxed, try some of these weakform variants:
  • /ˈækʧuli/, /ˈækʃuli/,
  • /ˈækʧəli/, /ˈækʃəli/,
  • /ˈækʧli/, /ˈækʃli/, /ˈækʃi/, /æʃli/.
 Here are a few sentences containing 'actually': Give them a try!
  1. It actually works.
  2. Prices have actually fallen. 
  3. She's actually glad about it.
  4. His story is actually true.
  5. D'you think ghosts actually exist?
  6. He actually believes his own crap.
  7. I've actually known him for quite a long time.
  8. It actually happened.
  9. You couldn't actually have seen him.
  10. I don't actually like whiskey.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The Red Flag

credit: Oleksandr Rozhkov; Fotolalia
This is an off-topic blog entry.
Many Brits are familiar with these lyrics:

The people's flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts' blood dyed its ev'ry fold.

Then raise the scarlet standard high
Within its shade we'll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We'll keep the red flag flying here.

I must admit I hadn't been familiar with the song until a few days ago I heard, for the first time in my life, 'The Red Flag', and I was most astonished because the melody sounded ever so familiar to me - it's the German Christmas carol 'O Tannenbaum'. The mind-boggling question is: How are they related?

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Minnesotan English

(source unknown)
What's "Dalindyrik"?

Friday, 2 October 2015

Word-medial glottal stop

Glottal stops do not only occur at the beginning of words which otherwise start with a vowel, e.g. amond, enter, idea, but may also be heard word-medially before a syllable with an initial vowel. Inserting glottal stops word-medially is by no means unusual. Here's an example taken from a speech Tony Blair gave in 1996 in Blackpool at the Labour Party conference. He said:
Ask me my three main priorities for government, and I tell you: education, education and education.
Listen to the way he pronounces priorities.


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

voiced interdental /l/

Paul Carley has found a video in which Ed Miliband pronounces the words "Labour" and "Let's" with a voiced interdental /l/.
Miliband says
1. "Labour plan for Britain's future"
2. "Let's make it happen together"

no. 1: "Labour" (credit: BBC News)

no. 2: "Let's" (credit: BBC News)

Sunday, 27 September 2015

length becomes lenth

Paul Carley spotted another interesting pronunciation variant - it's that for the word length. LPD3 presents the results of an opinion poll on the BrE pronunciation of it: 48% prefer /leŋθ/, 36% favour /leŋkθ/ and 16% vote for /lentθ/. To the latter pronunciation John Wells adds a symbol indicating that it is a British English non-RP variant. CEPD18 has /leŋkθ/ only. Here are two short sections taken from BBC News of 22 September 2015:


The speaker is Danny Savage.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Brian Sewell - RIP

Brian Sewell, art critic, columnist and writer, died in his London home on the 19th of September, 2015. He was not only renowned for his pungent, waspish, rapier-sharp remarks, but also for his 'privileged', genteel pronunciation, whch made quite a few people become prickly. In his words, he had the voice of an "Edwardian lesbian". Well, form your own judgment; there are lots of sound samples on the internet.

Here's a short extract from an interview which must have taken place in or shortly after 1979:


Saturday, 19 September 2015

English-French-German jingle

You might want to read this blog by Peter Roach first before you continue with the present comment. One of the followers of Peter's blog asked for the sound files to be supplied. It's a jingle of a windscreen repair company in English, French and German (there may be versions in other languages as well, but I haven't checked this yet). The various rhythms are the interesting part.

Here they are: