Friday, 8 April 2011

Sir Peter Tapsell - #2

Let's listen more closely to Sir Peter's problems with r-sounds. Here are the first three sentences:

I wish to speak in support of new clause 7, so ably moved by my honourable (1) friend, the member for (2) Broxbourne, and to comment on the (3) related issues of the (4) number  ͡  of MPs and the (5) number  ͡   of Ministers with which it deals. (6) Paragraph 24 of the coalition (7) programme for government, the contents of which we are, in part, debating today, starts with the words:

"The Government believes that our political system is (8) broken. We urgently need fundamental political (9) reform".
Listen to samples (1), (2) and (3):
Of the three samples "related" is the least conspicuous one.

Samples (4) and (5) are interesting to listen to because they illustrate if and how Sir Peter makes use of linking-r:
In (4) there's neither an r-sound nor a glottal stop; in (5) I hear a fairly regular, inconspicuous [ɹ ] which links "number" to "of Ministers".

Finally, samples (6) to (9):
 All the r-sounds are replaced by [ʋ].

From time to time I have a student in my phonetics classes who shares this infelicitous speech behaviour with  celebrities such as Roy Jenkins or Sir Peter Tapsell. Which hints can be given to these students? An attempt at an answer will be given in one of my future blog entries.


  1. Kraut, in the phrase "of the number of MPs" I hear something of an [ʋ] sound. Is it me?
    That may well be wrong, but I can still hear linkin r, though.

  2. @Alex: Let's see what other followers of this blog think about the quality of the linking sound.
    As a jocular aside: If you hear a [ʋ]-sound, it must be you, must it not? ;)