Saturday 31 March 2012

'idiomatic' stress marks

credit: ??

The (O)ALD seems to be the only general monolingual English dictionary which shows stress patterns for idioms. This feature was introduced in the 3rd edition of the ALD in 1974.

For this blog entry I've chosen 10 randomly selected idioms to be checked against the various editions of the dictionary.

beat sb at their own 'game 01111
a 'bone to pick with sb 0 1 1111
make one's 'blood run cold 1 00000
eyes in the back of your 'head 11111
a good 'head on one's shoulders 1 11111
'other fish to fry1 1 11, 'fry1, 'fry1, 'fry1, 'fry
a 'pretty kettle of fish 1 1
paddle one's 'own canoe 1 1, ca'noe1, ca'noe
not the only pebble on the 'beach 01
stew in one's own 'juice 0 11111

— = not listed
0 = listed but without stress mark
1 = listed with stress mark
If a word is underlined, I checked its dictionary entry

And, finally, idioms in Downton Abbey, series 2, episode 1:

As you can hear, Lady Mary Crawley stresses the word 'other' in the idiom 'other fish to fry', not 'fry'. Michelle Dockery. the actress, seems to have consulted ALD3 or OALD4 while she prepared her role as Lady Mary.
1In ALD3 and OALD4 the main stress is on other, whereas in OALD5ff. it's on fry

Friday 30 March 2012

Joan Greenwood

One of my blog followers asked for a sound sample of the voice of actress Joan Greenwood. Here it is; it's an extract from the 1951 film "The Man in the White Suit". Her partner in this scene is Cecil Parker. My profound thanks go to the operator(s) of the website They provide many beautiful film clips illustrating the "golden age of British cinema".

Joan Greenwood (born 1921 in Chelsea, died 1987 in London) was educated at St. Catherine's School, Bramley (here's a modern photo of that school):

She then studied at RADA to become an actress. Her active years were between 1938 and 1987 beginning in November 1938 with an appearance at the Apollo Theatre.
She made her film debut in 1940 in the film John Smith Wakes Up.

Joan Greenwood also appeared on TV, e.g. in the comedy series Girls on Top:

credit: youtube
Here's a sound clip of 1985/86:

Thursday 29 March 2012

(O)ALD and RP

Presently the Advamced Learner's Dictionary of Current English (= ALD)  (later: Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary (= OALD)) is in its 8th edition.

Here's a list of its publication years:
yearxxxxxxxxxxphonetics editor1
1948 (1942)2xxxxxxxxxxnon nominatus
1963xxxxxxxxxxnon nominatus
Jack Windsor Lewis
Susan Ramsaran
Michael Ashby3
Michael Ashby
Michael Ashby
8th Line 3 Col 2 2010
Michael Ashby

The question I'd like to pursue is about what term the editors used for the British English model they based their pronunciation recommendations on.

1. First editions (1942/1948)
I don't have access to the 1st ed. either of the ISED or the ALD, so I have to make do with two scans - the cover of the ISED and a scan of two of its pages:

credit: ??

2. Second edition (1963)

No mention is made of the pronunciation standard or norm on which the transcriptions are based. What we are told is that "the transcription is a broad one, as used by Professor Daniel Jones in his English Pronouncing Dictionary" (xi).

3. Third edition (1974)

J Windsor Lewis is mentioned as the person responsible for the "phonetic transcriptions for all entries and the stress patterns added to all compounds and collocations" (unpaginated). "... and idioms" should have been added! To my knowledge the ALD, from its 3rd edition up to the present day (with some exceptions), is the only general monolingual English dictionary which indicates stress patterns for idioms.

Try, for example, the idiom 'to have a good head on one's shoulders': First, where would you place the main stress? Then, try to look it up in a general dictionary other than the ALD. Found it? Chances are slim that you did. Now, look it up in the ALD! Found it? It's listed in the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th editions. Answer: The main stress is on 'head'.

In a separate section titled "Pronunciation and stress" (pp. xii-xv) J Windsor Lewis states that he transcriptions represent "the best known variety of British English" (xii) and of American English. The latter is known as General American (abbreviated to GA), "the other may be conveniently termed General British" (xii) (abbreviated to 'GB' in his notes to the dictionary).

4. Fourth edition (1989)

Phonetics editor (see p. vi) now is Susan Ramsaran. A P Cowie, chief editor of this edition, writes on her: "The job of Phonetics Editor was taken on and very ably carried out by a close colleague, Dr Susan Ramsaran. She has provided, as a new feature, a full treatment of variant pronunciations and of stress in idioms and illustrative phrases." (vii) It is true that one finds the odd additional pron variant not listed in the 3rd ed. (eg. the weak form variant /ənd/ for and, but the statement that the indication of stress in idioms is "a new feature" is plain wrong.

I do not know who was responsible for the explanatory section on pronunciation on p. xviii. All we get to know about the model accent is that it is based on the "normal British pronunciation" and the "normal American one" (xviii). In the back matter to the dictionary on p. 1547 there are six lines on "[m]odels of pronunciation": "The British English form is that which has been called Received Pronunciation (RP) or General British." On p. 1552 we are informed about the American English model: It is "one which is widely acceptable in the US and has been called General American.". The label used to indicate the American English variant is US.

5. Fifth edition (1995)

From this edition of 1995 onwards the phonetics editor has been Michael Ashby. In the preface (p. vi) Michael is said to have overhauled stress treatment of phrasal verbs and idioms. What this act of overhaul entails remains to be investigated in detail.

To find some statements about the underlying model(s) one has to take a look at the back inside cover, which is unpaginated. Here we read: "The first pronunciation given in the dictionary is that of younger speakers of General British (Brit). This includes RP (Received Pronunciation) and a range of similar accents which are not strongly regional. [...] The American pronunciations chosen are as far as possible the most general (not associated with any particular region)."

I would like to have been given an example of a transcription of a lemma illustrating an accent similar to but not identical with RP.

6. Sixth edition (2000)

For this edition Michael Ashby is said to have improved the "representation of American English" (vi). The description of the pronunciation model(s) for this edition is practically identical with the wording in the 5th ed., so I won't repeat it here.
The label for the American English pron is AmE.

7. Seventh edition (2005)

No relevant changes in the description of the pron models. The label for the American English pron is now NAmE.

8. Eighth edition (2010)

No changes as regards pron model descriptions.

Starting with the 3rd edition (with the exception of the fourth) the term used for the British English model pronunciation is General British. This notion encompasses RP and some additional accents of low regional marking.

1A name is entered only if credit is explicitly given.
2 The 1948 edition distributed by OUP was a photographic reprint of the dictionary published in Tokyo in 1942 under the title Idiomatic and Syntactic English Dictionary (= ISED).
3Michael Ashby retired from UCL in 2012.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

The dark brown voice of ...

A "dark brown voice" according to Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English (1982: 291) is

The acronym 'P.B.' at the end of the dictionary article stands for Paul C. Beale, editor of the 8th edition of the dictionary, who made this contribution.

According to the scanty sources available to me Patricia Hughes (= PH) was the only female announcer with BBC radio 3 in the 1970s. In 1972 Stephen Hearst (born Hirschtritt, naturalised in 1946 according to The London Gazette) became controller of BBC Radio 3 and held that position till 1978.

credit: BBC

In The Telegraph of the 1st of April 2010 we are told that "Hearst made plain his initial disapproval of Patricia Hughes, the station's only female announcer, demanding that it get rid of "that terrible woman with the Kensington voice" (he later relented)." I wonder why he disliked PH. Was it male chauvinism? I don't know.

Stephen Hearst
credit: photoshot

In a comment to a blog of the 21st of July, 2010, maintained by The Spectator, someone wrote: "Radio 3 used to have a continuity announcer called Patricia Hughes whose voice sounded like dark molasses-somewhere between Marlene Dietrich and Joan Greenwood."

Joan Greenwood
credit: Cine Text/Allstar

There are hardly any photos of PH available in the internet. She must have had a few TV appearances when she introduced the annual promenade concerts. But I don't know when and how often.

Tuesday 27 March 2012

reading the news in a diaphanous negligee - no. 2

For those of you who enjoy Patricia Hughes's voice  here's another sound clip - and this time it's free, unscripted speech -. The recording was made as part of the celebration of the sixtieth anniversary of BBC Radio 3 on the 29th of September 2006. In this sound clip Patricia Hughes reminisces about one particular day in her career as newsreader. Her voice has lost a teeny bit of its velvet character when compared to a recording of her made on the 23rd of January 1978. In the latter recording she introduces performance of the String Quartet No. 2 in C, op. 5 composed by André Tchaikowsky.

1. Introductory remarks to the string Quartet - 1978

2. Reading the news in a diaphanous negligee - 2006(?)
(It's about 3 mins long)

2.1 Culture studies section:

a) Here's a (modern) photograph of the hotel Patricia Hughes talks about, and a map is added to give you an idea about the distance between the hotel and the BBC building.

The Langham, London

b) At about 2:26 Patricia Hughes (= PH) says: "But I do listen to Wigmore Hall sometimes." Wigmore Hall is an Edwardian style concert hall in London. Every week on Mondays a concert is broadcast by BBC Radio 3.
"That's, that's a lunchtime concert ... that's like St. John's." (2:38).
St. John's, built in 1728 and restored after WWII, is a Baroque concert venue where lunchtime concerts are given.

credit: Zefrog

2.2 Phonetic section:
(to be added later)

Monday 26 March 2012

full of the joys of spring

Spring has arrived at Crowd Castle ;-)

German Telekom cloud

The English word cloud (and all other words with a syllable-final voiced obstruent) is one of the shibboleths to give someone away as a German speaker of English. Listen to this advert produced for the German telecommunications company Telekom:

credit: sound by telekomentertain

Said with a German accent cloud sounds like the 3rd person singular present tense indicative form of the German verb klauen (steal, pinch, nick).

Sunday 25 March 2012

Gimson's IPE and the label RP

As I'm about to revise a blog entry of mine (see here) I'm currently giving some books a close reading again. One of them is A.C. Gimson's An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English in its various editions.

A. C. Gimson

The first and second editions first appeared in 1962 and 1970 respectively. They comprised eleven chapters. Ch. 11 bears the title "The Word in Connected Speech" and deals, among other things, with weak forms, elision, liaison. With the appearance of the 3rd edition a twelfth chapter of about 27 pages length was added: "Teaching the Pronunciation of English". Inter alia Gimson writes about the "Choice of Models of Pronunciation". Homing in on the foreign learner and the choice of a basic model for him he points out that RP should be regarded as an evolving mode of pronunciation. Due to the fact that there has been a "considerable dilution in the original concept of the RP speaker" 302), Gimson advises the foreign learner to strive for the "educated speech of the South East of England" (302). And then he makes an almost 'heretical' remark:
"It can of course be claimed that the traditional concept of RP suffers such dilution as a result of the tolerances suggested that a new label should be applied to the model. 'General British' (GB) has been used1 and may supersede the abbreviation RP." (303)
But then, the thought of giving up RP as a label seemed to have been too daring to him, so he (hastily) adds this sentence: "But so widespread in Britain and abroad is the use of the term RP that it is retained in this discussion." (303) ... Phew! Escaped by the skin of his teeth!

S. Ramsaran

This 'heresy' was repeated in the fourth edition (1989:316), when Susan Ramsaran (/ˈrɑːmsərən/) had become responsible and even in the fifth edition (1994:272) for which Alan Cruttenden had taken over the baton. But it got a different twist in the sixth edition of 2001:

"It might [no longer "can"] be claimed that RP as a model of British English has been so diluted by the admission of the notion of Regional RPs that it should be wholly superseded by regional standards as targets for the foreign learner. Thus London Regional RP (= 'Estuary English' [...]) has been claimed by some to be an emerging new standard among British speakers and hence a model towards which foreign learners should aspire, [...]." (298)
Now, this train of thoughts forks off in a totally new direction. Cruttenden, nonetheless, clings to the concept/term of RP throughout the rest of his book.

A. Cruttenden

In its 7th edition of 2008 RP is still considered to be the "principal option for those aiming at a British pronunciation" (317), although Cruttenden mentions other, more or less fuzzy, concepts such as International English and Amalgam English.

I wonder if there's a new edition 'in the pipeline' as the saying goes. Let's see if Crutty will make any major changes as regards RP as a model and/or term on which his book will be based. And what will the term RP be superseded by?

1Gimson mentions Jack Windsor Lewis, who uses this term in his Concise Pronouncing Dictionary of British and American English of 1972.


Saturday 24 March 2012

a new royal 'twig' - no. 3

Some final observations:

5. l-vocalisation (?)
Listen to the word 'possible' which appears twice in her speech. The first version seems to me to illustrate l-vocalisation while the second version does not, which, however, is more like a clear than a dark l.
- "... to live as normally as possible."
- "... to live a life they never thought could be possible."

6. Open variants of /e/ and /æ/
Here's a series of randomly selected words, first /e/-words, then /æ/-words:

Friday 23 March 2012

a new royal 'twig' - no. 2

Some more observations on the duchess's pronunciations:

3. Monophthongisation of /eə/ as in 'share', 'care':

"A view of his that I share ..."
"... a happy place of stability, support and care."

"... it is a shining example of the support and the care ..."

4. happY tensing in 'community', 'importantly', 'stability':
"You as a community have built the treehouse."

"... a happy place of stability, ..."

"Most importantly, it was a family home, ..."

More to come!

Thursday 22 March 2012

a new royal 'twig' - no. 1

The Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton) delivered her first official (maiden) speech since her wedding. On the 19th of March she spoke at the East Anglia Children's Hospice in Ipswich, a hospice she has become patron of.

Let's listen to some of her pronunciation features most of which are quite normal and unsurprising. Particularly for NNSs of English, however, they should be of some interest.

1. Neutralisation of the opposition between /t/ and /ʧ/ before /r/ as in 'patron', 'extraordinary' and 'treehouse':
"Thank you for accepting me as a patron"

"What you have all achieved here is extraordinary."
"You as a community have built the Treehouse."
2. Monophthongisation and lowering of /ɪə/ as in 'here'
"I feel hugely honoured to be here."
"He would love it here."
"What you all have achieved here ..."
"... that is delivered, not just here, ..."
But: "So thank you again for inviting me here today."

More to come!

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Patricia Hughes

In his blog no. 387 Jack Windsor Lewis drops the name of former BBC announcer Patricia Hughes, about whom he writes: "[she] was noted for the elegance of her (old-fashioned) speech."

She joined the BBC as a secretary in 1944. In 1946 she became an announcer on the General Overseas Service, later on the Home Service, Light Programme and Third Programme. She left the BBC in 1962 to look after her family, but returned in 1969. She was allocated to the Radio 3 team where she stayed until she retired in 1983.

Here's a short sound clip for you to enjoy:

There will be a follow-up blog entry!
See also Jack Windsor Lewis's blog entry no. 389 with comments on Patricia Hughes's pronunciation.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

ˈθrɪ- ˈθre- ˈθrə- ˈθrᴧ- ˈθrʊ- -pəni - pəns

On the 17th of March John Maidment 'nostalgisized' about names for old British coins. This nostalgia inspired Jack Windsor Lewis (= JWL) to write a blog entry of his own on the topic concentrating on the pronunciation of the coin to be seen to the left. JWL's musings in turn inspired me (what an earthquake of inspirations!) to consult a few old and recent dictionaries and see what they offer as pronunciation(s) for threepenny or threepence.
It's no longer legal tender and ceased to be so after the 31st of August of 1971.

The Phonetic Dictionary of the English Language of 1913 by Hermann Michaelis and Daniel Jones offers these transcriptions of threepence:

The three vowels /ɪ, e, ʌ/ are  the most frequent ones together with the FOOT vowel, which can be found in the EPD from its 4th ed. of 1937 onward. Only rarely, however, do we come across a schwa in the first syllable, e.g.

- in the Concise Pronouncing Dictionary of British and American English of 1972 by JWL

- in the Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English of 1974 (3rd ed. only!) by A.S. Hornby et al.:

- in the Longman Dictionary of the English Language of 1984:

(u stands for the vowel in luck and i for lick)

- in the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary of 2008 (3rd ed.):

Do you like  ðə θrəpn̩i ˈɒprə?

credit: ???

There are more beautiful terms for coins such as florin, farthing, sovereign, guinea, crown, groat.

Thursday 15 March 2012

Listening quiz

Geoff Lindsey maintains a blog called 'speech talk'. His latest post (of the 14th of March) is about ear training. If you're an EFL speaker, you're invited to take a short test comprising 26 sound clips to be found here. Enjoy and don't be disappointed if you don't catch every word.

Monday 12 March 2012

English Phonetics: Twentieth-Century Development

Routledge announces a phonetics book in six (I repeat: six) volumes to be published in December 2012. The title is English Phonetics: Twentieth-Century Development. It's edited by Beverley S Collins and Inger M Mees. The price is a real bargain: eight hundred pounds. There's a preliminary table of contents available on Routledge's webpages:

Volume I: Afzelius’s pronouncing dictionary

1. J. A. Afzelius, Engelsk Uttalsordbok - A Concise Pronouncing Dictionary of Modern English (Stockholm: Norstedt, 1909).

Volume II: Lloyd James: Broadcasting and Spoken English

2. Arthur Lloyd James, The Broadcast Word (London: Kegan Paul, 1935).

3. Arthur Lloyd James, Our Spoken Language (London: Thomas Nelson, 1938).

Volume III: Lloyd James’s Broadcast English

4. Arthur Lloyd James, Broadcast English I: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding Certain Words of Doubtful Pronunciation, 3rd. edn. (London: BBC, 1935).

5. Arthur Lloyd James, Broadcast English II: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding the Pronunciation of Some English Place Names, 2nd edn. (London: 1930).

6. Arthur Lloyd James, Broadcast English III: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding the Pronunciation of Some Scottish Place Names (London: BBC, 1932).

7. Arthur Lloyd James, Broadcast English IV: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding the Pronunciation of Some Welsh Place Names (London: BBC, 1934).

8. Arthur Lloyd James, Broadcast English V: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding the Pronunciation of Some Northern-Irish Place-Names (London: BBC, 1935).

9. Arthur Lloyd James, Broadcast English VI: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding the Pronunciation of Some Foreign Place-Names (London: BBC, 1937).

10. Arthur Lloyd James, Broadcast English VII: Recommendations to Announcers Regarding the Pronunciation of Some British Family Names and Titles (London: BBC, 1939).

Volume IV: English phonetics including dialectal varieties

11. Le Maître phonétique, forerunner of the present-day Journal of the International Phonetic Association (JIPA), was the official journal of the International Phonetic Association. Edited by Daniel Jones and Paul Passy, and later by A. C. Gimson. All material appeared in phonetic transcription, which, where appropriate, will also be accompanied by an orthographic transcript.

12. Benjamin Dumville, The Science of Speech: An Elementary Manual of English Phonetics for Teachers (London: W. B. Clive (University Tutorial Press), 1909).

13. Ida Ward, The Phonetics of English, 3rd edn. (Cambridge: Heffer, 1939).[why not the 1st ed.?]

Volume V: Landmarks in the study of English intonation
14. H. O. Coleman, ‘Intonation and Emphasis’, Miscellanea Phonetica (Bourg-la-Reine and London: IPA, 1914), 6-25(?). [available online]

15. Harold E. Palmer, English Intonation with Systematic Exercises (Cambridge: Heffer, 1922) (the first edition is reproduced with annotations by Daniel Jones). [available online]

16. J. D. O’Connor and G. F. Arnold, Intonation of Colloquial English, 2nd edn. (London: Longman, 1973.) [why not the 1st ed.?]

Volume VI: Phonetics of English as a foreign language

17. Etsko Kruisinga, A Handbook of Present-day English, Volume I, part 1 (‘English Sounds’) (Utrecht: Kemink, 1919).

18. Jack Windsor Lewis, A Guide to English Pronunciation: For Users of English as a Foreign Language (Oslo etc.: Universitetsforlaget, 1969). [I have an autographed edition]

Friday 9 March 2012

The rahs are amongst us!

You don't know what a rah is? Go to a seminar room at a British redbrick university or at Oxbridge these days and look at the brands some of the students wear. Is it
Abercrombie & Fitch  or
Jack Wills, or do they wear
Ugg boots?
You're likely to have run into rahs. But it's not clothes alone which turns someone into a rah. You've got to listen to their pronunciation as well. Do they say [klɑː:s] with an extra long and extra dark vowel? Do they monophthongise the word year to yah? Does a student who takes time off call it a  [gɑp jɑːː]? Does he use expressions like 'a lash' (drink heavily), 'to chunder' (to vomit). If he does he is most likely a rah.

Where does the word (pronounced /rɑː/) come from? Wikipedia describes it as a slang term "referring to a stereotypical affluent young upper class or upper-middle class person (male or female) in the United Kingdom." OED tells us that rah is a shortening of hurrah, but does not record the meaning described by Wikipedia. Some sources say that rah is an abbreviation of 'rich a***hole'.

A video clip mocking rahs has gained some popularity recently. Watch here on youtube.

Thursday 8 March 2012

My Family

credit: BBC
I'm watching the BBC sitcom My Family. In one scene Susan Harper, the mother, reminds her daughter Janey of an appointment she has with the local council to submit a petition. Janey has tarted herself up, which her mother Susan doesn't like.

Daniela Denby-Ashe as Janey Harper
credit: BBC

So Susan says reproachfully: "You should be wearing an outfit that says: 'Take me seriously' not: 'Take me seriously'" (I deliberately left out any punctuation marks). If you're an EFL learner, how would you say these sentences to get the message across?

The answer will be posted here at a later date (including a sound file illustrating how the actress said the two sentences).

Here's how Susan Harper (played by Zoë Wanamaker) said the two sentences:

Zoë Wanamaker as Susan Harper
credit: ??

Wednesday 7 March 2012


No, AEP does not stand for Auditory Evoked Potential, at least not in this context, but for
Accepted English Pronunciation. It's the title of a book of 123 pages written by Beverley Collins, S. P. den Hollander and Jill Rodd in 1973. What I acquired is the "zevende druk" of 1987. (The eighth impression bears the title Sounding Better with Inger M. Mees as an additional co-author; a CD now comes with the book.) I bought it second-hand (alas, without the cassette, which was not available) because book and cassette are out of print.

The subtitle reveals that the book is directed at NSs of Dutch. It's designed for intermediate and advanced learners of English.

Interestingly, the title contains the adjective 'accepted'. When you replace it by the fairly outdated quasi-synonym 'received', you get Received English Pronunciation. And it was particularly the section on the model of pronunciation this book is based on which I was interested in and which made me buy it.

Paragraph 3 on p. 10 is entitled 'Models for pronunciation'. The accent of English for learners to imitate is called Received Pronunciation and abbreviated to RP. This accent is described as the "speech of the average modern RP speaker" (10) and as "modern English Pronunciation" (7).

More on the contents of this booklet in a future blog entry. There is, by the way, a parallel publication entitled Accepted American Pronunciation by Collins and Mees.

Sunday 4 March 2012

search keywords

The software this blog is based on provides the possibility to see which keywords visitors used to search my blog. Among the keywords of today were:
  • english idioms have the upper hand
  • shifting sands
  • narrow transcription examples
But one of them was fairly puzzling:
  •  "jack windsor lewis" queen
Jack, I didn't know you have any royals in your ancestry!

BTW: The query came from Spain.

    Saturday 3 March 2012

    Bell and vowels

    Sidney Wood has published some interesting thoughts on A M Bell and his vowel articulation model. It would be worthwhile to do a study on the historical development of articulation-based vowel models from the earliest orthoepists to the Cardinal Vowel zenith. If such a history has already been written, let me know.

    Friday 2 March 2012

    new edition on the (distant) horizon

    Routledge advertises the 3rd edition of Practical Phonetics and Phonology by Bev Collins and Inger Mees. Here is what Routledge says about the new features:
    New features of this edition include: new readings by Peter Trudgill and John Wells; a section on English orthography; an appendix of websites dealing with phonetics and accents of English; revised and updated activities and examples. The accompanying CD now includes: British Estuary English and New York English.
    It seems I copied the announcements for the 2nd edition. Sorry for that! Here's what I found on the 3rd ed.:
    Section A: Introduction 1. English Worldwide 2. Phoneme and Allophone 3. Connected Speech and Phonemic Transcription 4. How we Produce Speech 5. Consonant Possibilities 6. Vowel Possibilities Section B: Development 1. Phoneme and Syllable Revisited 2. English Consonants 3. English Vowels 4. Features of Connected Speech 5. Stress and Rhythm 6. Speech Melody Section C: Exploration 1. Accent Variation – General American 2. Accents of British Isles 1: England 3. Accents of British Isles 2: Celtic-Influenced Varieties 4. World Accent Varieties 5. Pronunciation Change: Past, Present, Future 6. Teaching and Learning a Foreign Language Section D: Extension 1. RP – R.I.P? David Abercrombie 2. Attitudes to Accents Daniel Jones 3. Pronunciation Worries David Crystal 4. Helping the Deaf to Hear Dennis Fry 5. Making Computers Talk Peter Ladefoged 6. Covert Associations of Speech Sound Steven Pinker 7. Using Phonetics to Fight Crime Maurice Varney 8. The Rise of ‘Upspeak’ Barbara Bradford 9. How Children Learn the Meaning of Intonation David Crystal.  

    To be published 1st January 2013 (chuckle!).
    The hardback edition will sell like hot cakes for £70.00 (gulp!).

    Re: "British Estuary English". Have I missed something here? Are there Estuary Englishes other than the British chimaera? (This comment refers to the second ed.)

    Thursday 1 March 2012

    doodle of the 29th of February

    2012 is a leap year. Unlike a common year it contains an additional day (the 29th of February). Google's doodle for this day looks like this:

    Frogs? Making music? The association between frog and leap year is easy to form: Frogs leap and 2012 is a leap year (funny ha-ha). The chain of associations between music and 2012 as a leap year is a bit longer: 220 years ago, on the 29th of February of 1792, the Italian composer Gioachino Antonio Rossini was born. He composed operas in the buffo style, but he is historically more important as a composer of opera seria.

    But how is the Italian pronunciation /dʒoaˈkiːno rosˈsiːni/ made palpable to the English tongue? Let's see what LPD3 and EPD18 offer.

    LPD3 EPD18

    Gioachino no entry no entry

    If there's no Gioachino in the dictionaries, maybe there are other words starting with <Gio(a)->? One gets Gioconda, Giotto, Giovanni in both LPD and EPD. In Italian (and, please, correct me if I'm wrong because I do not speak Italian) we have /dʒo-/ as a pronunciation of <Gio->. With the added <a> we get /dʒoa-/, and this is what Forvo offers for Gioachino. When it comes to English the situation is not so straightforward.

    To quote John Wells: "Usually, when English borrows a word from some other modern language, we keep the spelling used in the source language and hesitate about the pronunciation." Sound observation, innit?