Saturday 26 January 2013

Cameron's heart and sol [sic]

On the 23rd of January the British Prime Minister David Cameron gave an EU-shaking speech in which he talked about the future of the European Union and Britain's relationship with it.
Jack Windsor Lewis drew my attention to a particular utterance in this speech: "I will campain for it with all my heart and all my soul"
Please listen to this extract and concentrate on the pronunciation of the word "soul".

credit: The Prime Minister's Office

What does the pronunciation of 'soul' sound like to you? Is it Refined RP, General RP, Modern London English, Cockney, ...?

Wednesday 23 January 2013

phonetic type of red wine

credit: Oliver232
I am, I must confess, a regular drinker of red wine. There are all sorts of red wine; some of the commoner types you are likely to encounter are:
  • Merlot
  • Cabernet Sauvigon
  • Pinot Noir
I have recently been informed that in Australia a new grape was developed:
  • Pinot More
It's particularly recommendable to senior male connoisseurs.

Monday 21 January 2013

John Trim

We mourn the death of John L. M. Trim who died on the 19th of January 2013 in Barking Hall at the age of 88.

One of the books that most of us will certainly be familiar with is this:

Sunday 20 January 2013

a sound question

Do you recognise this snippet of music. It's the signature tune of which BBC broadcast?

Hint no. 2: The presenter's name is /sə pætrɪk mɔː/.
Hint no.3: The series title is /ðə ˈskaɪ ət ˋnaɪt/.
And the music?

Monday 7 January 2013

Archbishop of Canterbury

credit: cliffandally

I watched Goodbye to Canterbury, a broadcast written and spoken by The Most Rev and Rt Hon the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams1. At one time during his presentation at about 42:37 he said:
[...] it then seemed a little bit of a luxury just to sound off from a distance.
Here's the sound file:

 credit: BBC

The word luxury was pronounced /ˈlʌgzəri/ (with /g/ and /z/ being devoiced). Was this a slip of the tongue, had he mixed up luxury and luxuriance or is it an idiosyncrasy of his? Or is it a variant I am not aware of? Let's see what EPD18 and LPD3 have to say.


lʌɡ-, ləɡ-
-ˈʒʊə-, -ˈʒɔː-, -ˈzʊə-, -ˈzjɔː-

lʌk-, lək-


lʌɡ-, ləɡ-, lʌk-
-ˈzjʊər-, -ˈʒʊər-

-ˈsjʊər-, -ˈʃʊər-






§ = British English non-RP

None of the two dictionaries offers /ˈlʌgzəri/ as a variant pronunciation. So the questions remain open until more evidence is available.

1 Dr Williams stepped down from the position of Archbishop on the 31st of December 2012.

Friday 4 January 2013

search for the carrot

I guess all of you are familiar with the list that is produced by your browser when you search for a term such as "alveolar tap":
The advantage of such a list is the speed with which it can be displayed on your screen. 

But there are alternatives. One of them is called clustering. By this method the results can be displayed in a more structured manner. Documents that contain the search term are assigned to categories/topics. To be able to do this a search engine has to classify documents by analysing its contents statistically and linguistically. The clustering quality naturally rests on the quality of the classification algorithm.

Here is what you get when you search for "alveolar tap" using a search engine that relies on this clustering technique:
Give it a try and go to carrotsearch.