Wednesday, 1 June 2011

ə bɔːltɪk kruːz

fə ðə lɑːs tuː wiːks aɪv biːn kʌt ɒf frəm ɪntənet kɒntækt. ðə riːzn ɪz ðət aɪv biːn ɒn hɒlɪdeɪ, ɪn fækt ɒn ə kruːz tə ðə bɔːltɪk.

kruːzɪŋ meɪks fər ə veri rilæksɪŋ hɒlɪdeɪ. ɪts laɪk steɪɪŋ ɪn ə lʌkʃəri həʊtel wɪð ɔːl miːlz ən entəteɪnmənts ɪŋkluːdɪd. ən əz wel əz ðæt, məʊs mɔːnɪŋz ju weɪk ʌp ɪn ə njuː pleɪs. wɒt kʊd bi naɪsə?

ɑː ʃɪp wəz ðə dʒuːəl əv ðə siːz (Jewel of the Seas), əv ðə rɔɪəl kærɪbiːən laɪn.

wiː stɑːtɪd frəm hærɪdʒ (Harwich), ə siːpɔːt wɪtʃ aɪ hædnt vɪzɪtɪd sɪns ðə deɪz wen ðə prɪnsɪpl weɪ frəm lʌndən tə nɔːðn jʊərəp wəz baɪ reɪl ən siː feri.

ɑː fɜːs pɔːt əv kɔːl wəz kəʊpənheɪɡən, əz tʃɑːmɪŋ əz evə. rɑːðə ðən teɪk ə peɪd ʃɔːr ɪkskɜːʃn wi meɪd ɑːr əʊn. wi wɔːkt ɪntə taʊn pɑːs ðə stætʃuː əv ðə lɪtl mɜːmeɪd ən ðə rɔɪəl pæləs, ðen əlɒŋ ðə pɪdestriənaɪzd strɔɪət (Strøget).

neks keɪm stɒkhəʊm. ə swiːdɪʃ frend həd kaɪndli əɡriːd tə miːt əs ðeər ət ðə kiːsaɪd, ən wi went təɡeðə baɪ bʌs ən træm tə vɪzɪt ði əʊpən eə mjuːziːəm kʌm zuː, skænsən (Skansen).

ɪn helsɪŋki ɪt wəz reɪnɪŋ. wi steɪd ɒn ðə ʃɪp.

ðə fɜːðɪs pɔɪnt əv ɑː dʒɜːni wəz snt piːtəzbɜːɡ (St Petersburg, Санкт-Петербург). ə vɪzɪt tə ðə feɪməs eəmɪtɑːʒ (Hermitage, Эрмитаж) pæləs ən ɑːt ɡæləri wəz ʌnmɪsəbl, əv kɔːs, ən wiː ɔːlsəʊ tʊk ən ɪkskɜːʃn tə ðə rɔɪəl pæləs əv piːtəhɒf (Peterhof, Петергоф), wɪð ɡɑːdnz fʊl əv ðə məʊs mɑːvləs faʊntɪnz.

ɒn ðen tə tælɪn (Tallinn), wɪtʃ pruːvd tə bi ðə haɪ pɔɪnt əv ðə həʊl kruːz. ɪts laɪk ə feəriteɪl taʊn wɪð pɪktʃəresk tʃɜːtʃɪz ən kɑːslz, naʊ wʌns əɡen ðə kæpɪtl əv ən ɪndipendənt estəʊniə.

ɑː lɑːs stɒp wəz ɡɒθnbɜːɡ (Gothenburg, Göteborg), weər ɪt wəz reɪnɪŋ əɡen.

ðə wəz wʌn mɔː deɪ ət siː, ən wi wə bæk ɪn hærɪdʒ, rilækst ən rifreʃt.

ðər ə sm mɔː fəʊtəʊz hɪə.

53 comments:

  1. Thanks for this, John. I think it took me 5 minutes to read this. I think I was thrown off initially by /ɑː/ instead of /aʊə/. Using punctuation with IPA is also tricky - but question marks, full stops and commas are used - but no hyphen, so I had to read 'peɪd ʃɔːr ɪkskɜːʃn' twice.

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  2. I'm new to phonetics here, so this might sound like a silly question: Doesn't the IPA /e/ stand for a close-mid front vowel, as in 'cake' or 'place' (without diphthonging to ɪ)? It seems to be used here in places where it should be open-mid, i.e. /ɛ/, as in /frɛnd/, /vɛri/

    Am I mistaken about these characters, or is it some sort of broad-transcription shorthand which makes easier to type/read? If so, wouldn't that cause some ambiguities with minimal pairs such as very-vary, sell-sale, etc.

    On another note, I find it hard to believe you don't use a diphthong at all for [our], not even /ɑə/ or /ɑʌ/? And what about [hour], do RP speakers pronounce it /ɑː/ too??

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  3. Yu Han: in the transcription system used by most British phoneticians for RP and similar accents, /e/ stands for the vowel of DRESS. This vowel is typically somewhat opener than cardinal [e] and somewhat closer than cardinal [ɛ]. Its quality is much the same as that of the starting point of the diphthong /eɪ/ in FACE.
    In other varieties of English things are often different. In New Zealand English, the DRESS vowel is closer than the starting point of FACE, but in American English typically opener.

    Most EFL learners don't wish to know this. Japanese learners, for example, can satisfactorily use their /e/ vowel (え) both for DRESS and for the starting point of FACE. I think Koreans can, too (ㅔ).

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  4. I also find ðə wəz for there was a bit strange myself.

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  5. Yu Han: your other point relates to our. As with many people, for me this is an exact homophone of ah and of the name of the letter R. In hour, on the other hand, I have aʊə or a smoothed/compressed reduction thereof (aə, aː).

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  6. ...and this is what was so fascinating about the old Maître Phonétique, where everything was in phonetic transcription. It can be an eye-opener to see how other people pronounce things.

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  7. Yu Han, the use of e for the sound in FACE is either the representation of an accent in which that is the actual sound, or the Kenyon and Knott (K&K) tradition of using e to stand in for eɪ because American English does not use e on its own. K&K thought that was efficient, or something like that. They knew it was actually a diphthong, and I wish they had chosen to represent it accurately. (Same with using o when they knew the sound was closer to oʊ.

    The DRESS vowel in non-regional American English is definitely ɛ, and the convention of using e to indicate that sound drives most of my clients bonkers. Daniel Jones used e rather than ɛ because he had to use somethinɡ for a sound between the two. Had he used diacritical marks that would have made sense. As it is, we are stuck with an outmoded convention for representing the sound in DRESS in many pronouncing dictionaries, and also in Edith Skinner's Speak with Distinction,

    I hope this helps, rather than making things worse!

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  8. I should point out that everybody I know (including me!) "massages"' the IPA a bit to serve their own purposes. In Accents of English and LPD, John gives an explanation of the conventions he is using at the beginning of the books, and Kenyon and Knott do the same in their dictionary - which is very out of date, but a useful snapshot of how some American English was pronounced in the mid-20th century.

    Reading introductory material is very useful for translating from the transcriptions!

    jɑːn | aɪm sʌʊ ɡlæd juːv hæd səʧ ə ɡɹeɪt veɪˈkeɪʃn̩ ‖ jɚ pɪkʧɚz ɑɚ ˈbjuːt̬ɪfʊɫ ‖

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  9. Wonderful post! -I only miss the stress marks but I hope you write similar posts in the future.

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  10. I'm interested by some of your pronunciations. Particularly [ɪkskɜ:ʃn] rather than [ɪkskɜ:ʒn], and [gɒθnbɜ:g], which I would normally pronounce /gəʊtənbuərg/ in English, but am somewhat in the habit of mentally pronouncing as [jøtəbɔrg]... which is probably not how they *actually* pronounce it but still. Strange.

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  11. dʒɑn, aɪðɚ stɪk wɪθ aɪ pi eɪ sɪmbəɫz ɚ doʊnt̚. jɚ ju̟zɪŋ "e" ɪnstɛd əv "ɛ" ɪz sɪmpli ɹɑŋ, ən aɪ doʊn keɚ wɑt kənvɛnʃənz ju brɪts ju̟z.

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  12. Thanks everyone for the helpful remarks, it just so happens that in my accent (Singaporean English), the FACE vowel tends to a monophthong with hardly any change in quality. Using /eɪ/ is percieved as somewhat affected or foreign. In that case, I think this convention would be rather misleading or imprecise.

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  13. Another interesting fact is that we idiosyncratically pronounce 'egg' and 'bed' with a FACE vowel, which does not apply to any others from the DRESS set.
    It still sounds weird to hear /ɛɡz/ and also /floʊə/ from almost everywhere else in the world, instead of /eɡz/ and /flʌ/ which I'm so used to.

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  14. 'wɤndɹ̩fl̩. lɐɪk 'ɹidɐŋ ðə fɹ̩st ə'dɐʃn̩ əv l mɛtʀ̥ fɔnetik...

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  15. Actually Yu Han, /ɛ/ can become /eɪ/ before g in North American English.

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  16. ðɐs ɐz fɤn! lɛts ɔːl ɹɐɪt ɐn ˈɐɪˈpiˈeː fɹəm nɤʏ ɔːn!

    a'pɑlədʒiz fɹ̩ ði ˌɐdɪosɐŋˈkɹat̬ɐk tɹanskɹɐpʃn̩ stɐɪl bae ðə weː. a hop jɪ kɐn ɔːl ɤndɹ̩'stand mɪ 'aksɛnt.

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  17. interesting...
    I do love phonetics... :)

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  18. @Yu Han:

    Use of /e/ for the DRESS vowel is a convention: one that, in my opinion, has far outlived its usefulness but continues on its own momentum in some circles.

    You might compare the convention of using /ʌ/ for the STRUT vowel, although in many contemporary accents it's closer to [ɐ] or the like. The latter convention, however, causes far less confusion than /e/ for DRESS.

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  19. @Amy Stoller:

    jɑːn | aɪm sʌʊ ɡlæd juːv hæd səʧ ə ɡɹeɪt veɪˈkeɪʃn

    Has Professor Wells gone native?

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  20. aɪ ɔːlwɪz laɪk tʃraɪɪŋ tʊ kɒmpɛː ðɪs sɔːt əv θɪŋg wɪð haʊ aɪd tʃranskraɪb ðə seːm pasɪdʒ.

    ɒbviːəs dɪfrəntsəz ɪnkluːd ðə tʃrap baθ splɪt ən ðə nɔːθ foəs mɜːdʒə.

    aɪ oːlsoː noːtɪst dɪfrəntsəz ɪn ðə juːs əv wiːk ɪ. aɪ seː əd ən əz nɒt ɪd ən ɪz bət aɪ oːlsoː seː palɪs ən sɪnt piːtəzbɜːg.

    ɞðə wɜːdz aɪ seː dɪfrəntli ɪnkluːd boːltɪk ən dʒuːl.

    (ðɪs ɪz ə fɛːlɪ brɔːd tʃranskrɪpʃn. aɪ hoːp ðər ɑːnt tuː mɛnɪ blɞndɞz.)

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  21. This should lose a few people.

    ði ɔ:nlɪ wʊn ða? səpraɪsd mi: wɒz "stætʃuː". aɪ ɪmadʒɪn prəfɛsə wɛlz əz se:ɪn "stætjuː".

    du: ju: se: [Dewsbury] az dʒu:zbrɪ? ɪ?s fʊnɪ wɛn aɪ hiə ðɪs, az [Dewsbury] ɪz ə taʊn wɪð ə lɒt ə mʊslɪmz bʊ? nɒ? mɛnɪ dʒu:z.

    @ JHJ: haʊ wʊd ju: raɪ? [serious] ɒ: [previous] ɪn IPA? aɪd raɪ? [sɵri:əs] and [prɵvi:əs], bʊ? dɔ:n? nɒ:məlɪ ju:z [ɵ] ɪn jɒ:kʃə fənɒlədʒɪ.

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  22. @JHJ:

    ju siːm t hæv ən ˈɪntʃɻɛstɪŋ ˌdɪstʃɻɪˈbjuːʃn̥ əv ˈsɜətⁿn̊ wɜɻdz ɪn ðə θɔːt ˈlɛkikl̥ sɛt bɪfɔəɻ ɛl. "ɔːlwɪz" ɪz əz ɪksˈpɛktɪd bɐt "oːlso" ənd "boːltɪk" ə'pʰiə tə hæv ðə gɤʊt vaʊəl

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  23. ^^ Actually I say "previous" as [pri:'vi:əs]. I had another word like "serious" that I noticed using a [ɵ] in the first syllable, but can't remember what it was now and wrote the wrong word earlier.

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  24. @Ed: I was surprised by "statue" too: that's definitely in my /tj/ class. I would transcribe "serious" with [ɪː] (phonemically /ɪə/) but I don't have a very strong accent: if anything I probably exaggerated it above.

    @vp: THOUGHT to LOT before /l/+obstruent (except where a morpheme boundary intervenes: "balls" and "called" retain /ɔː/), which I believe is quite a common feature (about 50/50 in one of JW's polls), followed by merger of LOT and GOAT (perceived as the latter) before dark /l/.

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  25. It sounds like it was a great trip! Thanks for this, it's the best way to learn pronunciation, but I found it difficult not to have stress marks, why was that? (I apologise for my ignorance, I'm just a person who loves the English language, I have no formal knowledge about phonetics).

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  26. This is so awesome, guys. Keep it up! I swear I can actually hear your accents clearly when I read your transcriptions. Hahaha. Pete sounds Scottish to me.

    sɔʊ, dəʊ aɪ wɪn ə pɹaɪz əf aɪ geʔt ɪʔt ɹʌɪʔt?

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  27. Very interesting exercise for the French English teacher to be that I am.

    Just a quick question to all regular readers of Mr. Wells' blog: what tool do you use to write using the IPA? Is there a converter? Or do you use the special characters in Microsoft Word? (Which can get pretty long and boring.)

    Thanks in advance,
    Clem.

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  28. Ah, someone else from Singapore here - Yu Han! Although I don't think it's always the case that 'using /eɪ/ is perceived as somewhat affected or foreign'. I have the diphthong myself, but can style switch to accommodate speakers who use the monophthong.

    @reuog: I would say['gɒθnbɜ:g] for Gothenburg. It has to be an anglicised pronunciation because the written form itself is English. I would find it strange in the German-style pronunciation you gave /gəʊtənbuərg/. Göteborg, the Swedish form, is pronounced /jœtəˈbɔrɪ/.

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  29. Clém, if you look at my blog you'll find a lot of interesting links for writing in IPA. Just click on one of the links labelled "IPA Chart" under "Useful links":

    http://alex-ateachersthoughts.blogspot.com

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  30. ˌθæŋks frəmˈspeɪn| ̥ælɪks

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  31. aɪ ˌθɪŋk ɪtədəvbɪnˌbetə ˌnɒt təˌjuːz ðəˌlɒŋ ˈbɑː‖
    səʊ ˌθæŋks frəmˈspeɪn ̥ælɪks

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  32. I too would have expected pælɪs, which is also my preference, and the lack of stress marking even where it's not redundant suggests this is not intended to be TEFL-orientated.

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  33. pit, nɐɪs te si ɐɪpieː fɹ̩nɛnst bae!
    dɐd jɪ ɐnˈtɛnd a'pɑlədʒiz fɹ̩nɛnst a hop?

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  34. @Clém

    http://ipa.typeit.org/full/

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  37. @Pete
    Sorry, that's a'pɑlədʒiz fɹ̩nɛnst a hop.

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  38. @vp
    ðæts ðə bɛst aɪv ɛvə sɪ̯in/sɪi̯n! aɪ mɐst ədmɪt aɪd ɔːmɜʊs gɪvn ɐp tʃɛkɪŋ aʊt aɪpieɪ kærəktər ɛntrɪ saɪts, ən dɪdnt fɒlɜʊ jɔə lɪŋk əntɪl aɪd rɐn aʊt əv ɐðər ɪmiːdĭət θɪŋz tə dʊu. aɪ heɪt kærəktə pɪkəz, bət wɛn aɪ sɔː ðɪs saɪt hæd kiːbɔːd ɛntrɪ ɒpʃnz aɪ stɑːtɪd traɪɪŋ ɪt aʊt, ən ðɛə vɛrɪ iːzɪ tə lɜːn, ɔːlðɜʊ aɪm juːstə maɪ ɜʊn ɛm ɛs wɜd ʃɔːtkɐts n ɔːtɜʊkərɛkts.

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  39. @ JHJ: That's a good suggestion of ɪ:, although this feels like a short vowel for me. I would normally transcribe my NEAR vowel as /iə/ rather than /ɪə/, which is the combination used by Stoddart, Upton & Widdowson in "Urban Voices" for Sheffield. I think that this can be applied across much of Northern England. As you showed in your transcription, the first element is often lengthened to produce [i:ə].

    @ Glen Gordon: where are you from? Your IPA part doesn't give much away, but I'd guess somewhere in the Midlands.

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  40. præps ðæt ʃəd bi sɪ̯iːn/sɪˑi̯n. sɜːtnlɪ ðɛəz sɐmθɪŋ fɐnɪ ɡɐʊɪŋ ɒn wɪð ðæt haɪ fɔːl, bət ɒbvɪslɪ aɪm traɪntə bi tuː klɛvə.

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  41. Ed, are you being mischievous with Glen?

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  42. No, was just trying to guess. I've clicked on his username now and seen how wrong I was.

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  43. @Ed:

    pɹaɪz vs. ɹʌɪʔt might have been a giveaway.

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  44. Excellent, thank you all for the quick links. I will try puzzling my non-API reading friends with these tools :)

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  45. @vp: No, I don't think John has gone native; I just had a thinko. :-)

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  46. Glen, I doubt if you say /dəʊ/ for do.

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  48. Fab post. Thank you John. Sounds like you had a great trip! I pronounce very many words differently to you! (especially 'our') Out of interest, how would you classify your accent? (RP?)

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  49. John,
    I'm curious if your accent lacks /ʒ/ entirely, outside of unassimilated loanwords? What of ‹-ure› words like pleasure?
    I've always been surprised by the voiceless /ʃ/ in words like /ɪkskɜːʃn/ (not that I would notice the difference in actual speech), and wonder if it's age-specific. Also, does it result from a historical devoicing of /ʒ/, or was the precoalescent cluster itself a voiceless /sj/ in such dialects?

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  50. I think it's bound to be strongly age-related. John probably won't answer a question this long after his entry, but I can refer you to the preference poll on p48 of his LPD3, where you can see that for 'Asia' 91% of AmE speakers have ˈeɪʒə but only 64% of BrE speakers do, the proportion of them who do rising steeply in inverse proportion with their age. I think this is because the increasing dominance of AmE has had an increasing influence on successive age cohorts of BrE speakers studied by the poll. I think the same influence can be seen in increasing numbers of -sion words like 'version'. Thus there's no reason to hypothesize a historical devoicing of /ʒ/ in 'excursion': compare 'excursive', 'excursory', and for 'discursion', 'discursive', 'discursory', for 'incursion', 'incursive', 'incursory', and for 'precursion', 'precursive', 'precursory' etc. I see OED sometimes gives the US variant in -kərʒn, but not for 'excursion'.

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  51. John Cowan: "Glen, I doubt if you say /dəʊ/ for do."

    Reason being? I certainly do NOT nor EVER say /du/ with the full "u" as I use in French. Never. So whatever it is, it's just not /u/ properly speaking.

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