The End-of-Semester Test took place on Monday 2nd December from 1 to 3 pm in Aula 10, VC. 

Any student who missed the Test should contact me to arrange another time to take it. There will be a possibility to do so in January (Jan. 14th), but it might be possible for those of you who were unexpectedly prevented from doing the Test today through illness or transport problems to take it when my 1st year Sounds Group does their Test on Friday 13th December.

In order to know the result of your Test, you should book an appointment via the Choice file Interviews for End-of-Semester Test  to come to look at your test with me and find out if you need to repeat it in January and, if so, what you need to work on especially in order to reach the required level to pass it. These appointments will begin on Monday 9th December and continue the following week. Each student should book a time when it is convenient for them to come. The appointments should last approx. 10 minutes each.

Lesson 9 (25.11.19)

Today was our last formal lesson. It is also International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, so we began the lesson by thinking about this very serious issue and watched a video created by women to both protest about violence and to express their determination to ‘break the chain’ of violence against women by calling public attention to it and refusing to accept it. I have put up links to two videos in our section of the Moodle page. We also looked at some very sobering statistics about the amount of violence towards women every year in Italy.

We began by going through a very brave volunteer’s Presentation of the main points of the David Crystal chapter you had read for Homework (well done Chiara!) and going through some more of the main points, especially the status of regional varieties and accents in the late 19th and most of the 20th centuries as copared with the changes in this over the last thirty years and the importance of the roles of social mobility and (strangely!) call centres in this change. However, the stigmatization of regional varieties has not completely disappeared as we saw later when we went over Regionalism.

We then went back to the characteristics of Irish English, which we had not had time to do last week.

The Dublin accent shows none of the Scottish influences that characterise Northern Irish English.

 Rhotic: the post-vocalic 'r' is ismilar to the English South West variety in Bristol: 

– retroflex: tip of tongue bends back towards hard palate /ɻ/. The RP centring diphthongs /ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ become /ɪɹ/ /eɹ/ /ʊɹ/

 /ɒ/ becomes /ɑ/ and /ɔ:/ becomes /ɑ:/

/aɪ/ becomes /ɒɪ/ (almost /ɔɪ/): ‘while’ (RP /waɪl/) is /wɒɪl/.

/eɪ/ and /əʊ/ become shorter, almost monopthongs

/ʊ/ and /ʌ/ tend not to be distinct (foot-strut)

/ɜ:/ not present, replaced by short vowels with /r/:

‘firm’ (RP /fɜ:m/) becomes /fɪrm/;

‘Germans’ (RP /ˈʤɜ:mnz/) becomes /ˈʤermnz/;

‘work’ (RP /wɜ:k/) becomes /wʊrk/

/a/ rather than /e/ in ‘any’, anyone

/ð/ and /θ/ become dental stops /d/ and /t/. So ‘true’ (RP /tru:/ and ‘through’ (RP /θru:/ )become homophones: /tru/

/h/ is present and /p/, /t/, /k/ are very aspirated.


‘Hot news perfect tense’ (as in Northern Irish English)

To refer to situations or events in the very recent past:

She is after spilling the milk (Standard English: She has just spilt the milk)

From Irish

Habitual do + be/bees:

She does be reading books (often)

The boys bees up late at night

Or ‘-s’ for 1st person singular:I gets awful anxious about the kids when they’re away

‘for to’ infinitives, most often for purpose:

He went to Dublin for to buy a car

Standard English: He went to Dublin to buy a car (as in Northern Irish English)

‘Till’ in the sense of ‘in order that’:

“Come here till I tell you”

Standard English: Come here so that I can tell you


It’s to Glasgow he’s going

(Standard English: He’s going to Glasgow

It should be remembered that in all four of these countries of the British Isles there is an indigenous language which is not English.

Scotland: Gaelic; Scots

Wales: Cymru

Northern Ireland: Ulster Scots/Ullans

Ireland: Irish

This week’s material was ‘Uptalk’ or ‘Upspeak’ and Regionalism. The first of these is the use of a rising intonation for statements which has become increasinlgy common in UK English over the last twenty years or so. Generally Standard English and RP uses a falling intonation for statements and a rising intonation for questions. Perter Roach thinks it is a passing fashion, while David Crystal is quite positive about it and thinks it is ‘succinct’ because it allows the use of a statement and a question at the same time and because it re-inforces group unity.However, rising intonation on statements is also one of the characteristics of women’s language (later powerless language) identified by Robing Lakoff (Language and Women's Place, 1975) along with hedging and hypercorrectness, where it displays insecurity and a knowledge of being the non-dominant gender – so there may be a downside to this language trait!
There is no certainly where it comes from and often US and Australian television series are held responsible. However, Welsh English, Scottish English, Northern Irish English and Irish English all use rising intonation for questions, so it seems more probable that emigrants from these countries took it with them to the US and to Australia and New Zealand, as well, perhaps, as bringing it to England.

Regionalism is the lack of prestige granted to regional varieties of English in the UK and the preference and prestige given to Standard English and Received Pronunciation. Even though there have been changes over the last decades of the 20th century and the first decades of the 21st (as outlined in David Crystal’s chapter), the idea that access to Education and Employment requires the former rather than Regional accents and dialects remains. We looked at the “corrections” imposed by a North East area head teacher on her primary school pupils to eliminate their Gerodie pronunciation and dialect forms in order not to be “disadvantaged” and at a parent’s response that she agreed because “I want my boys to have the best upbringing possible and that includes knowing how to speak properly.”

Because today most of the speaking which is carried out in English is carried out by non-native speakers, the dilemma exists as to which English to teach to foreign learners: is it worth teaching Standard (British) English and Received Pronunciation when these are used by such a very small proportion of the speakers in English today? This leads also to the consideration of World Englishes and International English which will be the subject of the 2nd Semester course for those who decide to take it.

We then spent some time on details of the Test and the Papers. The Test will be short, with short answer questions (not essay questions and not mutiple choice), and is intended to check that you have absorbed what we have been doing during the course: Phonemes, Intonation, Regional Varieties of English, Register, ’Uptalk’ and Regionalism. I have divided the class into two separate groups to take the Test (since our room is quite small and I don’t want you to be bothered by the temptation to cheat by looking at someone else’s paper). I have put the groups up in our section of the Moodle page. Too late to change now! Obviously, no materials apart from your brains and a pen will be used during the Test. All mobile ‘phones will be placed on the front desk for the duration of the Test and there will be no talking, peeping, collaborating or copying. Anyone who commits any of these forbidden acts will have their Test invalidated.

For the papers, they should be:

3000 words

Typed (on computer)

One side of paper or both sides of paper according to your own choice

1½ spacing

At least 12 font

Serif font (serif font like this, sans serif font like this)

Respect paragraphing conventions in English (either short indentation from left-hand margin for first word of new paragraph or complete blank line between paragraphs).

For References:

Short references within text (surname author(s) date of publication of work: page refs for information referred to):

(Smith 2012: 104-5)

References section at end of paper with complete bibliographical references, arranged in alphabetical order by author’s surname:

Smith, J (2012) ‘The Death of RP?’, in Language Today (44), 100-144

Smith, J (2016) The Revival and Resurrection of RP London, Routledge

There should be a Cover page with:

Title of paper

Your name

Title of course

Name of Teacher

Date: Semester, A.A.

Use (and quote) a minimum of 2, maximum of 10, Sources. I suggest you use the On-line sites with free access to reputable academic papers by reputable scholars:



I shall leave a photocopy of the book English Accents & Dialects, Hughes, Trudgill & Watt, 5th edn. London, Hodder 2012 at Copisteria X. You can copy just the section(s) you need for your topic.

There is a copy available in the Library, but it’s an older edition.

I shall also leave photocopies of the sections of English in the British Isles (David Britain) on Welsh English, Scottish English, orther Irish English and Irish English in Copisteria X for anyone who wants to do their paper on one of these Englishes. You are also welcome to come to consult with me for other sources.

Remember, your topic must be approved by me before you start working on your paper. You can come to consult during my office hours (Tuesdays 11.30-1.30 and 3-5pm), or after the Test next week.

Deadline for papers: January 15th.

Homework for next week’s lesson (02.12.19)

(i) Read ‘Regionalism’ and ‘Regionalism in Academic life’ and watch one of the videos of Katie Edwards, all in our section of the Moodle page

(ii) Revise for the Test next week.


Lesson 8 (18.11.19)

We had several absences due to the bad weather over the weekend. I won’t count the absences of those who communicated this as the reason for missing the lesson to me in the number of absences leading towards Make Up Work. For those students who were forced to miss the lesson for this reason, try to catch up by reading these details of the lessons and asking your fellow students or me if there are things which are not clear.

We began by talking about the Pam Ayres video you watched for Homework and particularly about the “country bumpkin” stereotype which some people immediately associated with her (mild) West Country accent. The Devon recording which you had listened to was much stronger. The areas of the West Country, Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset, still retain an association with rural lifestyle and lack of sophistication for those who live in other areas of the UK.

We went over the Listening paragraph and its characteristics of Formality, Semi-formality and Informality. The overall tone is probably semi-formal, although there are some Formal aspects such as some Latinate lexis, impersonal and passive forms. The presence of acknowledged writers and readers with the use of the ‘you’ and ‘we’ pronouns and verbs, of phrasal verbs and contractions all revealed more of a Semi-formal tone and style. The personal, humourous asides (in brackets) also contributed to this, creating a more personal effect and a relationship between the authors, text and readers. We also went through some slides on the characterstics and appropriate uses of Formal, Semi-formal and Informal Registers for both written and spoken texts. Formal Register tends to use more nouns and noun phrases than informal Register which is more characterised by verbs and verb phrases. We saw that the age and social status of the Writer/Speaker and the Reader/Listener were very important here, with respect to whether they were similar or different. We ‘translated’ the text from Semi-formal to (extremely!) Formal together.

We also went over the characteristics of Northern Irish English which you had listened to for Homework. We shall do Irish English (Dublin) next week, as we ran out of time this week. Northern Irish is used in Northern Ireland, which is also known as Ulster and sometimes as the Six Counties. It has been part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland since the 1921 Government of Ireland Act which established the Irish Free State, Eire or Ireland as a separate sovereign state while Ulster remained part of the United Kingdom. The presence of English, Scottish and Welsh people in Ireland was the effect of The “Plantation of Ulster” during the 16th-17th centuries when thousands of people from England, Scotland and Wales moved to Northern Ireland to become landlords of land taken away from Irish people. This was to all extents and purposes a colonisation which originally intended to replace the Irish with a British population! These people brought their Englishes with them, the Scots established themselves mainly in the north of Northern Ireland) and the English people from the West Midlands and South West England mainly in the south of Northern Ireland. Northern Irish English reveals the influence of these Englishes as well as that of Irish English. There are 3 languages with official status in Northern Ireland:


Ulster Scots (Ullans)


Together with Geordie, Northern Ireland English is considered to be the most difficult accent to understand by speakers from other areas of Britain. The most characteristic features are that it is Rhotic, with a Post-vocalic ‘r’ as a retroflex approximant: similar to RP /r/, but with tip of tongue pulled further back, and that its Intonation has rising tones on statements rather than Standard English falling tones.

Vowels are similar to Scottish vowels. Tend to be short before /p/, /t/, /k/, /ʧ/, long before other consonant phonemes.

The /aʊ/ becomes very close to /aɪ/ is the most stereotypical feature of Northern Irish.

/aɪ/ becomes very close to /ɛɪ/ and /i:/ lengthens almost to /eɪ/ so that ‘meat’ and ‘mate’ are homophones.

For the dental fricatives, /θ/ becomes /h/ in initial and medial positions: ‘I think’ (RP /aɪ θɪŋk/) becomes /aɪ hɪŋk/;

‘kind of thing’ (RP /kaɪnd əv θɪŋ/ becomes /ˈkaɪndə hɪŋ/

and inter-vocal /ð/ often disappears: ‘mother’ (RP /’mʌðə/ becomes /ˈmɔ:əɻ/ . In some speakers, the Irish stopping of the dental fricatives is used:

/θ/ goes to /t/ and /ð/ goes to /d/: ‘I think’ (RP /aɪ θɪŋk/) becomes /aɪ tɪŋk/.

‘-ing’ is /ɪn/

/h/ is present

There is the reverse foot-strut division: some RP /ʊ/ words have /ʌ/ in Northern Irish: ‘wood’ (RP /wʊd/) becomes /wʌd/.

Palatalised /k/ - ‘can’ (RP / kæn/) becomes /kʲɑ:n/.

With respect to syntax and grammar: there is the ‘Hot news perfect tense’ to refer to situations or events in the very recent past:

‘A young man’s only after getting shot out there’ which in Standard English would be: A young man has just been shot out there

and Northern Subject Rule that is the use of ‘-s’ ending for verbs with plural subjects, under certain conditions: “My parents knows the Keenans”

usually not for ‘they’, unless pronoun separated from verb by other elements in sentence: “They have behaved well in general and is clear of censure”

‘for to’ infinitives, most often for purpose.

Frequent use of tag phrases: ‘so it is’, ‘so it was’, ‘so she did’, etc.


‘Aye’ for ‘yes’

quare – very

wain – child

till – to (direction)

wee – small

thrawn – moody

neb – nose

smur - drizzle

daunder – wander aimlessly

craic – talk, conversation

oxters - armpits

Homework for next lesson (25.11.19)

(i) Read the article “Language Developments in British English”, David Crystal in The Cambridge Companion to Modern British Culture (Cambridge, CUP, 2010), pp.26-41. Copy at Copisteria X

(ii) Prepare notes (to hand in) for a 2 minute summary of the article and prepare delivering the summary.

Lesson 7 Monday 11th November

We went over the Listening paragraph you had prepared to read aloud. First of all, since there were no willing volunteers, we read it together in unison and I pointed out elements of both its content and its appropriate delivery. The paragraph itself dealt with how important it is to make an oral delivery (reading aloud or Presentation) easy and effective for an audience to follow, otherwise they won’t be able to understand or absorb what it is being said The paragraph had clear presence of its author(s), and was semi-formal making driect address to the reader-listener and reference to the author-speaker. There were certain words and phrases which needed to be emphasized and there were inserts in the form of parenthetical phrases which needed to be clearly distinguished in both intonation and quality of voice. There was structuring in the form of repeated phrases and three elements. One brave student was then willing to try out in front of the class and since nobody else was ready to do so (like Sheldon, you all seem to think that you can learn to swim without ever going in the water!), I divided the class into groups of four and everybody read the text aloud to the rest of the group, who did ‘t follow with the text, so everyone had a try in the end.

We then went through the three regional varieties which you had listened to for Homework: Welsh English, Bristol and Southampton (South West English).

As in Scotland and Ireland, in Wales English is one of two (or three) national languages. Welsh is a Celtic language and was used in Wales until the 1536/42 Act of Union made Wales and England become Great Britain and imposed English as the official language. Welsh was severely discouraged and forbidden in schools during the 19th century. By the 1960s, all adult speakers of Welsh also spoke English, but 75% of the population only spoke English. 1993 Welsh Language Act gave both languages equal status and made teaching of Welsh in Welsh schools compulsory until age 16. Also Welsh medium schools.

Welsh English is influenced by:

(i) Welsh

(ii) English Regional varieties from adjacent regions (West country in South Wales, Marches in Central Wales and North West in North Wales

The Pontypridd accent is a South Wales accent. As with all Welsh English accents, there is some influence from Welsh. Particularly noticeable in the intonation patterns. Some speakers use a post-vocalic ‘r’ and pronounce it with an alveolar tap /ɾ/: the tip of the tongue makes a rapid tap on the alveolar ridge. /h/ is usually absent and there is the insertion of /j/ after dropped /h/: ‘here’ thus becomes ‘year/a/ in dance and daft (RP /dɑ:ns/, /dɑ:ft/)

No /ʌ/ /ə/ distinction: ‘putt’ (RP /pʌt/ becomes /pət/

/ʊ/ remains however: ‘pull’ (/pʊl/

‘-ew’ words or initial ‘u’ words which in RP have /ju:/, e.g. ‘new’ (/nju:/), ‘use’ (/ju:z/) are pronounced with /ɪu/, therefore ‘blew’ becomes /blɪu/ in contrast with the RP homophone ‘blue’ which remains /blu:/)

A very noticeable charcteristic of Welsh English is that consonants between vowels become doubled: ‘city’ RP /’sɪti/ becomes /’sɪt:i/

(doubling pronunciation as in Italian double consonants). This is called gemination.

/eɪ/ and /əʊ/ become shorter, almost monothongs, similar to /i:/ and /ɔ:/; /ɜ:/ is pronounced with rounded lips (not slightly spread as in RP): long, rounded centralised-front, half-open:  /ø:/; /æ/ goes to /ɑ:/, ‘back’ (RP /bæk/), pronounced as ‘bark’ (RP /bɑ:k/

‘Aye’ often used for ‘yes’, as in North of England, Scotland and Ireland

De-voicing and voicing:

Some RP voiced consonants become un-voiced:

/b/ becomes /p/; /g/ becomes /k/; /t/ becomes /d/;

However, there is also some voicing of RP unvoiced consonants, due to influence from Welsh: /s/ becomes /z/ and /f/ becomes /v/ .

Strongly aspirated /p/, /t/, /k/, especially in initial position, but also finally before a pause; /u:/ goes to /ʊ/ ‘tooth’ (RP /tu:θ/ ) is /tʊθ/

Another very specific characteristic of Welsh English is its ‘sing-song’ prosody, or lilt. This is caused by extra stress given for stressed syllables + large degree of pitch movement around stressed syllable (as well as gemination). This prosody come from Welsh influence

There are some Grammatical features of Welsh English:

Predicate fronting:

“Welsh she was”

“Bryncoch I come from”

and Periphrastic verb phrases:

Standard English, “She goes to the cinema every week”

In Welsh English can be “She do go to the cinema every week” (influence of South West England) or

“She’s going to the cinema every week” (influence of Welsh).

There is also an invariant form of tag question: isn’t it? which comes not from Estuary English but directly from Welsh! The characteristic initial position syntactic form: ‘There’s + adjective? (Standard English That’s adjective or How adjective)

Welsh Lexis gives:

nain – grandmother

taid – grandfather

twp – stupid

South West: Bristol

No /ʌ/ /ə/ distinction: ‘putt’ (RP /pʌt/ becomes /pət/

No /æ/ /ɑ:/ contrast: RP /ɑ:/ becomes /æ/

Rhoticity – retroflex: tip of tongue bends back towards hard palate /ɻ/

RP centring diphthongs /ɪə/, /eə/, /ʊə/ become /ɪɹ/ /eɹ/ /ʊɹ/ (Word list, ‘beer’(14), ‘bear’(15), ‘poor’(42)). Tendency to ‘th’ fronting of /θ/ to ‘f’

Diphthongs /eɪ/ and /əʊ/ become ‘wider’ :

/ɛɪ/ and /ɔu/: (Word list ‘bay’(8) ‘plate’(40) ‘weight’(41)

‘pole’(29) ‘rose’(38) ‘nose (39)(

‘-ing’ is /ɪn/ , although ’anything’, ‘something’ may have /ɪŋk/

Some short vowels may be longer:

‘job’ (RP/ʤɒb/) is /ʤɑˑb/, ‘mad’ RP /mæd/)

The most characteristic element of Bristol English is the Bristol /l/, but this is not present in recording:

Following a word final /ə/, a /l/ is inserted:

‘America’ (RP /əˈmerɪkə/) becomes


South West: Southampton

The border between the South West and the South East and has features from both linguistic areas.

Traditionally, a rhotic accent, but younger people no longer use this aspect. When used, it is /ɹ/, but may be more markedly retroflex /ɻ/ (as in Bristol)

/aɪ/ may be /ɔɪ/, a Western feature. Some tendency to ‘th’ fronting of /θ/ to ‘f’, characteristic of South East (esp. London)

Glottal stop for /t/ very frequent, characteristic of South East (esp. London). Centring diphthongs /ɪə/ and /eə/ become /i:/ and /ɛ:∕:

‘beer’ (RP /bɪə/) Word list 14, becomes /bi:/ ‘bear’ (RP /beə/) Word list 15, becomes /bɛ:∕

The speaker on the recording is a teenager. Rather than using a traditional Southampton accent and dialect she uses a more general young people’s English with some influence from Estuary English. She also uses a lot of “Up talk” which we shall deal with next week.

Homework for next lesson (18.11.19)

(i) Analyse the Listening paragraph and mark or list the features which reveal it to be a formal text and those which reveal it to be an informal text (to hand in).

(ii) Listen to the recordings 43, (Devon) and the Pam Ayres (West Country Accent) recording on the Moodle page. Notice what she says about the expectations caused by her accent;

(iii) Listen to the recordings 37, 38, (Belfast) 39, 40 (Dublin)

Lesson 6 Monday 28th October

I gave back your Homework on dental fricatives and collected in this week's homework on the tone and sense units of the 'Alice' text. We went through the division of the text into sense units together and one brave volunteer read the paragraph aloud.

We went over the Regional Varieties for this week: West Midlands, Liverpool and Manchester. 

The West Midlands comprises and area in the middle of England, but on the west side very close to Wales. The major cities are Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Stoke and Walsall, from where the person in the recording comes from. It's considered by speakers in other regions to be the ‘worst’ (least attractive) accent! It is Northern in that it does not have the foot-strut divide (both RP phonemes are pronounced as /ʊ/) and has /a/ in dance and daft (RP /dɑ:ns/, /dɑ:ft/). In addition, ‘ing’ becomes /ɪn/  (as suffix) or /ɪŋg/ (as noun). Some of the diphthongs are noticeably different from RP: 

/eɪ/ and /əʊ/ become /æɪ/ and /ʌʊ/

/aɪ/ becomes /ɔɪ/ and some RP pure vowels are diphthongized: /i/ becomes /ɜi/ and /u:/ becomes /ɜʊ/.

/ɜ:/ and /eə/ both become /æ:/ so that ‘bird’, ‘bear’ (RP /bɜ:d/, /beə/) are  /bæ:d/, /bæ:/. There is /h/ dropping. ‘one’ is /wɒn/, but ‘won’ is /wʊn/ whereas in RP they are homophones: /wʌn/. The glottal stop is becoming very frequent in younger speakers (Estuary English strikes again!) and double negative is frequent.

Past simple tense to come = come

‘was’ is past simple tense to be all persons

Summat = something

Her = she

The lad, the wife = my son, my wife

Liverpool is a large port city further north than Birmingham. As a port and due to its proximity to both Ireland and Wales it has many special features as a result of the large influx of Irish people during 19th and 20th centuries + (smaller) influx of people from North Wales. It is Northern in that it does not have the foot-strut divide, both RP phonemes are pronounced /ʊ/; however, ‘cook’, ‘book’ become /ku:k/, /bu:k/. It has /a/ in dance and daft (RP /dɑ:ns/, /dɑ:ft/).

The diphthongs are again characteristic: there is no distinction between ‘fair’ ‘fir’ , RP /feə/ /fɜ:/ which are both pronounced as homophones, usually /fɛ:/ though sometimes /fɜ:/. For consonants, there is a lot of aspiration on /p/, /t/, /k/.  Proabably due to Irish inlfuence, Initial /ð/ may be /d/.

There is T-to-R transformation for intervocalic /t/, as in  ‘matter’, ‘get + a, in, on, etc.’, ‘what + a, in, on, etc.’, ’, ‘but + a, in, on, etc.’.  So ‘get a job’ becomes /ˈgerə’ʤɒb/.

There is /h/ dropping sometimes. Although ‘-ing’ is /ɪn/,‘thing’ and ‘singer’ have the characteristic North Western /ɪŋg/: /θɪŋg/ /ˈsɪŋgə/ (RP /θɪŋ/ /ˈsɪŋə/)

A particular characteristic of this accent is Velarisationaccompaniment of other articulations by raising of back of tongue towards soft palate (velum), like dark /l/

Double negation

Past simple tense to come = come

‘done’ is past simple tense to do all persons

‘youse’ = plural you /ju:z/ /jəz/

Possibly the best known examples of the Liverpool accent come from The Beatles’ songs (and interviews):

And before too long I fell in love with her.

Now I’ll never dance with another,

Since I saw her standing there.

RP /feə/ /fɜ:/ becomes homophone  /ɛ:/ (almost /eə/).

Although Manchester is only approx 50 kilometres away from Liverpool, the two accents are very different. There has been no Irish influence in Manchester and the accent is closer to South Yorkshire and other Lancashire accents than it is to the Liverpool accent. It is Northern in that it does not have the foot-strut divide (both RP phonemes pronounced as /ʊ/), although, like Liverpool, ‘cook’, ‘book’ can become /ku:k/, /bu:k/. It has /a/ in dance and daft (RP /dɑ:ns/, /dɑ:ft/). /h/ dropping frequent (like Yorkshire). Diphthongs again are particular:

/ɪə/ becomes /ɪ:/ ‘beer’ (RP /bɪə/)

/eə/ becomes /ɛ:/ ‘bear’ (RP /beə/

Final /ə/ in words, e.g. ‘better’, ‘butter’ is /ʌ/ ‘better’ (RP /’betə/) is /’betʌ/ and may even become /’betɒ/

/u:/ becomes almost diphthongal (like Liverpool)

/t/ glottalised in intervocalic and pre-consonantal positions:

‘got out of’ = /gɒʔaʊʔəv/

‘th’ fronting

/ŋ/ becomes the characteristic North Western /ɪŋg/: For example, in 'thing' and 'along', the pronunciation is /θɪŋg/, /əˈlɒŋg/  (RP /θɪŋ/ /əˈlɒŋ)/.

Like Liverpool, the Manchester accent has a strong nasal quality.

Remember, next lesson (Lesson 7) will be on Monday 11th November.

Homework for next lesson (11.11.19)

(i) Listen to the audio files 15, 16 (Pontypridd),   11, 12 (Bristol) and 43 (Devon).

(ii) Practise reading aloud the Paragraph on Listening in our section of the page. Work out the sense and tone units first and mark these up to hand in at the next lesson.

Lesson 5    Monday 21st October

We began by going through the last two phonemes I wanted to focus on as being difficult for learners, the dental fricatives, /θ/  and  /ð/  always representing the spelling 'th'.  As these are fricatives they are produced by passing the air through a narrow space formed by the articulators, in this case the tongue and the back of the top teeth, or alternatively the tongue and top and bottom teeth.  The important thing is not to press hard or close the space: if you press hard with the tip of your tongue on the alveolar ridge you will produce the alveolar plosives /t/ and /d/ ("stopping") and if you press the sides of the sides of your tongue you will produce the alveolar fricatives /s/ and /z/. If you close the space, no air or sound will come out (and you  will choke!). Some regional varieties of English substitute /θ/ and /ð/ with /f/ and /v/, which is known as "fronting". The unvoiced (no vibration in your throat since vocal cords open) /θ/  can be found at the beginning and end of words or syllables, but never in the middle. It is used with words which come into English from Greek such as 'thesis', 'theory', 'theatre' but also some very frequent native words such as 'thick', 'thin', 'through', 'three', thirteen', 'thirty', 'thousand' and is very common at the end of words: 'both', 'bath', 'month, 'moth', 'breath' 'tooth'.  The voiced (vibration in your throat since vocal cords almost closed)  /ð/, in contrast, can appear in any part of the syllable although it is rare at the end (except for 'with'): 'the', 'this', 'that', 'they', 'them, these', 'those', 'though', 'mother', 'brother', 'father', 'rather', 'other', 'either', 'neither', 'with'.
We went through the Facts and Figures paragraph which you had prepared for reading aloud, together and then with brave volunteers. It is essentail to remember to go more slowly and more loudly that you think you need to! We practised particularly the reading aloud of the numbers, while the rest of the lass wrote them down and checked then with their texts to make sure they had got them right. When reading aloud or making a Presentation there will often be numbers to deal with and the audience needs to be able to understand them perfectly.

We went over the four hypothesised functions of Intonation: Attitudinal, Accentual, Grammatical and Discourse which we had begun last week. and went through Accentual, Grammatical and Discourse.

We paid most attention to the Discourse function of intonation, paying particular attention to how intonation can signal new and important information or important rather than subordinate information. These functions are very important for Presentations where the audience needs to be able to recognise from the intonation of the delivery what the most important sections are and what is given or already known information. Higher pitch, slower speed, wider pitch range and increased loudness all signal important information. 

We didn't have time to do any more Regional Varieties, nor to experiment with dividing a test into 'sense units' which is very useful for reading aloud in combination with the intonation features, so you can start that for Homework and we shall go through it together next lesson.

We discussed the dates for the next lessons and decided to miss a lesson only on Monday November 4th.

Homework for next lesson (28.10.19)

(i) Listen to the recording Edinburgh accent

(ii) Divide the Alice in Wonderland text up into sense units: AliceinWonderlandSenseUnits

Although we shall work together on this next lesson, please make sure you have a copy that you can hand in as Homework.

Lesson 4 Monday 14th October

I gave you back your Homework sentences using /ʌ/ and listened to some of your sentences using  /ɜ:/. I then took in all those sentences. We then looked at some regional varieties from Scotland, Edinburgh Central Scotland and Aberdeen, North East Scotland with a brief consideration of Scots a variety used by many speakers from many parts of Scotland, according to particular occasions or interlocutors (usually familiar and informal). In general the vowels used in Scottish Englishes are short. These varieties are all rhotic and in addition they have a phoneme not found on the RP phoneme chart, used for the pronunciation of words which begin 'wh-', such as who, where, which; these are pronounced with a friction of the lips which resembles the RP /h/ followed by /w/. Aberdeen English is characterised by the pronunciation of 'w' as /f/. There is glottalisation of 't' and in Aberdeen also of 'p' and 'k'.

We worked together on the Reading Aloud text I had given you to prepare as homework, first reading it all together and then some brave volunteers read it aloud alone. When reading aloud, everyone always talks too quickly and not loud enough. They also often get quicker as they progress through the text. We looked at how the text in question contained different types of text from narrative and description to direct speech, indirect speech (sharing of Jackson's thoughts and judgments), quotations, asides. It is important when reading aloud to aake these different types of text distinct and thus apparent to listeners. It is a kind of performance. Everybody needs to practise this, with helpful listeners who will provide constructive feedback.

We then began to look at intonation. English is a stress-timed language with stressed syllables occurring at  regular intervals (in contrast to syllable-timed languages such as Italian) and began to go through Roach's four functions of intonation: attitudinal, accentual, grammatical, discourse. We only managed to cover the first of these, discovering that in order to express attitudes and emotions, intonation is used along with changes in volume, changes in pitch, voice quality, facial expression and gesture.

Homework for next week's lesson (21.10.19) 

(i) Listen to the audio files 33, 34, 35 and 36

(ii) Look at the Scots Web-site (link in our section of the Moodle page)

(iii) Practise reading aloud the Facts and Figures Paragraph

(iv) Write one sentence using words (as many as possible) with the unvoiced dental fricative /θ/ and one  one sentence using words (as many as possible) with the voiced dental fricative /ð/. 


Lesson 3 Monday 7th October

We re-capped on what we had done last week and we went over the main points of the Paul Kerswill article you read for Homework. Some of you said that you had had trouble with the audio recordings and I told you that you will need to listen to them, especially the 'spontaneous' passages (i.e not the Word Lists), more than once in order to be able to understand them since as well as the particular regional variety each illustrates, they are also pieces of naturally occurring speech and therefore have all the characteristics of this: false starts, incomplete sentences, non-standard grammar, colloquial lexis , etc.

We also went over briefly another London 'variety' (though it has not yet been accorded full status as a variety), Multicultural London English (MLE). This is used predominantly by young people who select form the  pool of features provided by the very many languages and dialects which are currently used by people in London in order to sound acceptable to their friends and to those they admire. many of these forms are from Black and Caribbean Englishes. It has a tendency to use short vowels rather than diphthongs, to use /u/ instead of /u:/, to 'stop' the dental fricatives /θ/ and /ð/ to become /t/ and /d/, to glottalize intervocalic /t/ and replace the forms of the definite and indefinite articles used in RP before words beginning with a vowel phoneme with the forms used in RP for words beginning with a consonant phoneme.
We heard some of your sentences with /ʌ/ and I showed you one of mine.  We noted that most words using this phoneme are short monosyllables of Germanic rather than latinate origin. There are a few latinate words (e.g. result, abrupt, culminate) but they are distinctly in the minority. I then collected in your written sentences.

We went over Rhoticity and the (lack of ) pronunciation of the phoneme /r/ except when followed by a vowel phoneme, therefore never in end position of a word except in continuous discourse when it may be used as a continuant to smooth the pronunciation of a word which ends with a vowel phoneme when followed by a word which begins with a vowel phoneme. This is the case with RP whereas other regional varieties and world Englishes are rhotic, most noticeably American English. 

We then looked at Word Stress, starting off with the importance of Strong and Weak Syllables. Only Strong Syllables can be stressed; Weak Syllables can never be stressed. We also noticed the distinction that (weak syllables never being stressed given) nouns tend to have the stress closer to the beginning of the word while verbs tend to have the stress closer to the end of the word. This can be seen very well in the Homographic word class pairs of noun-verb such as contract (n.) - contract (v.), object (n.) - object (v.), etc. We noticed how the vowel phoneme changed to become weaker in the unstressed syllable.

We looked at Compound Words where the stress is usually on the first word of the pair, except where the first term is adjectival and the second is in the past participle form (bad tempered) or a number ( ten-fold) or the whole pair forms a verb (upgrade, downsize). We looked at the suffices which are always unstressed (-ful, -ness. -less, -able/ible, -ment, -ly, -ous, -es) and the prefix which is unstressed: un- (also 'in' and 'im'.

We then looked at this week's regional variety, Geordie. We looked at Middlesbrough, a 'mild' (Teeside) version of Geordie, close to the Yorkshire variety, and Northumberland a 'strong' (Tyneside, Northumberland) version of Geordie. Geordie is a dialect which is very different from those of the rest of England and Wales and resembles Lowland Scots. Both of these 'languages' developed from Old English without either the influence of Latin from the Romans (who did not reach this far) nor the Norman French (who also did not manage to subdue this region). For this reason it contains many words which come from Old English such as bairn (child), wife (adult woman), larn (teach) canny (good, clever, kind), bonny (beautiful, fine). Northumberland Geordie has no /h/ dropping, although Middlesborough does, under the influence the Yorkshire variety, but does share the lack of 'foot-strut' division and 'trap-bath' division characteristic of all Northern dialects. Glottalisation of /p/, /t/ and /k/ is another characteristic as is the pronunciation of RP forms with /aɪ/ as /ɛi/ and /eə/  as /ɛ:/  and  /ɜ:/ as /ɔ:/.

Homework for next weeks's lesson (14.10.19)

(i) Write a sentence using a many words as possible which contain the vowel phoneme  /ɜ:/ ; write it on a loose piece of paper ready to hand in at the lesson.

(ii) Listen to the audio recordings 25, 26 and 46

(iii) Prepare the Reading Aloud Passage ready to read aloud (collectively and individually) at next week's lesson.

Lesson 2 Monday 30th September

After losing a lot of time to late-enrollers  (come to my office hours!), we went over the main points from the talk by David Crystal which I was pleased to see you had all managed to access and listen to successfully. The idea of a standard form of a language and a standard pronunciation is a dilemma. Is a model needed? Which model should it be? Are all dialects equal? Is standard English only "the minority dialect" (David Crystal)?

We then went over the 're-' words you had found for Homework and their pronunciation, finding that when the 're' could not be separated from the main part of the work with a hyphen, the stress was on the second syllable (not the 're') and the pronunciation was /rɪ/, whereas when it could be separated the pronunciation was /'ri:/: re-write, re-sit, re-print, 

We then went on to some more problematic vowel phonemes: /e/, /æ/ and /ʌ/, all of which are clearly distinct sounds for native speakers of English but which are often not as clearly distinct for non-native speakers.  /æ/ is a strong vowel and appears in monosyllables and stressed syllables of polysyllabic words, so not as the letter 'a' at the beginning of words such as 'appear', 'ago', 'away', 'along', 'about', 'around', etc, which have /ə/. Although /æ/ is always represented graphically as 'a' (with the exception of 'plait' and 'plaid'), 'a' is not always pronounced /æ/!  /ʌ/ has many graphic representations including 'u' (but, much, trust), 'o' (love, above, cover, some, come, Monday, money, mother), 'ou' (young, country, cousin) and is the vowel phoneme for the 'un-' prefix (unhappy, unlucky).

We then began to look at Accents and Dialects. Probably only in the UK is accent linked strongly to social class as well as geographical area. Accent is Pronunciation whereas Dialect, or Language Variety, includes, Lexis, Grammar, Syntax, Pronunciation (and Prosody). What is considered to be Standard English is the result of where the seats of power, learning and prosperity were in the 18th century when the need was felt, following the decline of French and Latin, for an ‘official’ version of English. The South East (principally London, but also Oxford, Cambridge and Dover) was this area (and has remained so!) and so the variety of English spoken there became standardised and then codified and perpetuated acquiring the value of ‘proper’, ‘correct’, ‘good’, which were unconnected to its actual form. The other varieties as a consequence became stygmatised.

In the last 30-40 years due to social mobility there has been dialect-levelling as people moved from their traditional places of residence to other parts of the country. Varieties thus came into contact and converged. The most strking example of dialect-levelling is Estuary English, first identified by David Rosewarne in 1984. The Estuary is that of the River Thames – in the South East! Some scholars suggest that Estuary English may take over as the prestige form from Standard English and Received Pronunciation.

Estuary English shares many features of the London Variety, Cockney and it has been suggested that it has been created through the mutual convergence of the Cockney of inner London residents who moved out into the suburbs and surrounding area and the accents of people from those areas in response to these new arrivals, or indeed, in moving (sometimes commuting) into London to work.

Estuary English is characterised by the glottal stop for /t/ and the vocalisation of /l/ as well as the Cockney diphthongs where RP /eɪ/ goes to /aɪ/ and RP /aɪ/ goes to /ɔɪ/. It is also marked by the invariant tag questions ‘innit’ and ‘right’.

Homework for next lesson (07.10.19)

(i) Read the article by Paul Kerswill 'Mobility, Meritocracy, Dialect-Levelling: The Fading (Fasing) Out of Received Pronunciation'. I have left a photocopy in Copisteria X and it is possibly on-line on the ResearchGate site.

 (ii) Access the website

I have put that link in our section of the page: Routledge . When the Routledge site opens up, look for the picture of the book English Accents & Dialects: An Introduction to Social and Regional Varieties in the British Isles click on this and then below it on  eResources and then on Download Resources and a zip file will open up with all the audio files (it will probably take some time to download). 

Listen to the Audio recordings numbers 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 and 06. These are RP and Cockney. I have put a copy of the Word List which is used in the recordings in our section of the page. I had to take a photograph of it from the book, so it's rather dark. I suggest you print a copy of it;

(iii) Write a sentence as long as possible using words with /ʌ/. Write it on a separate piece of paper to hand in next lesson,

(iv) Optional extra homework for those of you interested in Estuary English:

Read the original David Rosewarne article on Estuary English:

Rosewarne on Estuary English

The UCL website it is on is full of interesting material on Estuary English. 

Lesson 1 Monday 23rd September

We went over the intended course programme: the active and passive elements of Spoken English. Active in students' production of spoken English including reading aloud, for which we shall go over Pronunciation, Intonation and Register and passive in looking at (and listening to) National and Regional varieties of UK English. The end-of-semester Verifica will probably be a short in-class test and an individual paper on something to do with one of the topics covered in the course (must be approved my me). A final form for this verifica will be decided shortly.

We began with Pronunciation, making friends again (for unifi triennale students) or for the first time (students who did their first degree in other universities) the RP Phoneme Chart. After going very quickly over the sounds of all the phonemes we began to look at those which cause particular problems for non-native speakers and mark those who mispronounce them immediately as a foreigner. The first sounds were the /I:/, the /ɪ/ and the /i/. Only the last of these, used to represent the sound of the final 'y' or 'ey' when forming a syllable of words (e.g. happy, carry, money, etc.) is similar to the Italian /i/. The other two are much shorter (/ɪ/) and much longer (/i:/). The contrast in length becomes very evident in the words 'busy' and 'easy: /'bɪzi/ and /'i:zi/. It is important also to remember that the consonant following a vowel phoneme lengthens it if voiced and shortens it if unvoiced.

Given the torrential rain which marked today, we went over some words and phrases connected with rain in English, including some titles of songs and films.

Homework for next week's lesson (30.09.19)

(i) Find at least five more ‘re’ words pronounced with /ɪ/ and at least five more ‘re’ words pronounced with /i:/. Where is the stress in each case? Write your words on a piece of paper to hand in at next week's lesson.

(ii) Watch the ‘Happy Vowel’ video (link in Section)

(iii) Watch the video of David Crystal on Standard and non-standard Language (link in Section)

(iv) Find titles of songs, films, books which include references to rain or associated elements (storms, rainbows, for example) and be ready to talk about these at next week's lesson.




Ultime modifiche: lunedì, 2 dicembre 2019, 19:27