LSEL 16: The Pronunciation of English around the World

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The Pronunciation of English around the World

Geo-social Applications of the Natural Phonetics & Tonetics Method

Luciano Canepari
Venice University

The first part (249 pages with 90 clear & accurate articulatory & intonation illustrations) gives the ‘International’ accent of English. This is not meant to be a simplified version for foreigners speaking to other foreigners, so often falsely presented as the solution for intercultural communication. The International accent of English, on the contrary (both in its current and native-like versions), is the sublimation of the American and British neutral (or ‘standard’) accents. This avoids the peculiarities of both these accents, while privileging their common and most general features, reducing thus their differences and real or seeming exceptions with respect to its current and highly unsatisfactory spelling.

The neutral American and British accents are always given along, for comparisons and useful information, as well: Vowels, Consonants (including ‘The ‘whole truth’ on English r’), Stress and Intonation (including Paralinguistics). There follow a few chapters with phonotonetic transcriptions: Conversations, Literary texts, and the IPA sample text. The ‘mediatic’ American (or ‘General American’) and British (or ‘Estuary English’) accents are fully treated in separate chapters.

The second part (407 pages) describes more than 200 accents: 120 native (up to 145 with variants), 61 bilingual, and 20 foreign accents. They are so distributed: North America: Canada & USA (73 accents, including 13 Native-American ones). British Isles: England (34 accents) and Wales, Scotland & Ireland (23 accents). Other accents: Australia, New Zealand & South Africa (28 accents). Second language: Caribbean, Far East, India, Africa, Malta & Gibraltar (28 accents). Foreign (20 accents). With 32 linguistic maps and 292 clear (though rigorous and extensive) illustrations for vowels, consonants and intonation.

We can safely say that the book provides the most accurate descriptions of English accents ever done, in 700 pages, thanks to very many clear figures and precise transcriptions, with no ambiguities, that overcome the too obvious limits of the official IPA conception and symbols, sadly designed just for phonemic intralinguistic purposes, not for more useful interlinguistic and diaphonemic purposes.

Appendices (44 pages): A concise international-pronunciation dictionary. Homophones. List of maps & paraphonic figures. The contoidal orograms & their canIPA symbols. Selected annotated bibliography. Official IPA chart.

The author, who was trained in the British phonetic tradition, teaches Natural Phonetics & Tonetics, i.e. articulatory, auditory and functional, at the University of Venice, Italy.

ISBN 978 3 929075 75 5 (Hardbound). LINCOM Studies in English Linguistics 16. 700pp. 2010.

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