Tuesday, 23 August 2016

pun for fun - #2

Does this pun work for you?

Why is Henry’s wife covered in tooth marks?
-- Because he’s Tudor.

(credit: Adele Cliff)

Saturday, 20 August 2016

Do know what thou sayest - #3

credit: Japan Trend Shop
This is an easy one:

What is a beaker used for in a _____?

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Do know what thou sayest - #2

Another sentence to be read aloud is this one:




"He must be washed in the blood of the _____."

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Do know what thou sayest - #1

In the final orals my students had to pronounce various sentences in English. One of the more frequent mispronunciations lends itself to a rebus - well, almost:


"The moon was hidden behind a _____ of clouds."

Can you guess what the correct missing word is?

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Transcriptions can be embarrassing!

This blog entry contains a word which some readers may find upsetting!

The transcription text in one of the final written tests this term contained the sentence:"[...] you can't talk without intonation [...]". Some of my young professionals transcribed it like this: /ju kʌnt tɔːk wɪðaʊt ɪntəneɪʃən/. Ahem!

Monday, 25 July 2016

intrusive r but no linking r

John Wells spotted an interesting combination of using an intrusive r with avoiding a linking r. This nice example was to be heard in a presentation by Mark Tully on the 24th of July, 2016 on BBC Radio 4 in the weekly series Something Understood. Here are Tully's words:

Is the wind one of the wonders of nature which connect us to God, which so overawe us that we lose our self-awareness and experience the transcendent?
[ɪz ðə wɪnd wʌn əv ðə wʌndəz əv neɪʧə wɪʧ kənekt ʌs tə gɒd wɪʧ səʊ ʔəʊvəʔɔːr ʌs ðt wi luːz ɑː selfəwɛːnəs ənd ɪkspɪərɪəns ðə trænsendənt]
Listen particularly to the highlighted section.
Sir Mark is presently the regular presenter of the weekly programme mentioned above.

video

video

Friday, 22 July 2016

from an oral exam

In an oral exam on English literature a student of ours was asked several questions about Anne Brontë's novel Agnes Grey. The (German) candidate described the desire of Agnes to become a governess by citing this sentence from the novel:
To train the tender plants, and watch their /bʌts/ unfolding day by day.

Anne Brontë

Saturday, 28 May 2016

What are [ˈtuːt̬ərz]?

Do you know what triple homophones are? Here's an example: you - yew - ewe.
Another one is [ˈtuːt̬ərz], which does not work in General British however.

credit: Stephan Pastis

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Ze trip to Panama

The German Wikipedia dictionary has a new article on the so-called Panama Papers. The transcription of the compound is given as [ˈpanaˌmaː ˈpeɪpəʳz]. If it is intended to reflect the German pronunciation, there are a few inaccuracies in it:
credit: Amazon/Beltz

  • Panama (country or city) is regularly pronounced /'panama/ in German with a (usually) short final vowel and no secondary stress according to DUDEN;
  • Papers is a bit more varied in its pronunciation because Germans either adapt it to their native phonology and say ['pe:pɐs] or try to pronounce it the English way and produce a diphthong in the first syllable and/or use an r-coloured schwa in the second syllable if they prefer a GA-like accent. They may stick to a final /s/ as is usual in German or use the lenis variant;
  • as a compound I would definitely not assign Papers another primary stress.