Wednesday, 29 June 2011

symbolizing palatalization

Several languages — in Europe, notably Russian and Irish — make important use of the distinction between palatalized and nonpalatalized consonants.

The palatalized ones are traditionally termed ‘soft’ in Russian, ‘slender’ in Irish, while their non-palatalized counterparts (which may also be labialized and/or velarized) are termed ‘hard’ and ‘broad’ respectively.

Published with the m.f. of a hundred years ago (yesterday’s blog) there was an appendix entitled Court exposé de la prononciation russe, by L. Ščerba. It is noteworthy that as early as 1911 this account makes reference to ‘phonemes’ (or rather the same term in French), which I think must be one of the earliest uses of this term in print.
…les sons qui ont une valeur significative (c’est à dire les phonèmes, suivant la terminologie de M. Baudouin de Courtenay)…

In non-IPA phonetic notation there is a tradition among experts of both Slav(on)ic and Celtic of using a postposed acute accent to show palatalization. The IPA, however, has reserved that symbol for other uses and has, over the years, explored other means of showing palatalization.

Ščerba writes the palatalized consonants with a superposed dot.
Suivant la proposition de M. Passy, les consonnes palatalisées sont indiquées par la lettre surmontée d’un point. (On doit remarquer seulement que le signe le plus familier en linguistique pour ces sons est un trait ou une virgule après la lettre et au-dessus de la ligne, par exemple d´, l´ ou d’, l’.)

This convention was formalized in the 1912 edition of The Principles of the International Phonetic Association. Just as retroflex articulation was indicated by a dot beneath, so palatalization was shown by a dot above.

Accordingly Ščerba’s version of the North Wind and the Sun in Russian looks like this (click to enlarge).
You may also be interested to see the orthographic version, which includes the letter ѣ, abolished in 1917, and many instances of the letter ъ which were dropped in the same post-revolution spelling reform. The word for ‘wind’, вѣтеръ in this text, is now written ветер.
By 1917, when Jones and Trofimov completed the manuscript of their Pronunciation of Russian (CUP, 1923), DJ had decided to go instead for a j-shaped hook to show palatalization.

So the word for ‘stronger’ then appeared as ᶊɪᶅˈᶇei.

In the 1949 edition of the Principles Jones also demonstrates a digraphic solution to the question of notating palatalized consonants. However this required complicated conventions regarding the precise extent palatalization in consonant clusters, and in Jones and Ward The phonetics of Russian (CUP, 1969) we again find monographic representation of the palatalized consonants, using the j-shaped hook. This is also shown as an alternative usage for the first two lines of the specimen in the 1949 Principles.
In the pre-computer and early computer eras both superposed dots and attached hooks presented typological typographical problems. This led the IPA at its Kiel Convention (1989) to abandon these earlier notations and to adopt instead the current convention for palatalization, which is a postposed raised j, thus sʲɪlʲˈnʲei .

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

AmE, 1911

Here are two scans from the Maître Phonétique, the IPA’s official journal, of a hundred years ago. They are transcriptions of the North Wind and the Sun story, made by E.H. Tuttle, and were published in the issue of the m.f. dated Sep-Oct 1911.

The phonetician Edwin Hotchkiss Tuttle (1879-?) was one of the founder members of the Linguistic Society of America, and a frequent contributor to the m.f..

What makes each of these scans particularly interesting as historical documents is Daniel Jones’s handwritten note alonɡside.

In both extracts the headline, əmerəkən iŋɡlɪʃ, uses different symbols for the first and second vowels of English. I seem to remember that Tuttle was from New England, and that may have been a peculiarity of his speech. (You can click on the images to enlarge them.)

The first extract represents the speech of Baltimore, MD. The pronunciation is shown as nonrhotic! DJ comments in the margin
T. spent 9 mʌnθs hiə

At the time the IPA used an acute accent to show a particularly tense vowel, a grave accent to show a particularly lax one. So the ɔ́ə of north, warm must imply greater initial tensity than for the ɔː of stronger, along, while the of agreed and the of blew imply greater tensity in the second part of the vowel.

Compare Wikipedia’s account of current Baltimore speech.

The other scan is of southern New England. DJ’s marginal comment reads
T livd in sauθ sentrəl Connecticut fə 28 jəːz

The subscript dots in ḍɪspjuútɪŋ, ṭeɪk, fə̣ːst indicate retroflexion (= modern ɖ, ʈ, ɚ). In the first two cases they represent progressive assimilation following ɹ — a phonetic detail I do not remember having seen discussed anywhere.

I have not previously seen any reference to the possible elision of w from wəz was. Do we still have this in AmE?

The note about “ðə fɔ́ɹm ʃoʊn” refers to shone, the past tense of shine (nowadays BrE ʃɒn, AmE ʃoʊn). Evidently the New Englanders of the time, perhaps embarrassed by the BrE/AmE difference, simply avoided the form.

Monday, 27 June 2011


I was in a committee meeting over the weekend at which — amongst many other topics — we were discussing how much we ought to pay a visiting speaker. What sort of honorarium should we offer? I noticed with interest and surprise that the person who introduced this topic pronounced the word as ˌhɒnəˈreəriəm, with an initial h-sound.

I’ve always myself said this word as ˌɒnəˈreəriəm , without h, just like its congeners hono(u)r, hono(u)rable, honorary, honest etc, and I assumed that that was what everyone said.

But a quick straw poll when we were having coffee afterwards showed that four out of the ten people present said they preferred the pronunciation with h. This variant is not recorded in any dictionary that I know of.

I suppose we can relate it to the fact that h is silent in heir and heiress but not in the etymologically linked inherit, heredity and heritage. Perhaps some speakers do not ‘feel’ the etymological link between honorarium and the other hono(u)r(-) words, so that there is less pressure to treat them all identically.

Added to that there is the understandable tendency to use a spelling pronunciation for any word that may be relatively unfamiliar, or first encountered in writing rather than in speech.

Friday, 24 June 2011

post-soviet footnotes

As footnotes to recent postings, here are two nice pictures. The first (thanks, Istvan Ertl) is a sign from the St Petersburg metro. It directs Russians to keep to the left, but tells foreigners… to collide with them.

The second is from Latvia, sent to me by Stephen Bryant. It relates not to Russian but to Latvian, a language strongly influenced by Russian during the days of the Soviet Union. Unlike most other languages that use the Latin alphabet, Latvian always respells loanwords from foreign languages in accordance with the usual Latvian spelling/reading rules. As we saw (blog, 2 June), Russian does this too — it’s unavoidable, of course, for languages that use a writing system other than the Latin alphabet. So cheeseburger takes on another new guise, čīzburger. Note also bekonu (bacon, with a case ending).

Latvian is one of the very few modern languages that use the symbol ī (with macron, to show the length of the vowel). Is it actually the only one, or do readers know of others? This letter is used in the name of the capital, Riga, written in Latvian as Rīga.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

russian english

Here are some disconnected jottings about Russian pronunciation errors in English, as exemplified by our tourist guides in St Petersburg. (Both were university graduates in ‘English philology’, spoke British-style English fluently and clearly, and used English every day in their professional work.)

• Occasional slipups in the contrast between and ɪ. Generally speaking, though, this opposition had been mastered.
• No distinction between the DRESS and TRAP vowels. (See blog, 2 June. Bear in mind that all NSs of ‘core English’ make this contrast, though the phonetic realization of the two vowels varies considerably.)
• No distinction between the LOT and THOUGHT vowels, both realized as something like ɔː, or as an opening diphthong ʊɔ. Hearing body pronounced as ˈbɔːdi by a non-Scot was somewhat disconcerting.
• The GOAT vowel was pronounced by one of our guides (female, perhaps in her late 50s) as ɛu. This was particularly grating when followed by l, as in ɛuɫd old. (It would have been OK if embedded in a strong Scouse accent, but it wasn’t, and led to some incomprehension.)
• Excessive prevocalic vowel reduction, à la russe, e.g. kəmpaˈzɪʃn̩ composition instead of ˌkɒmpəˈzɪʃn̩.
• Voicing assimilation, also à la russe, e.g. ˈbɫɛɡ ˈbɔːks black box.
• Failure to use compound stress in open compounds, e.g. parking lot with the main stress on lot.
• Both of these errors together made ɑdˈdiːlə quite difficult to recognize as art dealer.
• Failure to deaccent function words, e.g. There is not enough space for all of us instead of There’s not enough space for all of us.

I should also add that their command of English grammar and vocabulary was excellent. But odd bits of Russian phraseology slipped through here and there — for example, in our country repeatedly rather than in Russia, and today in the afternoon instead of this afternoon.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Norwegian and Swedish pitch accent

Yesterday’s discussion of classical Greek led me to thinking about the somewhat parallel cases of Swedish and Norwegian. They too have two kinds of pitch accent on the stressed syllable of words of more than one syllable. The two pitch accents are lexically distinct.

One is the ‘simple’ or ‘acute’ tone, known also as tone 1 or toneme 1. The other is the ‘compound’ or ‘grave’ tone, ton(em)e 2. The classical minimal pair for Swedish is anden ˈandən ‘the duck’ (from and ‘duck’) vs. anden ˇandən ‘the spirit’ (from ande ‘spirit’). The classical minimal pair for Norwegian is bønder ˈbœnːər ‘farmers, peasants’ vs. bønner ˇbœnːər ‘beans’. (By “classical” I mean the one I read about and was told about when I first studied general phonetics and subsequently elicited from informants whenever we dealt in class with the language concerned.)

Description of the difference between the two is complicated by two factors: (i) dialectal differences, and (ii) the interplay with intonation (sentence accent). Generally speaking, the compound tone has a more complex pitch realization than the simple one does.

If you ask the average native speaker to demonstrate the difference, you will get a non-final intonation pattern for the first, a final intonation pattern for the second. This usually means that the pitch accent difference is more or less swamped by the intonation difference. (Similarly, if you ask a NS of English to demonstrate the “difference” between, say, eaten and Eton — there isn’t one — you will probably get a rising tone on the first and a falling tone on the second. You might naïvely conclude that English has a pitch accent contrast in such lexical pairs.) To elicit the pitch accent difference without this intonation difference your informant has to have the understanding and self-discipline to use the same intonation pattern for both members of the putative minimal pair. (Teachers of EFL, too, and indeed of all foreign languages need this skill.)

You will find a good example of this problem if you listen to the sound recording provided with the Wikipedia article about Swedish phonology.

With statement intonation, the Swedish compound tone “generally consists of a high falling tone on the stressed syllable and another high falling tone on a following unstressed syllable”. The corresponding Norwegian tone “consists of a high-falling pitch”, as opposed to a “low or low-falling pitch” for the simple tone. (Both quotations are from Daniel Jones.)

Not only is the pitch accent difference often hard to describe succinctly, its notation is controversial. Although it is pretty standard to write the simple tone with a simple stress mark, the IPA has no firm guidance on how to notate the compound tone.

In the 1949 edition of the IPA Principles, and in his book The Phoneme: its Nature and Use, Daniel Jones wrote the compound tone as I have done above, namely by placing [ˇ] where otherwise there would have been an ordinary stress mark [ˈ]. Furthermore, in the case of Swedish, the Principles booklet writes a grave accent [ˋ] before the syllable where the second (unstressed) falling tone is located, in cases where two or more syllables follow the stress. So nordanvinden ‘the north wind’, where the stress is on the initial syllable, is transcribed ˇnuːɖanˋvindən.

The IPA’s 1989 Kiel Convention changed the meaning of the symbol [ˋ] from ‘falling tone’ to ‘low tone’. Nevertheless, the 1999 IPA Handbook still makes use of this grave accent to denote the Swedish compound tone. Now, however, the mark goes over the vowel of the stressed syllable, with the location of the second fall shown by a secondary-stress mark, thus ˈnùɖanˌvɪndən. How (if at all) this squares with the revised meaning of the grave accent is not discussed.

Wikipedia writes the Norwegian pitch accents as à and â respectively. For Swedish it starts off with a very complex notation, but in the transcriptions of the North Wind and the Sun passage appears simply to ignore the distinction (ˈnuːɖaɱvɪnˌdən).

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ancient Greek accents

Given that I was foolhardy enough to put a page on my site about how to transcribe Ancient Greek in IPA, I could hardly complain that an email arrived from “J.J.” saying
I'd like to ask you a question about using IPA alphabet for transcribing Ancient Greek. The Wikipedia has a recommended set of symbols for use on its pages, but I do not get one thing — how to correctly mark the tone and stress.
Does /àá/ for a diphthong or long vowel, e.g. η or ηυ, mean that if accented it needs to be transcribed as ɛ̀ɛ́ and ɛ̀ːú̯? The Wiktionary has a different system… Ἀχιλλεύς is akʰilːe͜ʊ́s, but I keep thinking that the tone and stress marks should be on both vowels of a diphthong, i.e. akʰilːè͜ʊ́s. How does one correctly notate the tone and stress in Ancient Greek words?
(Typographical note: the acute and grave accents are meant to display in proper alignment above the vowel symbols. Your browser may not manage that.)
I answered
I think it depends on how explicit you want to be. In languages that have only two tones, high vs low, as Ancient Greek did at the level of the mora, it is sufficient to show high tones and leave low tones unmarked.

As I understand it, a diphthong or long vowel written in classical Greek with an acute accent had a low tone on the first mora, a high on the second. Transcribed fully this would require a low tone mark on the first vowel symbol, a high tone mark on the second. However it would be unambiguous to write it just with a high tone mark on the second symbol.

A diphthong or long vowel written with a circumflex (perispomenon) had a high tone on the first mora and a low on the second, producing a compound tone. Transcribed fully this would require a high tone mark on the first vowel symbol, a low tone mark on the second. But it could also be written unambiguously just with a high tone mark on the first.

Short vowels are straightforward: if written in classical Greek with an acute accent they were high, otherwise low.

According to Allen, the Greeks appreciated the fact that there is no need to mark most low tones.
In one early system of marking, every low tone was indicated by the grave accent-mark — e.g. Θὲόδὼρός; but such a practice was clearly uneconomical and inelegant, and was later replaced by the current (Byzantine) system whereby only the high and compound tones are indicated (by the acute and circumflex symbols). The grave symbol was, however, then substituted for an acute where this occurred on a final mora (‘oxytone’ words), except in the case of interrogatives (e.g. τίς) or when followed by an enclitic or pause — thus ἀγαθός ἐστιν, ἔστιν ἀγαθός·, but ἀγαθὸς ταμίας.

In modern Greek it’s straightforward: the ancient accents have become simple word stress. Correspondingly in modern spelling the three marks of ‘polytonic’ notation, ὰ ά ᾶ, have been collapsed into a single ‘monotonic’ mark, ά.

Monday, 20 June 2011

errata typographica

The Deutsche Aussprachewörterbuch that I was writing about on Thursday and Friday last week is — as far as I can tell — pretty free from typos and careless errors. (I speak from experience when I say how difficult this is to achieve in a book such as this one, full of complicated phonetic symbols.)

It is all the more dismaying, then, to have to report two phonetic symbols that are wrongly set, and not just once. Fortunately they are used in the preliminary matter (which is nearly three hundred pages long), not in the body of the dictionary.

One error concerns [ɤ], the ‘ram’s-horns’ symbol which the IPA prescribes for the mid-close back unrounded vowel, secondary cardinal 7. This is erroneously written “[ɣ] “ passim in the discussion of Chinese vowels, p. 130-132 — with exactly the same symbol as the book uses (correctly) for the representation of the voiced velar fricative, Greek γ, and of the Spanish intervocalic g in the discussion of those languages, p. 165 and p. 209. This is an error rather often found in printed material (my blog, 24 Sep 2009)

The other error concerns the familiar symbol ʊ, the lax close back rounded vowel of English foot fʊt and German Bucht bʊxt. This is fine when on its own. The corresponding non-syllabic symbol is not required in dictionary’s transcription of the standard German of Germany, since — as we have seen — the diphthong of Haus is transcribed not as aʊ̯ but as aɔ̯. In the discussion of Austrian pronunciation, however, the dictionary reports (p. 238) that the diphthong of Haus can be [ao̯] or “[aʋ̯]”. That is, it represents the second part of the latter diphthong with the symbol that properly stands for the voiced labiodental approximant, ʋ, plus the non-syllabic diacritic. This “[aʋ̯]” reported for Styria and western Austria, and optionally for die gehobene Standardaussprache (elevated standard pronunciation), ought to be [aʊ̯].

Where the same symbol is required in the discussion of Swiss diphthongs (p. 263), it is correctly set as [aʊ̯]. It is also correct in the body of the dictionary, where Eusebio is given (without discussion) as “span. ɛʊ̯sˈeːbi̯oː” and Eusébio as “port. ɛʊ̯zˈɛːbi̯uː”. So it seems likely that the error is down to the contributor responsible for the Austrian section, named as P. Wiesinger. But why didn’t some editor pick it up?

For the avoidance of confusion:
[ɤ] and [ʊ] stand for vowels, [ɣ] and [ʋ] for consonants.

As you would expect, the dictionary reflects the 1996 German spelling reform. You will find dass rather than daß, Tipp rather than Tip, Balletttänzer rather than Ballettänzer. In this connection I was also going to check on the spelling of the word for ‘nut’, which used to be Nuß and is now Nuss. But I found neither spelling! Somehow that word has got omitted entirely, along with such compounds as Nussbaum, Nussknacker and Nussschale, all of which presumably ought to have been included. (But I did find the compounds Haselnuss and Walnuss.)

People who live in glass houses… the first edition of my LPD somehow didn’t include the word marathon. I’m sure the DA will get its nuts sorted out when there’s a new edition.

Friday, 17 June 2011


Like many other modern languages, contemporary German is full of borrowed English words. And a pronouncing dictionary needs to contain plenty of proper names, including English ones. The Deutsche Aussprachewörterbuch (yesterday’s blog) transcribes these not as they are pronounced in the source language English, but as they are pronounced (or perhaps rather as they ought to be pronounced, in the authors’ view) in German.

This means that in principle they are transcribed using only the sounds of German and ignoring distinctions that are not made in German. In particular, the English TRAP and DRESS vowels are both mapped onto German ɛ. The STRUT vowel is mapped onto a. Final obstruents are devoiced.

So we have for example
Camden engl. kˈɛmdn̩
Countrymusic engl. kˈantʁ̥iːmʝˌuːzɪk
Flathead engl. flˈɛthɛt

The NURSE vowel is mapped onto œːɐ, and English w onto v.

Wordsworth engl. vˈœːɐtsv̥œːɐθ
World Wide Web engl. vˌœːɐlt v̥aɛt v̥ˈɛp
(I think “aɛ” must be a misprint for “aɛ̯”.)

The authors are well aware that this is not how the words are pronounced in English. In the foreword (p. 138) they compare the English version of Buckingham Palace, bˌʌkɪŋəm pˈæləs, with the germanized bˈakɪŋəm pˌɛləs (and similarly with several other examples).

But mapping onto native German sounds does not always apply. The dental fricatives, θ and ð, we read,
…kommen im Deutschen nicht vor und werden häufig als [s] bzw. [z] realisiert. Diese werden als Substandard eingestuft und in der Transkription nicht berücksichtigt… …are not found in German and are frequently realized as [s] and [z] respectively. These are categorized as substandard and ignored in the transcription…
So for example Southampton is germanized not as zaɔ̯sˈɛmptn̩, but as saɔ̯θˈɛmptn̩. See also Wordsworth above.

Sometimes the label “engl.” really seems to be of etymological relevance only.
Happyend engl. hɛpiː ˈˀɛnt
Leasing engl. lˈiːzɪŋ
(In native English, of course, we say ‘happy ending’, while leasing always has a voiceless s.)

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Krech et al.

I’ve acquired a copy of a newly published German pronunciation dictionary, Deutsches Aussprachewörterbuch (De Gruyter, 2010). Four main authors are credited: Eva-Maria Krech, Eberhard Stock, Ursula Hirschfeld, and Lutz Christian Anders, along with a host of other minor contributors and advisors.

This is a massive work, over a thousand pages in length, with each page having about double the area of a page in the dictionary that I have relied on until now for German, Max Mangold’s Duden Aussprachewörterbuch (6th edition 2005).

It will take me some time to work through the 280 pages of introductory material, which include not only a comprehensive introduction to standard German pronunciation (Standardaussprache, this term replacing the earlier allgemeine Hochlautung) but also chapters on standard Austrian and Swiss pronunciation.

Meanwhile, here are just one or two preliminary impressions.

The transcription is in several respects very narrow. For example, it recognizes seven different r-sounds, written as ʁ ʶ ʁ̥ ʀ r ɐ ɐ. (The trills ʀ and r are used, if at all, only in pronunciation characterized by hoher Artikulationspräzision ‘greater articulatory preciseness’.)

Separate symbols are used for the devoiced lenis obstruents b̥ d̥ ɡ̊ v̥ z̥ ʒ̊ ʝ̊, so that for example the plosive in Hausbau hˈaɔ̯sb̥aɔ̯ is distinguished both from that of Post pɔst and from that of Bahn baːn. The aspiration diacritic, however, is not used — the symbol p is presumably to be interpreted as normally implying (though the authors say merely that aspiration is möglich ‘possible’). As you can see in this example, diphthongs are transcribed rather fussily, as aɔ̯ aɛ̯ ɔœ̯, (arguably too fussily, given the variability in the quality of the second element).

The thing I found visually most shocking is the placement of the stress mark. Going against the usual IPA practice of locating it at the preceding syllable boundary, i.e. before the segmental material of the stressed syllable, DA places it immediately before the vowel. So vergessen, for example, which in Mangold is fɛɐ̯ˈɡɛsn̩, appears here as fɐɡˈɛsn̩. The word Herzrhythmusstörung ‘cardiac arrhythmia’ is transcribed hˈɛʶtsʁ̥ʏtmʊsʃtˌøːʁʊŋ. I can see no strong case for moving the stress mark from its usual place at the syllable boundary. (Or is there some hidden doctrine that stress is a property of certain vowels rather than certain syllables? If so, I disagree.)

Tomorrow: the treatment of eingedeutscht (germanized) English words.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


What’s a glomerulus? I imagine most of us would have to confess that this word is not part of our vocabulary, unless we have a particular interest in disorders of the kidney.

According to the Concise Oxford Dictionary, a glomerulus is ‘a cluster of nerve endings, spores, or small blood vessels, esp. of capillaries at the end of a kidney tubule’. Wikipedia explains it more succinctly as ‘a capillary tuft that performs the first step in filtering blood to form urine’.

More relevantly for today’s blog, how do we pronounce this word?

It’s not in LPD or CPD. But COD tells us that it is ɡlɒˈmɛr(j)ʊləs. ODP, from the same stable, agrees, while using its special weak-vowel symbol ᵿ (U+1D7F, LATIN SMALL LETTER UPSILON WITH STROKE), which your browser may or may not be able to display.

Why the bracketed (j)? Why is the palatal element optional or variable?

There’s something awkward about the sequence rj. We long ago dropped the yod that presumably once existed in words such as rude (rɪud → rjuːd → ruːd), brew, true and so on, where the vowel is strong. The awkwardness arises in words where the vowel is weak. The yod tends to be preserved in weak syllables. The two best-known words that exemplify it are virulent and garrulous.

In the case of virulent, both LPD and EPD prefer the yodless ˈvɪrʊlənt for BrE, while also listing variants with -jʊ-, -jə- or -ə- between the liquids. For garrulous they both prioritize ˈɡærələs, but aɡain also admit variants with a yod.

Introspecting, I feel that in slow careful deliberate speech I want to include a j in these two words, and hence by extension in glomerulus. But in faster or less studied speech it’s too much of an effort to articulate the rj sequence, so I drop the yod.

Strangely, this does not apply if the -rj- derives from the compression of ri-, as in disyllabic glorious, merrier, variant. (See this blog for 16-17 January 2007.) In cases like these there is no tendency whatever to omit the palatal element.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

fortis and lenis

Victor Martínez, who is originally from Mexico but now lives in the United States, wrote
I am learning phonetics right now […]. I have a question for you: what is the phonetic difference between a voiceless [b̥] and an unaspirated [p] (as in Spanish pájaro)? I think that there is no phonetic difference between the two. If there is no difference between the two, then why do people ever use the symbol [b̥], when [p] is less complicated and means the same thing? Is this only for phonological reasons? I have looked through many linguistics books and I have not found a clear answer to this seemingly simple question.
I replied
Voiceless [b̥] is "lenis", whereas [p] is "fortis". Lenis plosives have less intraoral pressure than fortis ones. See Wikipedia, or see my Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd ed.) p. 881.

The difference is easily noticed in the English pair "touched" vs. "judged" (said in isolation). The final consonants are pronounced without vocal fold vibration in both cases. But the fricative component of the affricate in "touched" is much noisier (more turbulent) than that of the affricate in "judged".
I might have added that this is presumably because in devoiced lenis obstruents the vocal folds adopt the ‘whisper’ position, i.e. are narrowed, unlike the wide open position that they adopt for fortis obstruents. This reduces the flow of air and therefore reduces the amount of turbulence.

Try it out. If you’re a NS or have a NS-like command of English, you should have no difficulty in hearing and feeling the difference between the voiceless fortis [tʃt] of touched and the devoiced lenis [d̥ʒ̥d̥] of judged. (Sorry I don’t have any instrumental evidence to hand with which to back this up. I assume experimentalists could easily furnish some.)

In English the fortis/lenis contrast is usually reinforced by other factors. Syllable-initially, before a strong vowel at least, fortis plosives have aspiration, while lenis plosives don’t. Even with fricatives there is a clear difference in VOT. Syllable-finally, fortis obstruents trigger pre-fortis clipping (duration reduction) in the preceding vowel (and sonorant, if there is one), and again lenis ones don’t. Between voiced sounds such as vowels, fortis obstruents have no voicing (always excepting AmE-style /t/), while lenis ones generally have voicing.

Since the presence vs. absence of aspiration is perceptually and instrumentally more salient than force of articulation itself, Spanish-style unaspirated initial p can easily be confused with English initial b in a word in isolation.

In some languages (Icelandic is a good example) all plosives are voiceless, but there is a clear contrast of fortis vs. lenis. See here. In my blog I last touched on the topic of fortis and lenis over four years ago, on 4 April 2007. That was before readers could leave comments. Now you can.

Monday, 13 June 2011

the Black Country

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I have a terrible confession to make. I can’t reliably distinguish between a Birmingham accent (“Brummie”) and a Black Country accent. Sorry, but that’s the truth.

In yesterday’s Sunday Times a reader complained
The West Midlands conurbation is based on Birmingham, and the area known as the Black Country is part of this conurbation. The second biggest place within the conurbation is Wolverhampton, but people don’t all agree whether Wolverhampton is part of the Black Country or not (the Wikipedia article thinks not). Everyone seems to agree that the centre of the Black Country is Dudley and that it includes Rowley Regis and Walsall. Everyone agrees that central Birmingham is NOT part of the Black Country.

I’m aware of certain lexical and grammatical matters that are characteristic of the Black Country rather than of Birmingham or of the West Midlands in general. Under ‘lexical’ I include various traditional-dialect pronunciations such as ˈbæbi for baby (but I’ve heard that in Derbyshire too). I’ve never actually heard anyone say hɒnd for hand, which is also supposed to be typically Black Country. But jaʊ for you is notorious, though of course even people from the Black Country don’t always pronounce the pronoun that way. Nor do they always say jaʊm (‘yowm’) for you are.

Here’s a clip of Adrian Chiles, which will enable you to hear his ‘Black Country tones’.

Here’s another, longer, one with Adrian Chiles and Frank Skinner, both Black Country lads.

And for comparison, here’s one of Jasper Carrott, who for the letter writer is a representative Brummie.

None of these broadcasters seem to use the characteristic high-rise-level declarative intonation pattern that I hear from some Birmingham people (the “Brummie whine”).

The best phonetic description that I know of is Anna Grethe Mathisen’s article on Sandwell in Urban Voices (ed. Foulkes and Docherty, 1999, Arnold). The very first words in this article, however, are far from helpful in enabling us to distinguish between the two varieties.
Of all the West Midland boroughs, Sandwell has the greatest variety of Black Country accents, including the Birmingham-types...

For someone from Halesowen, like the writer of the letter quoted, it is no doubt true that the Brummie and Black Country accents are “linguistically miles apart”. But not for the rest of us. Help! Is there any phonetician who can pin down for us just what it is that the locals latch onto in recognizing the distinction?

Friday, 10 June 2011

lie detection?

If someone tries to sell you or your organization software purporting to be able to detect from a person’s voice whether they are lying or not, don’t fall for it.

No time for a proper blog posting today, so I refer you instead to Language Log for an interesting update on this whole issue.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Joe Mc-what?

The pronunciation of surnames in Mc- or Mac- is sometimes quite difficult to predict from the spelling. These thoughts are prompted by the name McElderry, which I give in LPD as ˈmæk əl ˌder i or ˌ••ˈ••.

But the winner of the 2009 X Factor television show, Joe McElderry (pictured), calls himself məˈkeld(ə)ri.

As we all know, the prefix M(a)c- means ‘son of’ in Irish and Scottish Gaelic. The general rule is that
• before a stressed syllable it is pronounced mək, or in a more formal style perhaps mæk; thus McBride, McDonald, McEwan, McPherson
• before an unstressed syllable it is mæk, and is itself stressed; thus McAnulty ˌmækəˈnʌlti, McAvoy ˈmækəvɔɪ, McEnroe, McIntosh, McNamara
• but before k or g it is reduced to , thus McCarthy məˈkɑː(r)θi, McCorquodale, McGill, McGonagall, McQueen.

The problem with McElderry, and with several other names of three or more syllables, is knowing whether the second syllable is stressed or not. The BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of Proper Names regards the El- in McElderry as unstressed (which in turn triggers stress on the prefix), but Joe the singer treats it as stressed. (Anyone from Baltimore MD? What do people call its McElderry Park neighbourhood?)

For what it’s worth, the etymology of McElderry, according to the Dictionary of Surnames (ed. Hanks and Hodges), is Mac Giolla Dhorcha ‘son of the dark-haired lad’.

Why are McIlwain, McIlwraith, McIndoe, McIntyre stressed on the ˈmæk-, while McInnes is stressed on the -ˈɪn-? Why can McElroy and McElwain, not to mention McGillycuddy, go either way?

Although these surnames are now to be found throughout the English-speaking world (Joe the singer is a Geordie), the explanation of their stress patterns presumably lies in Gaelic phonetics, and perhaps in particular in dialect differences within Irish/Scottish Gaelic. Can any reader enlighten us?

Wednesday, 8 June 2011




EFL teachers in Argentina are assiduous in covering every imaginable detail of English (RP-style) pronunciation, and rightly hold me to task if anything in LPD is not entirely clear. Veronica Varela wrote
Would you be so kind to explain to me very briefly why is it that in the dictionary an optional t is [found after] n? Or perhaps you can tell me where I can read this from. For example:

against ə ˈɡentst ə ˈɡeɪntst

I replied, briefly,
This is a feature of some people's pronunciation that we call Plosive Epenthesis. There is a discussion in my blog for 27 Jan 2009.

It applies whenever a nasal is followed by a voiceless fricative within
the same syllable (as I analyse syllables).

This phenomenon is not well described in standard textbooks or English phonetics. This may be because in Daniel Jones’s day it was less characteristic of RP than it is now, or perhaps because it was felt to be inappropriate for EFL. If you look up mince in Jones-Gimson-Ramsaran editions of EPD you will find it transcribed only with -ns. If you fossick around in the Explanations at the beginning of the book, however, you will find, under ‘Other variants of sound-distribution occurring in RP but not as a rule noted in this Dictionary’,
(2) Insertion of a « t » between « n » and « s », or of « d » between « n » and « z », e.g. « fents » for « fens » (fence), « ˈfrendzi » for « ˈfrenzi » (frenzy).
It is not until Roach took over as editor that we find -nts explicitly in entries in the body of the book.

Kenyon & Knott, too, in their Pronouncing Dictionary of American English (1944) mention epenthesis only in their Introduction, under Addition or Omission of Consonants (p. xliv).

In present-day pronunciation, it seems to me, most Americans and plenty of English people (including some RP speakers) pronounce mince as mɪnts rather than mɪns. (There may also be glottal reinforcement or replacement: mɪnʔts, mɪnʔs.)

Presumably this necessarily makes mince a homophone of mints, giving rise to all those jokes about ‘one day my prints will come’.

Cruttenden goes so far as to say (Gimson’s Pron., p. 199)
Few RP speakers regularly maintain the distinction between /ns/ and /nts/ which is widespread in regional speech, e.g. distinguishing the final clusters in mince—mints, tense—tents, assistance—assistants, dance—plants, /nts/ tending to be used in all cases.

In the blog posting I referred to, Mariano Mazzeo (also in Argentina) commented
[When I] have to explain Epenthesis. I usually resort to my own home-made explanation: “When a nasal sound is followed by a voiceless fricative, a voiceless plosive which is homorganic to the nasal may be included between them.” Then I point out a few exceptions, comment briefly on the possibility of epenthesis before a voiced sound and that’s about it.

Mariano was correct to make the generalization that plosive epenthesis happens (for those who use it) when ANY nasal is followed by ANY voiceless fricative, though only in certain syllabification environments. In my 2009 posting I mentioned fen(t)s, ˈkɒn(t)ʃən(t)s, ˈhʌm(p)fri, ˈgæŋ(k)stə (fence, conscience, Humphrey, gangster). So the nasal can be labial or velar as well as alveolar; the fricative can be any of f θ s ʃ.

In the examples just given the nasal+fricative sequence (or cluster) is always word-final or followed in the next syllable by a weak vowel: that is, these are cases where, in my syllabification analysis (which I know some people disagree with), the nasal+fricative cluster is syllable-final.

In LPD I do not allow for epenthesis in words where (in my analysis) there is a syllable boundary between the nasal and the fricative, e.g. ˌɪnˈsaɪd, kənˈsɪdə (inside, consider): I took the view that this absolutely blocks epenthesis.

Interestingly, epenthesis DOES occur in cases such as warmth wɔːm(p)θ and Benson ˈben(t)sn̩, despite the presence of a morpheme boundary between the nasal and the fricative.

To my surprise I find that Cruttenden, in the current seventh edition of Gimson’s Pronunciation of English, says (p. 199, fn 50)
Similar epenthesis may occasionally take place [in other cases] e.g. confusion /kəmp`fjuːʒn/, convert /kəmb`vɜːt/ (=[kəɱb`vɜːt]), anthem /`æntθəm/ (=[`ænt̪θəm]), mansion /`mæntʃən/.

The last two examples are fine, but I don’t believe epenthesis is a regular (or even an occasional) possibility in the first two. It seems to me that the undoubted syllable boundary between the nasal and the fricative in confusion blocks (or at least strongly disfavours) epenthesis there, just as in inside or beanstalk. This applies a fortiori in the case of convert, where the fricative is not even voiceless.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

teaching award

Every year UCL confers a number of Provost’s Teaching Awards. (At UCL the post of Provost corresponds to that of ‘President’ at an American university — if UCL were a commercial company, he’d be the CEO.)
The Provost’s Teaching Awards recognise and reward UCL colleagues who
are making outstanding contributions to the learning experience and
success of our students.

The awards for 2011 have just been announced. This year there are ten of them, and I’m delighted to be able to report that one of them, in the category Experienced Academic Staff, has gone to my fellow-phonetician Michael Ashby.

Upon my retirement five years ago Michael took over the running of UCL’s MA Phonetics programme and also the directorship of the UCL Summer Course in English Phonetics.

One of the earliest blog entries I wrote, for 31 March 2006, was about a presentation Michael gave at a Teaching and Learning Conference. Here’s what I said.
Michael Ashby’s presentation at the Teaching and Learning Conference yesterday was excellent. As well as explaining the kinds of things we do in practical phonetics classes, he demonstrated various interactive bits of classroom technology.
One demonstration involved getting a member of the audience (José Mompeán, planted there for the purpose) to pronounce into a radio microphone the Spanish word carrera [kareɾa], in which there is first a trill and then a tap. Seconds later we heard it played back and saw its waveform and spectrogram displayed on the big screen, using Mark Huckvale’s brilliant little free programme WASP. We could clearly see four interruptions for the trill and a single interruption for the tap.
Michael also demonstrated, live, the labiodental flap with its new symbol. And he showed how the teacher can use a graphics tablet to annotate Powerpoint slides, for example in immediate response to student questions or to compare and contrast while doing ear-training.

Warmest congratulations to Michael on a well-deserved award.

Monday, 6 June 2011

English accents in 2030

Just after I got back from the cruise I fielded a phone call from a journalist working for the Economist magazine, who wanted to discuss with me whether English accents are changing, and if so how fast. After ten minutes’ chat I told her she ought to talk to Paul Kerswill, and that’s just what she did.

The results duly appeared in the current issue of the magazine.

One of the tiresome things that our funding masters require of academics in this country these days is that we are supposed to try and generate results that show “impact” on the wider community. Paul writes
More impact (in UK govt parlance). Here's what an evening spent with an old Corel Photo House programme and a bit of pure speculation can produce. I take full responsibility for any inaccuracies of course, but don't get back to me until 2030!
He was referring to the maps you see above (click to enlarge).

Two days later, the Sunday Times took up the story.

Paul said
It's the silly season again, despite all the crises in the world. This year's accents story continues in today's Sunday Times ... no point in giving the url because you've got to pay. So I've made my own links here [and here] ...

It’s not over yet. Today it’s the Daily Mail that has taken it up.

Paul’s Facebook comment:
and so it goes on. Better run away for a bit. I don't do Geordie, honest.

Ed Aveyard dug up an older article on the same topic,
in which the demise of regional accents is predicted and "Academics at Lancaster University" are referenced. Perhaps Paul Kerswill has been used to justify both the strengthening and weakening of regional accents at different times in the same newspaper.
Ed comments further
One amusing mistake I've noticed on the 2030 map is that Scouse appears to be lost in Liverpool and confined to the Wirral!

Friday, 3 June 2011

ˈædɪŋ ˈstres

wenzdiz blɒɡ-ɪn-fənetɪk-trænskrɪpʃn siːmz tu əv biːn wel risiːvd. pəhæps aɪ ʃʊd duː ðəm mɔːr ɒfn.

Beatrice Portinari, raɪtɪŋ frəm speɪn, wəz ɪnθjuːziæstɪk bət sed ʃi hi mɪst ðə stres mɑːks. ðɪs reɪzɪz ən ɪntrəstɪŋ kwestʃən. wɒt ɪz ən əprəʊpriət stres mɑːkɪŋ wen wi trænskraɪb ə kənektɪd tekst?

wɪə diːlɪŋ hɪə wɪð kənektɪd spiːtʃ, nɒt wɪð wɜːdz ɪn aɪsəleɪʃn. ðə stres ʃəʊn ɪn dɪkʃnriz rileɪts tə ðə lætə, nɒt ðə fɔːmə.

1. ɪf wi dʒʌst ˌriprəˈdjuːs wɜːd stres əz ʃəʊn ɪn ˈdɪkʃnriz, wi ˈsɪəriəsli ˌmɪsrepriˈzent ðə ˈneɪtʃər əv kənˈtɪnjuəs spiːtʃ. ɪn pəˈtɪkjələ, ˈmɒnəˌsɪləblz riˈsiːv nəʊ stres mɑːks. ði ˈəʊnli wɜːdz ðət duː ɡet stres ˈmɑːkɪŋ ɑː ˈpɒliˌsɪləblz.

səʊ lets æd stres mɑːks tə ðə mɒnəsɪləblz. bət nɒt tu ɔːl əv ðəm — dʒʌst tə ðə kɒntent wɜːdz, nɒt ðə fʌŋkʃn wɜːdz. wiːl hæv tə meɪk ə sensɪbl dɪsɪʒn əbaʊt wɜːdz ðət ər ɒn ðə bɔːdəlaɪn bitwiːn ðə tuː — wɜːdz laɪk “dʒʌst”.

2. ...ɪf wi ˈdʒʌst ˌriprəˈdjuːs ˈwɜːd ˈstres əz ˈʃəʊn ɪn ˈdɪkʃnriz, wi ˈsɪəriəsli ˌmɪsrepriˈzent ðə ˈneɪtʃər əv kənˈtɪnjuəs ˈspiːtʃ. ɪn pəˈtɪkjələ, ˈmɒnəˌsɪləblz riˈsiːv ˈnəʊ ˈstres ˈmɑːks. ði ˈəʊnli ˈwɜːdz ðət duː ˈɡet ˈstres ˈmɑːkɪŋ ɑː ˈpɒliˌsɪləblz.

bət ðɪs ɪz stɪl nɒt ɡʊd. wi niːd tə rimuːv ðəʊz stres mɑːks ðət duː nɒt ɡet trænzfɔːmd ɪntu æksnts, ðæt ɪz wɪtʃ duː nɒt risiːv pɪtʃ prɒmɪnəns ɪn kənektɪd spiːtʃ.
• sʌm əv ðɪs ɪz leksɪkl. wi məs rimuːv ðə stres mɑːk ɒn ðə sekənd elɪmənt əv kɒmpaʊndz.
• sʌm ɪz præɡmætɪk. wi kən rimuːv ðə stres mɑːks ɒn ripiːtɪd wɜːdz, nɒnkəntrɑːstɪv wɜːdz et setrə. bət wi niːd tu æd ðəm tə fʌŋkʃn wɜːdz juːzd kəntrɑːstɪvli.
• sʌm ɪz ruːl ɡʌvnd. wi kæn (tu ə diɡriː ɒpʃnəli) ʃɪft stres mɑːks ɪn əkɔːdns wɪð ðə prɪnsɪpl əv “stres ʃɪft” əfektɪŋ wɜːdz wɪð mɔː ðn wʌn leksɪkl stres.

3. …ɪf wi ˈdʒʌst ˈriprədjuːs ˈwɜːd stres əz ˈʃəʊn ɪn ˈdɪkʃnriz, wi ˈsɪəriəsli ˈmɪsrepriˈzent ðə ˈneɪtʃər əv kənˈtɪnjuəs ˈspiːtʃ. ɪn pəˈtɪkjələ, ˈmɒnəsɪləblz riˈsiːv ˈnəʊ stres mɑːks. ði ˈəʊnli wɜːdz ðət ˈduː ɡet stres mɑːkɪŋ ɑː ˈpɒlisɪləblz.

jul nəʊtɪs ðət aɪv nɒt əʊnli ʃəʊn stres (æksnt) ɒn əprəʊpriət mɒnəsɪləblz, bət aɪv ɔːlsəʊ teɪkən əkaʊnt əv stres ʃɪft.

wiv naʊ riːtʃt ə steɪdʒ kɒrəspɒndɪŋ tə wɒt wi ɑːsk stjuːdnts tə duː wen ðeɪ trænskraɪb ə pæsɪdʒ əv kəntɪnjuəs ɪŋɡlɪʃ.

haʊevə ðɪs ɪz stɪl əʊnli hɑːf ðə stɔːri. nɒt ɔːl æksnts ər iːkwəl. kənektɪd spiːtʃ ɪz kærɪktəraɪzd baɪ ɪntəneɪʃn. lets mɑːk ðæt tuː.

fɜːst steɪdʒ — divaɪd ɪntu aɪ piːz (ɪntəneɪʃn freɪzɪz). ðɪs miːnz wi kən ɡet rɪd əv pʌŋktʃueɪʃn mɑːks.

4. …ɪf wi ˈdʒʌst ˈriprədjuːs ˈwɜːd stres | əz ˈʃəʊn ɪn ˈdɪkʃnriz | wi ˈsɪəriəsli ˈmɪsrepriˈzent | ðə ˈneɪtʃər əv kənˈtɪnjuəs ˈspiːtʃ || ɪn pəˈtɪkjələ | ˈmɒnəsɪləblz | risiːv ˈnəʊ stres mɑːks || ði ˈəʊnli wɜːdz | ðət ˈduː ɡet stres mɑːkɪŋ | ɑː ˈpɒlisɪləblz ||

ˈsekənd steɪdʒ | ˈʌndəlaɪn ðə ˈnjuːkliə təʊnz ||

5. …ɪf wi ˈdʒʌst ˈriprədjuːs ˈwɜːd stres | əz ˈʃəʊn ɪn ˈdɪkʃnriz | wi ˈsɪəriəsli ˈmɪsrepriˈzent | ðə ˈneɪtʃər əv kənˈtɪnjuəs ˈspiːtʃ || ɪn pəˈtɪkjələ | ˈmɒnəsɪləblz | risiːv ˈnəʊ stres mɑːks || ði ˈəʊnli wɜːdz | ðət ˈdu ɡet stres mɑːkɪŋ | ɑː ˈpɒlisɪləblz ||

ˈθɜːd steɪdʒ | kənvɜːt ˈnjuːkliər ˈæksnt mɑːks | ɪntə ˈtəʊn mɑːks ||

6. …ɪf wi ˈdʒʌst ˈriprədjuːs \/wɜːd stres | əz ˈʃəʊn ɪn \/dɪkʃnriz | wi ˈsɪəriəsli ˈmɪsrepri/zent | ðə ˈneɪtʃər əv kənˈtɪnjuəs \spiːtʃ || ɪn pə\/tɪkjələ | \/mɒnəsɪləblz | risiːv \nəʊ stres mɑːks || ði \əʊnli wɜːdz | ðət /duː ɡet stres mɑːkɪŋ | ɑː \pɒlisɪləblz ||

ðæts maɪ aɪdɪər əv ə riːznəbli fʊl prəsɒdɪk trænskrɪpʃn. ðər ə wʌn ə tuː ɪmpɔːtnt pɔɪnts tə bi meɪd.
• ðər ə mʌltɪpl pɒsəbl æksnt ən ɪntəneɪʃn pætnz tə tʃuːz frɒm. ðə mɑːkɪŋ aɪ həv tʃəʊzn ɪz əʊnli wʌn əmʌŋ sevrəl pɒsəbl plɔːzəbl vɜːʃnz.
• ɪn səplaɪɪŋ ə fʊl ɪntəneɪʃn mɑːkʌp aɪ əm ɔːlsəʊ tʃuːzɪŋ tə pəfɔːm ðə tekst ɪn ə pətɪkjələ weɪ.
• ə tekst wɪðaʊt stres ~ æksnt ~ ɪntəneɪʃn mɑːkʌp ɪz mɔː laɪk ən ɔːθəɡræfɪk tekst — ɪt liːvz ðə riːdə friː tə tʃuːz ən əprəʊpriət prəsɒdɪk pætn.

fɔːtʃənətli ɪŋɡlɪʃ hæz veri fjuː mɪnɪml peəz dɪfərɪŋ ɪn leksɪkl stres ələʊn. səʊ fər ɔːdnri pɜːpəsɪz (laɪk ðɪs) wi rɪəli dəʊnt niːd tə juːz stres mɑːks wen trænskraɪbɪŋ ə kəntɪnjuəs tekst — ənles wɪə pətɪkjələli ɪntrəstɪd ɪn ðə prɒsədi.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

I can has чизбургер?

When our cruise reached St Petersburg, eight years had passed since my previous most recent visit to Russia. One of the differences that struck me on this occasion was the increased number of public signs in English. When I say “in English”, I do not mean that most English-speaking people would have recognized them as being in English — because they were English words written in Cyrillic.

I can’t speak Russian, but I can read Cyrillic. I don’t know exactly what the Russian for ‘café’ is*, but I’m pretty sure it isn’t кофe шоп. OK, кофe kofe is ‘coffee’, but шоп shop? This is the English shop written in Russian letters.

I saw several signs advertising БИГ МАК (big mak). which you may recognize as a brand of hamburger.

And there was a fast food joint offering пицца (pitstsa), which I suppose is Italian via English.

The treatment of the English word house was interesting. Sometimes it appeared with relative phonetic accuracy as хаус (khaus), but at other times less accurately as хауз (khauz). (The first word in the lefthand image is steyk.)

Here is ‘second-hand’, nicely demonstrating Russian inattention to the English e-æ distinction. (Actually, this makes me ask why the second part of Big Mac doesn’t come out as МЭК or МЕК (mek) rather than МАК. Perhaps it was an executive decision by the American owners of the franchise.) As for ‘grill dog’, I have never come across this menu item in an English-speaking country. I wonder if it is a Russian invention. It seems to be a frankfurter in a panini. The sign below also mentions Хот дог (khot dog), Френч дог (french dog), Гамбургер (gamburger), Бургер ролл (burger roll) and finally Чизбургер (chizburger).
*(PS: I’ve now looked up the Russian for ‘café’, and my sources give it as кафе kafe or буфет bufet.)

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.