Thursday, October 28, 2010

Getting in a pickle with lickle Mr Tickle

The forthcoming British Library Evolving English exhibition is looking like a brilliant event for anyone who is interested in our language, and it's receiving some national coverage today for its focus on our evolving accents.

This morning's Radio 4 Today programme featured Jonnie Robinson from the British Library and John Wells, the UCL phonetician, talking about how our pronunciation of different words changes and how people feel about those changes. You can listen to it on i-Player here and if you're an SFX student try the link through Moodle that will appear later this week.

The BBC News website covers the exhibition's focus on collecting pronunciation here and they explain how the Mr Men story, Mr Tickle, is being used to collect our regional, social and ethnic differences in pronunciation.

So, how do you say little? Is it li??el (with glottal stops), littel (with Ts in your mouth), lickle (if you're Jamaican...or Tim Westwood)? And what about the eighth letter in our alphabet: is it Haitch or Aitch? The British Library wants to know. There's more about it here as well.

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