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Systems for the Phonetic Transcription of English: Theory and Texts

In collaboration with Inmaculada Arboleda


Rafael Monroy Casas

This book covers in a systematic way the main systems of phonetic transcription currently used for English. Unlike other texts in the market, which focus on just one type of transcriptional model, the book provides theoretical information and full practice for all systems.
The material is divided into seven sections headed by a lengthy introduction to the history and development of the International Phonetic Alphabet. A set of eighteen samples from real contemporary colloquial English (British English), graded in terms of difficulty, follows. The accent chosen is the one known as RP or BBC English, with some minor concession to other regional varieties which do not stray dramatically from RP. Different models of representation are used under three main transcription systems: qualitative, quantitative and mixed. By using an identical set of texts in ordinary spelling for each system, the reader can constantly check different ways of transcribing a word or an utterance depending on the model used.


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IV. Transcription systems for English 81


81 IV. Transcription systems for English 82 83 7.1 Quantitative models 7.1.1 ‘EPD’ System (D. Jones, 1917–1977) Main characteristics • A simple transcription: it uses a maximum number of 11 dif- ferent vowel symbols. • Allophonic in the way the first elements of diphthongs are represented; also in the use of /4/ and /$Û/ – although Jones tried to reach a compromise between a ‘broad’ and a ‘narrow’ notation. • It gives priority to quantity in the representation of mono- phthongs (use of a chroneme (Û)) a view based on the idea that “length constitutes the fundamental difference, and that the accompanying quality difference is incidental” (Jones 1956: 342) • Although the system has been in use since the invention of the International Phonetic Alphabet, before Jones joined it, it was known due to the work of Jones who from 1912 to 1918 used it in a systematic way in three of his most influential publica- tions: – Phonetics Readings in English, 1912. – English Pronouncing Dictionary, 1917 until the twelfth edi- tion (known for that reason as ‘EPD Transcription’). – An Outline of English Phonetics, 1918. • It was also the system used by O’Connor in his Phonetic Drill Reader (1973) as well as in Advanced Phonetic Reader (1971), Cambridge University Press. 84 ‖ 'lɔːd 'es wǝz 'gouiŋ ǝ'lɔŋ Dǝ 'striːt ǝv ǝ 'vilidʒ wʌn 'dei | wen hiː 'met Dǝ 'sʌn ǝv wʌn ǝv Dǝ 'faːmǝz ɔn hiz is'teit, ‖ Dǝ 'bɔi wǝz traiiŋ tǝ 'liːd ǝn ɔbstinit k...

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