Hommage an Georg Heike
Edited By Ulrike Groß and Michael Thiergart
Göran Hammarström, Glen Waverley: Memories and thoughts of a phonetician
97 Memories and thoughts of a phonetician Göran Hammarström, Glen Waverley (Australien) Why did I become a phonetician? When I was twelve years of age, my family moved from a southern to a northern Swedish city. The words were the same in the new city but the pronunciation was different and people had difficulty under- standing me. This probably contributed to the beginnings of my interest in speech sounds. In my school in the 1930s I studied the three foreign languages German, English and French. I thought the pronunciation was a challenge. I could hear the three languages on the radio and I tried to imitate what I heard while I still had the sounds in my ear. In 1940 I chose French in my first year at the University of Uppsala. An im- portant part of the study was French phonetics. Using the sound laws and all the exceptions I learnt to develop any Latin word into old French with its dialects and then into modern French. I could also go the other way changing a modern French word so that it became a Latin word. The study was based on the com- prehensive Phonétique française by Edouard Bourciez. At this time of historical study of languages nobody, including myself, recognised that the title on the cover of the book and the name of the course were misnomers. At that time it was self-evident that the academic study of the phonetics of a language was...
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