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Listening to the Past. Audio Records of Accents of English

Raymond Hickey

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, xxxii + 574 pages.

The idea behind this volume is to present a number of chapters which look at the earliest audio recordings for a number of varieties of English, probably from the beginning, or at least from the first half, of the twentieth century. The reason for examining such recordings is that they often show accents prior to key developments of the mid-to-late twentieth century in the United States, Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland - to mention just a few anglophone countries where this would apply. The opposite may also be the case, i.e. that early audio records do indeed show features thought to be recent. The speakers on early recordings are often of a fairly advanced age offering apparent-time information for varieties spoken in the late nineteenth century. For the study of non-vernacular varieties such recordings can be invaluable. The quality of early recordings do vary considerably and acoustic analysis is not possible with all of them, though auditory analysis can and will be done.


I England, Scotland and Ireland

British Library sound recordings of vernacular speech
    Jonathan Robinson

Received Pronunciation
    Anne Fabricius

Early London English
    Paul Kerswill and Eivind Torgersen

    Kevin Watson and Lynn Clark

Tyneside English
    Dominic Watt and Paul Foulkes

Glasgow / Scotland
    Jane Stuart-Smith and Eleanor Lawson

Dublin / Ireland
    Raymond Hickay

II The USA, Canada and the Caribbean

Evidence of American Regional Dialects in Early Recordings
    Matthew J. Gordon and Christopher Strelluf

New England
    Daniel Ezra Johnson and David Durian

Upper Midwestern English
    Thomas Purnell, Eric Raimy and Joseph Salmons

Western United States
    Valerie Fridland and Tyler Kendall

Analysis of the Ex-Slave Recordings
    Erik R. Thomas

Archival Data on Earlier Canadian English
    Charles Boberg

Canadian Raising in Newfoundland?
    Sandra Clarke, Paul De Decker and Gerard Van Herk

The Caribbean: Trinidad and Jamaica
    Shelome Gooden and Kathy-Ann Drayton

III West and South Africa, South Atlantic, Australia and New Zealand

Early recordings from Ghana
    Magnus Huber

Earlier South Africa English
    Ian Bekker

Tristan da Cunha
    Daniel Schreier

Open vowels in historical Australian English
    Felicity Cox

Early New Zealand English: the closing diphthongs
    Márton Sóskuthy, Jennifer Hay, Margaret Maclagan, Katie Drager and Paul Foulkes