Update: 2012-11-24 05:25 PM +0630


TIL Grammar Glossary


Compiled by U Kyaw Tun (UKT), M.S. (I.P.S.T., U.S.A.), and staff of TIL (Tun Institute of Learning, http://www.tuninst.net ), from various sources. Prepared for students of TIL Computing and Language Center, Yangon, Myanmar. Not for sale.

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Grammar Glossary - R

rational appeal Readability Test Received Pronunciation reciprocal pronoun reflexive pronoun regional language regular verb relative clause relative pronoun reported speech restrictive element revising rhetoric rhetorical question rhyme rhyming dictionary roots run-on sentence

UKT Notes
Received Pronunciation (RP)

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rational appeal

See appeals.

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Readability Test

See Passive Index Fog Index Lexical Density Test Flesch-Kincaid Index

From UseE
Readability Tests
are designed to give a statististical analysis of the difficulty of a text. While any attempt to reduce language use, which is inherently creative, to statistics can be criticised, they can be used to give an approximate indication.

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Received Pronunciation (RP)

See Received Pronunciation in my notes.

From UseE
Received Pronunciation, or RP, is English spoken without a regional accent. It is the spoken form of standard English and many consider it to be the best spoken English, although others disagree.

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reciprocal pronoun

See pronoun reflexive pronoun

From UseE
Phrases like 'each other' or 'one another' are reciprocal pronouns. They show that an action is two-way:

Jane and Helen greeted each other.
(this means that Jane greeted Helen and Helen greeted Jane)


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reflexive pronoun

See pronoun reciprocal pronoun

From UseE
Reflexive pronouns:
[e.g.]  myself ; yourself himself ; herself ; itself ourselves ; yourselves ; themselves

Reflexive pronouns are used when the complement of the verb is the same as the subject.

He shot himself.

The reflexive pronoun can also be used to give more emphasis to the subject or object.

I did it myself.
(I want to emphasise the fact that I did it.)

They spoke to the Director herself.
(Emphasising the importance of the Director)


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regional language

From LBH
Expressions common to the people in a particular geographical area. (See p. 560.)

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regular verb

See irregular verb

From LBH
A verb that forms its past tense and past participle by adding -d or -ed to the plain form:

love / loved / loved 
open / opened / opened

Contrast irregular verb. (See p. 303.)

From UseE
A regular verb is one that follows the pattern of taking -ed for the past simple and past participle (or -d if the verb ends in -e; smoke / smoked).
     walk / walked / walked

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relative clause

See apodosis  clause  main clause  principal clause

From LBH
A subordinate clause beginning with a relative pronoun such as who or that and functioning as an adjective.

From UseE

A clause that modifies a noun in a sentence, or a noun phrase, is a relative clause:
     The woman that has just left the shop didn't buy anything.
('that has just left the shop' modifies the noun 'woman' by telling us which woman the speaker is referring to)
Internet links: {Relative Pronoun}; {Defining Relative Clause}; {Non-defining Relative Clause}
Related Article: Relative Clauses - Learn about Relative Pronouns in Non-Restrictive Clauses (Non-Defining clauses) and Restrictive Clauses (Defining clauses).

UKT note on: " who vs. that" in Non-Errors . See Common Errors in English
Using "who" for people, "that" for animals and inanimate objects
In fact there are many instances in which the most conservative usage is to refer to a person using "that": "All the politicians that were at the party later denied even knowing the host" is actually somewhat more traditional than the more popular "politicians who." An aversion to "that" referring to human beings as somehow diminishing their humanity may be praiseworthily sensitive, but it cannot claim the authority of tradition. In some sentences, "that" is clearly preferable to "who": "She is the only person I know of that prefers whipped cream on her granola." In the following example, to exchange "that " for "who" would be absurd: "Who was it that said, 'A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle'?"*
*Commonly attributed to Gloria Steinem, but at least one source says she was quoting Irina Dunn.


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relative pronoun

See pronoun.

From UseE

Relative pronouns, such as That, Who, Which, Whose and Whom can be used to introduce clauses in sentences:
     The woman who interviewed me was very friendly.
     I can't stand dogs that bark loudly.
Internet links: {Relative Clause}; {Defining Relative Clause}; {Non-defining Relative Clause}
Related Article: Relative Clauses - Learn about Relative Pronouns in Non-Restrictive Clauses (Non-Defining clauses) and Restrictive Clauses (Defining clauses).


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reported speech

UKT note: see direct speech / indirect speech / active voice / passive voice

reported speech Inactive hyperlinks - UseE
Reported Speech (also called Indirect Speech) is used to communicate what someone else said, but without using the exact words. A few changes are necessary; often a pronoun has to be changed and the verb is usually moved back a tense, where possible.
     He said that he was going to come.
          (The person's exact words were "I'm going to come.")
Internet link: {Direct Speech}


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restrictive element

See essential element.

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From LBH

The stage of the writing process in which one considers and improves the meaning and underlying structure of a draft.
Compare developing (planning) and drafting. (See pp. 5259.)

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From LBH

The principles for finding and arranging ideas and for using language in speech or writing to achieve the writer's purpose in addressing his or her audience.

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rhetorical question 

From LBH

A question asked for effect, with no answer expected. The person asking the question either intends to provide the answer or assumes it is obvious:
     If we let one factory pollute the river, what does that say to other factories that want to dump wastes there?

From UseE
A rhetorical question is one that requires no answer because it is too obvious to be worth saying.

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From UseE
When words at the end of lines of poetry have the same sound so that they work together to produce an effect, the poem has a rhyme.

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rhyming dictionary

From UseE
A Rhyming Dictionary is one where words are grouped together by their end sounds. When two words end with the same sound, they rhyme, used more frequently in poetry than prose as an effect.

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UKT note: see affix / prefix / suffix / English Roots

Words are composed of roots: prefixes, suffixes, and bases. The English language borrows roots from dozens of other languages. The most common roots come from the Latin and Greek languages.
from: The Roots of English, www.tameri.com/edit/roots.html


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run-on sentence

See fused sentence.

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UKT notes

Received Pronunciation (RP)

From Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Received_Pronunciation 080703

Received Pronunciation (RP) is a form of pronunciation of the English language (specifically British English) which has long been perceived as uniquely prestigious amongst British accents. About two percent of Britons speak with the RP accent in its pure form. (rp-fn01)

The earlier mentions of the term can be found in H. C. Wyld's A Short History of English (1914) and in Daniel Jones's An Outline of English Phonetics, although the latter stated that he only used the term "for want of a better". (rp-fn02)  According to Fowler's Modern English Usage (1965), the term is "the Received Pronunciation". The word received conveys its original meaning of accepted or approved    as in "received wisdom". (rp-fn03)

Received Pronunciation may be referred to as the Queen's (or King's) English, on the grounds that it is spoken by the monarch. It is also sometimes referred to as BBC English, because it was traditionally used by the BBC, [British Broadcasting Corporation] yet nowadays these notions are slightly misleading. Queen Elizabeth II [(Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) - Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elizabeth_II_of_the_United_Kingdom 080703] uses one specific form of English, whilst BBC presenters and staff are no longer bound by one type of accent. There have also long been certain words that have had more than one RP pronunciation, such as again, either, and moor. (rp-fn04)

It is sometimes referred to as Oxford English. (rp-fn05). This was not because it was traditionally the common speech of the city of Oxford, but specifically of Oxford University; the production of dictionaries gave Oxford University prestige in matters of language. The extended versions of the Oxford Dictionary give Received Pronunciation guidelines for each word.

RP is an accent (a form of pronunciation), not a dialect (a form of vocabulary and grammar). It may show a great deal about the social and educational background of a person who uses English. A person using the RP will typically speak Standard English although the reverse is not necessarily true (e.g. the standard language may be spoken by one in a regional accent, such as a Yorkshire accent; but it is very unlikely that one speaking in RP would use it to speak Scots or Geordie).

In recent decades, many people have asserted the value of other regional and class accents. Many members (particularly the younger) of the groups that traditionally used Received Pronunciation have, to varying degrees, begun to use it less. Many regional accents are now heard on the BBC.

RP is often believed to be based on Southern accents, but in fact it has most in common with the dialects of the south-east Midlands: Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire. (rp-fn06) (rp-fn07). Migration to London in the 14th and 15th centuries was mostly from the counties directly north of London rather than those directly south. There are differences both within and among the three counties mentioned, but a conglomeration emerged in London, and also mixed with some elements of Essex and Middlesex speech. By the end of the 15th century, Standard English was established in the City of London. (rp-fn08).

Researchers generally distinguish between three different forms of RP: Conservative, General, and Advanced. Conservative RP refers to a traditional accent associated with older speakers with certain social backgrounds; General RP is often considered neutral regarding age, occupation, or lifestyle of the speaker; and Advanced RP refers to speech of a younger generation of speakers. (rp-fn09)

The modern style of RP is the usual accent taught to non-native speakers learning British English. Non-RP Britons abroad may modify their pronunciation to something closer to Received Pronunciation in order to be understood better by people who themselves learned RP in school. They may also modify their vocabulary and grammar to be closer to Standard English, for the same reason. RP is used as the standard for English in most books on general phonology and phonetics and is represented in the pronunciation schemes of most dictionaries.

Traditionally, Received Pronunciation was a manufactured accent of English published as the "everyday speech in the families of Southern English persons whose men-folk have been educated at the great public boarding-schools" (rp-fn10) and which conveys no information about that speaker's region of origin prior to attending the school. However, this form of Received Pronunciation is a construct of its period of creation during the 19th Century, its pronunciation based upon Court English, and aimed at a rising educated middle class.

"It is the business of educated people to speak so that no-one may be able to tell in what county their childhood was passed."
A. Burrell, Recitation. A Handbook for Teachers in Public Elementary School, 1891.

In the 19th century, there were still Prime Ministers who spoke with some dialectal features, such as William Gladstone (rp-fn11). It was not until the end of the century that the use of Received Pronunciation was considered to be a trait of education. As a result, at a time when only around five percent of the population attended universities, elitist notions sprang up around it and those who used it may have considered those who did not to be less educated than themselves. Historically the most prestigious British educational institutions (Oxford, Cambridge, many other privately funded public schools) were located in England, so those who were educated there would pick up the accents of their peers. (There have always been exceptions: for example, the University of Leeds using an RP accent; Morningside (Edinburgh, Scotland), Broughty Ferry, Dundee and Kelvinside in Glasgow had Scottish " pan loaf" variations of the RP accent aspiring to a similar prestige).

From the 1970s onwards, attitudes towards Received Pronunciation have been slowly changing. One of the catalysts for this was the influence in the 1960s of Labour prime minister Harold Wilson [prime minister: 1964-1970 and 1974-1976 -- AHTD]. Unusually for a prime minister, he spoke with elements of a Yorkshire accent. The BBC's use of announcers with strong regional accents during and after World War II (in order to distinguish BBC broadcasts from German propaganda) is an earlier example of the use of non-RP accents.

An April 2008 survey suggested that RP is no longer the most respected accent, and that Yorkshire accents are more commonly associated with positive character traits. (rp-fn12).

When consonants appear in pairs, fortis consonants (i.e. aspirated or voiceless) appear on the left and lenis consonants (i.e. lightly voiced or voiced) appear on the right (rp-fn13)

Unless preceded by /s/, fortis plosives (/p/, /t/, and /k/) are aspirated before stressed vowels; when a sonorant /l/, /ɹ/, /w/, or /j/ follows, this aspiration is indicated by partial devoicing of the sonorant. (rp-fn14)

UKT: The above statement should be clarified for Myanmar-born Burmese-Myanmar speakers who have been exposed to  Burmese-Myanmar akshara which is a phonetic script. English  /j/ , /ɹ/, /l/ , and /w/, should be compared to medial formers {ya. ra. la. wa.} which can form  {ya.ping.}, {ra.ric}, {la.hsw:} and {wa.hsw:}. These sounds (or aksharas) are classified as {a.wag} in Myanmar system and as approximants in IPA. It should also be remembered that /p/, /t/, and /k/ sounds (or aksharas) are voiceless and that English speakers fail to realise that each is actually made up two different sounds one of which is described as "aspirated" by non-Burmese speakers:
bilabial plosive /p/ -- IPA [p], Myanmar {pa.}; and IPA [pʰ], Myanmar {hpa.}
dental-alveolar plosive /t/ -- IPA [t], Myanmar {ta.}; and IPA [tʰ], Myanmar {hta.}
dental-alveolar fricative /s/ in onset and palatal stop /c/ in coda -- Myanmar {sa.}; Myanmar {hsa.} (UKT-rp-fn01)
velar plosive /k/ -- IPA [k], Myanmar {ka.}; and IPA [kʰ], Myanmar {hka.}
   Since there are no words in Burmese-Myanmar which could be compared to English words where
/s/ precedes /p/, /t/, or /k/, Myanmars find it very hard to pronounce words like <stop> /stɒp/ or /stɑːp/. They usually pronounce <stop> as /sa'tɑːp/ resulting in English-to-Burmese transcriptions like {sa.taup} /sa'tɑːp/. For them I would like to suggest that they spell the transcript as {s~tau:p} /sə'tɑːp/ which would indicate to them that {sa.} has lost its inherent vowel and has become {s~} and that it should not be pronounced as /să/ (please note my use of suprasegmental /ă/ for a very short sound). -- I am waiting for comments from my Myanmar-born Burmese peers.

Syllable final /p/, /t/, /tʃ/, and /k/ are preceded by a glottal stop (see Glottal reinforcement); /t/ may be fully replaced by a glottal stop, especially before a syllabic nasal (button [bɐʔn̩]). (rp-fn15) (rp-fn16).

UKT: Again the above statement should be clarified for Myanmar-born Burmese-Myanmar speakers who have been exposed to Burmese-Myanmar akshara. Syllable finals are technically known as codas, and are present in Burmese-Myanmar as {a.tht}. These are always considered as part of the rime (vowel-consonant combination). Thus coda /p/, /t/, /tʃ/, and /k/ are equivalent to {pa.tht}, {ta.tht}, {sa.tht} and {ka.tht}. And <button> sounds similar to {bt-twan} or {bt-tun}. Since {a.tht} are not pronounced, they can be considered to be glottal stops. (I am waiting for comments from my peers. 080704)

Examples of short vowels: /ɪ/ in kit and mirror, /ʊ/ in put,/e/ in dress and merry, /ʌ/ in strut and curry, // in trap and marry, /ɒ/ in lot and orange, /ə/ in ago and sofa.

UKT: The two forms of short vowel <u> are represented in Romabama as:
{} for /ʌ/ , e.g. {bt}
{u} for /ʊ/ , e.g. {pwut}
(UKT - 080703)

Examples of long vowels: /iː/ in fleece, /uː/ in goose, /ɜː/ in nurse, /ɔː/ in north and thought, /ɑː/ in father and start.

RP's long vowels are slightly diphthongised. Especially the high vowels /iː/ and /uː/ which are often narrowly transcribed in phonetic literature as diphthongs [ɪi] and [ʊu].

"Long" and "short" are relative to each other. Because of phonological process affecting vowel length, short vowels in one context can be longer than long vowels in another context. (rp-fn17). For example, a long vowel following a fortis consonant sound (/p/, /k/, /s/, etc.) is shorter; reed is thus pronounced [ɹiːd̥] while heat is [hiʔt].

Conversely, the short vowel // becomes longer if it is followed by a lenis consonant. Thus, bat is pronounced [b̥ʔt] and bad is [b̥ːd̥]. In natural speech, the plosives /t/ and /d/ may be unreleased utterance-finally, thus distinction between these words would rest mostly on vowel length (rp-fn16).

In addition to such length distinctions, unstressed vowels are both shorter and more centralized than stressed ones. In unstressed syllables occurring before vowels and in final position, contrasts between long and short high vowels are neutralized and short [i] and [u] occur. (rp-fn18).

Before World War II, /ɔə/ appeared in words like door but this has largely disappeared, having merged with /ɔː/; there are a number of words where /ʊə/ has merged with /ɔː/, (rp-fn19), although the Oxford Dictionary still lists poor as being pronounced with the former diphthong. In the closing diphthongs, the glide is often so small as to be undetectable so that day and dare can be narrowly transcribed as [d̥e̞ː] and [d̥ɛː] respectively. (rp-fn20)

RP also possesses the triphthongs /aɪə/ as in ire and /aʊə/ as in hour. The realizations sketched in the following table are not phonemically distinctive, though the difference between /aʊə/, /aɪə/, and /ɑː/ may be neutralised to become [ɑː] or [ː].

Not all reference sources use the same system of transcription. In particular:

// as in trap is often written /a/.
/e/ as in dress is sometimes written /ɛ/ (rp-fn21).
/ɜː/ as in nurse is sometimes written /əː/.
/aɪ/ as in price is sometimes written /ʌɪ/.
/aʊ/ as in mouse is sometimes written /ɑʊ/
/eə/ as in square is sometimes written /ɛə/, and is also sometimes treated as a long monophthong /ɛː/.

Most of these variants are used in the transcription devised by Clive Upton for the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (1993) and now used in many other Oxford University Press dictionaries.

Historical variation
Like all accents, RP has changed over time. For example, sound recordings and films from the first half of the 20th century demonstrate that it was standard to pronounce the // sound, as in land, with a vowel close to [ɛ], so that land would sound similar to lend. RP is sometimes known as the Queen's English, but recordings show that even the Queen has changed her pronunciation over the past 50 years, no longer using an [ɛ]-like vowel in words like land. (rp-fn22)

The 1993 Oxford Dictionary changed three main things in its description of modern RP, although these features can still be heard amongst old speakers of RP. Firstly, words such as cloth, gone, off, often were pronounced with /ɔː/ instead of /ɒ/ so that often sounded close to orphan (See lot-cloth split). The Queen still uses the older pronunciations (rp-fn23), but it is rare to hear them on the BBC anymore. Secondly, there was a distinction between horse and hoarse with an extra diphthong /ɔə/ appearing in words like hoarse, force, and pour. (rp-fn24). Thirdly, final y on a word was pronounced as an /ɪ/ in Standard English, but this is now a more open /i/ sound, as has been common in the south of England for some time. (rp-fn25)

Before World War II, the vowel of cup was a back vowel close to cardinal [ʌ] but has since shifted forward to a central position so that [ɐ] is more accurate; phonetic transcription of this vowel as < ʌ> is common partly for historical reasons. (rp-fn26).

In very early forms of RP, the vowel /oʊ/ was used instead of the modern /əʊ/ in words such as goat, no, cold, etc. (rp-fn27); the /oʊ/ was used throughout Daniel Jones's work on RP. Joseph Wright's work suggests that, during the early 20th century, words such as cure, fewer, pure, etc. were pronounced with a tripthong /iuə/ rather than the more modern /juə/ (rp-fn28). The older pronunciation is still common in speech across the North of England and Scotland.

The change in RP may even be observed in the home of "BBC English". The BBC accent from the 1950s was distinctly different from today's: a news report from the 1950s is recognisable as such, and a mock-1950s BBC voice is used for comic effect in programmes wishing to satirize 1950s social attitudes such as the "Harry Enfield Show" and its "Mr Cholmondley-Warner" sketches.

Comparison to other varieties

RP is a broad A accent, so words like bath and chance appear with /ɑː/ and not //.

UKT: Note /ɑː/ in Burmese-Myanmar is {au:} and not {a}, and so <father> /'fɑː.əʳ/ (DJPD16-199) sounds like {hpau:tha:} instead of {hpa:tha:} as stage comics would like to say.

RP is a non-rhotic accent, meaning /r/ does not occur unless followed immediately by a vowel.

RP has undergone the wine-whine merger so the phoneme /ʍ/ is not present except among those who have acquired this distinction as the result of speech training. R.A.D.A. (the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art), based in London, still teaches these two sounds as distinct phonemes. They are pronounced differently in most of Scotland and in the north-east of England.

UKT: Myanmars could easily differentiate the pronunciations of <wine> /waɪn/ and <whine> /hwaɪn/ because of the common use of {ha.hto:} sounds in Burmese-Myanmar. They pronounce <wine> as {weing} /waɪŋ/ and <whine> as {wheing} /hwaɪŋ/ . See my note UKT-rp-fn02 on wine-whine merger taken from Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonological_history_of_wh#Wine-whine_merger 080705

Unlike many other varieties of English English, there is no h-dropping in words like head or herb.

UKT: Myanmars usually pronounce <herb> with {ha.}. I was asked by my American friends to drop the "h" in <herb> in the 1950s. After getting used to saying <herb> as "erb", I was asked by my Australian friends in the 1970s to put the "h" in <herb>. Now after the turn of the century I am back saying it as I was taught in Myanmar in my childhood.

RP does not have yod dropping after /n/, /t/ and /d/. Hence, for example, new, tune and dune are pronounced /njuː/, /tjuːn/ and /djuːn/ rather than /nuː/, /tuːn/ and /duːn/. This contrasts with many East Anglian and East Midland varieties of English English and with many forms of American English, including General American.

UKT: Myanmars similar to those in countries which were once under the British rule, pronounce <new> as {nyu:} /njuː/ -- not as {nu:} /nuː/.

The flapped variant of /t/ and /d/ (as in much of the West Country, most American varieties including General American and the Cape Coloured dialect of South Africa) is not used. In traditional RP [ɾ] is an allophone of /r/ (used only intervocalically) (rp-fn29).

Wikipedia references

rp-fn01  Learning: Language & Literature: Sounds Familiar?: Case studies: Received Pronunciation British Library rp-fn01b
rp-fn02  Crystal (2003:365) rp-fn02b
rp-fn03  British Library website, "Sounds Familiar?" section rp-fn03b
rp-fn04  Pronunciations from any Oxford Dictionary where pronunciations are given:
  <Again> - /əgen/, /əgein/ ; <Either> - /aɪə(ɹ)/, /iːə(ɹ)/ ; <Moor> - /mɔː(ɹ)/, /mʊə(ɹ)/ rp-fn04b
rp-fn05  Received Pronunciation rp-fn05b
rp-fn06  Elmes (2005:114) rp-fn06b
rp-fn07  bbc.co.uk rp-fn07b
rp-fn08  Crystal (2003:54-55)  rp-fn08b
rp-fn09  Schmitt (2007:323) rp-fn09b
rp-fn10  Jones (1917:viii) rp-fn10b
rp-fn11  Gladstone's speech was the subject of a book The Best English. A claim for the superiority of Received Standard English, together with notes on Mr. Gladstone's pronunciation, H.C. Kennedy, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1934 rp-fn11b
rp-fn12  Yorkshire named top twang as Brummie brogue comes bottom | UK news | guardian.co.uk rp-fn12b
rp-fn13  Roach (2004:240-241) rp-fn13b
rp-fn14  Roach (2004:240) rp-fn14b
rp-fn15  Roach (2004:240) rp-fn15b
rp-fn16  GIMSON, A. C. An Introduction to the pronunciation of English,' London : Edward Arnold, 1970. rp-fn16b | rp-fn16b2
rp-fn17  Roach (2004:241) rp-fn17b
rp-fn18  Roach (2004:240) rp-fn18b
rp-fn19  Roca & Johnson (1999:200) rp-fn19b
rp-fn20  Roach (2004:240) rp-fn20b
rp-fn21  Schmitt (2007:322-323) rp-fn21b
rp-fn22  Language Log. Happy-tensing and coal in sex. rp-fn22b
rp-fn23  The Queen's speech to President Sarkozy "often" pronounced at 4:44 rp-fn23b
rp-fn24  Joseph Wright, English Dialect Grammer, p.5, section 12. The symbols used are slightly different. Wright classifies the sound in fall, law, saw' as /o:/ and that in more, soar, etc. as /oə/ rp-fn24b
rp-fn25  The Dialects of England, Peter Trudgill, Blackwell, Oxford, 2000. p.62 rp-fn25b
rp-fn26  Roca & Johnson (1999:135, 186) rp-fn26b
rp-fn27  http://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/rphappened.htm Point 3 rp-fn27b
rp-fn28  Joseph Wright, English Dialect Grammer, p.5, section 10 rp-fn28b
rp-fn29  Wise, Claude Merton. Introduction to phonetics. Englewood- Cliffs, 1957. rp-fn29b


UKT-rp-fn01 Palatal /c/ in onset is absent in English even in words like <success> /sək'ses/ which could very well be /sʌc'ses/ in which case it would be similar to {thic~sa} /θɪc'sa/. Please note that I am not saying that Myanmars speaking English pronounce <success> as /sʌc'ses/ but that it could very well be so. I am waiting comments from my Burmese peers 080705 - UKT-rp-fn01b

UKT-rp-fn02 From: Phonological history of wh : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonological_history_of_wh#Wine-whine_merger 080705
The pronunciation of the digraph wh in English has varied with time, and can still vary today between different regions. According to the historical period and the accent of the speaker, it is most commonly realised as the Voiceless labio-velar approximant /ʍ/ [UKT: {wha.}], the voiced labial-velar approximant /w/ [UKT: {wa.}], or the consonant cluster /hw/ [UKT: same as {wha.}]. In a few words, it may be realised as the voiceless glottal fricative /h/ [UKT: {ha.}]. The pronunciation of this digraph as /ʍ/ is historically the oldest, but in many dialects of English this phoneme has merged with /w/, a process known as the "wine-whine merger". (More in the Wikipedia article.) UKT-rp-fn02b

Wikipedia bibliography

Crystal, David (2003), The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language (2 ed.), Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521530334
Elmes, Simon (2005), Talking for Britain: A journey through the voices of our nation, Penguin Books Ltd, ISBN 0140515623
Jones, Daniel (1917), written at London, English Pronouncing Dictionary
de Jong, Gea; Kirsty McDougall & Toby Hudson et al. (2007), "The speaker discriminating power of sounds undergoing historical change: A formant-based study", the Proceedings of ICPhS Saarbrcken, 1813-1816
Roach, Peter (2004), "British English: Received Pronunciation", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 34 (2): 239-245
Roca, Iggy & Wyn Johnson (1999), A Course in Phonology, Blackwell Publishing
Schmitt, Holger (2007), "The case for the epsilon symbol (ɛ) in RP DRESS", Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37 (3): 321-328

Wikipedia external links

B.B.C. page on Upper R.P. as spoken by the English upper-classes
Sounds Familiar? Listen to examples of received pronunciation on the British Library's 'Sounds Familiar' website
Whatever happened to Received Pronunciation? - An article by the phonetician J. C. Wells about received pronunciation

Go back RP-note-b

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