Monday, January 11, 2010

Error on BBC Learning English

About a month ago I wrote to point out two errors on a clickable IPA chart on the BBC Learning English Pronunciation Tips page.  Sadly they remain unchanged after all this while, even though I immediately wrote to the BBC via its Contact Us page to alert them to the errors.

I’m glad the eminent phonetician, Professor John Wells, agrees with me.  (I’d written to him about the errors, seeing that his help had been acknowledged on the BBC site.)  Here’s an excerpt from his blog post of 7 January 2010:

Look at this chart of phonetic symbols for English (RP type). It is a pop-up that appears if you go to the BBC World Service learning English site and click on Listen to the sounds of English. Do you notice what is wrong? Compare it with the correct chart found on that page itself.  There are two discrepancies. One is that the MOUTH vowel is written as ɑʊ rather than, which is something that could perhaps even be defended as a preferable notation for the diphthong in question (though here it is unquestionably just a mistake). The other is a straightforward error: ɭ (retroflex lateral) instead of l (alveolar lateral).  Thanks to Ludwig Tan for this.

Professor Wells’s Phonetic Blog is probably a little too advanced for most undergraduate students of phonetics, but it is always fascinating.

3 comments:

D9Robot said...

im so glad i grew up speaking english.

D9 Robot

Pedro Garcia Millan said...

I LIVE IN A BIG HOUSE IN VANCOUVER AND AM ASIAN!

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