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  • Print publication year: 1999
  • Online publication date: March 2008

5 - PHONOLOGY

Summary
Until the mid-eighteenth century, the pronunciation of English had generally been regarded as of secondary importance to matters of grammar and style. It was Thomas Sheridan who was to ask that correct pronunciation be put onto the intellectual agenda, by arguing that it was the variability of pronunciation, more than any other linguistic feature, which signalled the decline of English as a language. Interpretation of the older literature is often made difficult by writers discussing sounds in terms of orthography, or the used by philologists or modifications of IPA. In 1874, Ellis noted the absence of conclusive evidence on the pronunciation of unaccented syllables of English. An additional source of information about variant forms of unaccented vowels is the correspondence between Sweet, Storm and Murray. Two aspects of unaccented vowel phonology have been chosen for exemplification: word-initial pre-tonic vowels and word-final post-tonic vowels.
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The Cambridge History of the English Language
  • Online ISBN: 9781139053655
  • Book DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521264778
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