Review of CPD in ELTJ

The criterion for inclusion of a word in this dictionary is that it be considered familiar over 'the whole of the educated English-speaking world'. The dictionary excludes those American pronunciations which are specifically associated with New England or the Southern states and also those British pronunciations which are specifically associated with any socially conspicuous background. The author rejects the term 'Received Pronunciation' and prefers, on analogy with General American, the term 'General British', a conjunction of symbols which can only be described as happy. An interesting innovation is the inclusion of familiar French loan-words in an up-to-date anglicised pronunciation containing nasalised, but not French, vowels.

The transcription used throughout the dictionary is a basic version of that used by A. C. Gimson in An Introduction to the Pronunciation of English, a textbook which, incidentally, is misnamed on page xvii. The advantage of adopting this transcription is that it places the contrastive emphasis upon vowel quality, rather than on the debatable element of vowel duration or quantity. Using an 'unhurried' style as his model, the author avoids instances of assimilation and elision except where they are the only acceptable forms. Thus in newspaper the assimilation of the /z/ to an /s/ sound before the /p/ is firmly established, whereas in empty the omission of the /p/ sound is common but not inevitable.

Where a word has a rhythmical pattern which varies with its context, for example words like princess and unknown, the dictionary gives the pattern which is likely to occur when the word is said in isolation. This is an omission which one cannot help regretting. Admittedly, the author in his preliminary account advises the user of the dictionary to consult a teacher or a textbook on pronunciation whenever he has any doubts about his handling of rhythm. But when is the student of English to know the stress pattern given in the dictionary applies only to isolated or final instances of the word? It is a pity that some symbol could not have been devised to warn the user of the dictionary when such entries occur.

One of the author's suggestions is that the student should find some time to read it every day, and he promises, as an inducement, presumably, that he will no doubt receive a number of shocks. If this sounds too much to expect of even the most dedicated student, let it be recorded that at least one distinguished Indian professor of English has claimed that he owes his excellent pronunciation to following just that procedure with the English Pronouncing Dictionary of Daniel Jones.

In general, this dictionary is very useful, not least because it includes within one set of covers the two main styles of pronunciation of English. The author is to be congratulated on the finished product. Perhaps opportunity will arise in future editions to remove some of the shortcomings of this first one. This is a reference book which many students and teachers of English as a foreign language will wish to have at hand.