English now holds an undisputed place as the first international
language. If it is to remain an efficient instrument of world
communication, those who speak it, especially as a second language,
must conform to certain accepted rules of pronunciation. There can be
little doubt that on the grounds of general influence it is the British
or American styles of pronunciation that Mr Windsor Lewis’s Concise
Pronouncing Dictionary, showing both types of pronunciation in a
carefully selected word list, is particularly valuable.
He has not sought to show the whole complexity of pronunciation even within the traditional British and American standards, but has wisely chosen to recommend only one form for the foreign speaker to adopt. Too often, English dictionaries persist in showing pronunciations which are seriously archaic. The forms given by Mr Windsor Lewis consistently reflect current usage; and the phonetic transcription which he employs is both simple and economical. His decision to emphasize the differences of quality rather than of quantity between vowels is especially welcome, since the former have a greater practical relevance for the foreign learner.
This is a reference book which is sure to be widely used abroad; it is also certain that many who have English as their native language will consult its pages with profit.
Professor of Phonetics
University College, London