The first part (249 pages with 90 clear & accurate articulatory &
intonation illustrations) gives the ‘International’ accent of English. This
is not meant to be a simplified version for foreigners speaking to other
foreigners, so often falsely presented as the solution for intercultural
communication. The International accent of English, on the contrary (both
in its current and native-like versions), is the sublimation of the
American and British neutral (or ‘standard’) accents. This avoids the
peculiarities of both these accents, while privileging their common and
most general features, reducing thus their differences and real or seeming
exceptions with respect to its current and highly unsatisfactory spelling.
The neutral American and British accents are always given along, for
comparisons and useful information, as well: Vowels, Consonants (including
‘The ‘whole truth’ on English r’), Stress and Intonation (including
Paralinguistics). There follow a few chapters with phonotonetic
transcriptions: Conversations, Literary texts, and the IPA sample text. The
‘mediatic’ American (or ‘General American’) and British (or ‘Estuary
English’) accents are fully treated in separate chapters.
The second part (407 pages) describes more than 200 accents: 120 native (up
to 145 with variants), 61 bilingual, and 20 foreign accents. They are so
distributed: North America: Canada & USA (73 accents, including 13
Native-American ones). British Isles: England (34 accents) and Wales,
Scotland & Ireland (23 accents). Other accents: Australia, New Zealand &
South Africa (28 accents). Second language: Caribbean, Far East, India,
Africa, Malta & Gibraltar (28 accents). Foreign (20 accents). With 32
linguistic maps and 292 clear (though rigorous and extensive) illustrations
for vowels, consonants and intonation.
We can safely say that the book provides the most accurate descriptions of
English accents ever done, in 700 pages, thanks to very many clear figures
and precise transcriptions, with no ambiguities, that overcome the too
obvious limits of the official IPA conception and symbols, sadly designed
just for phonemic intralinguistic purposes, not for more useful
interlinguistic and diaphonemic purposes.
Appendices (44 pages): A concise international-pronunciation dictionary.
Homophones. List of maps & paraphonic figures. The contoidal orograms &
their canIPA symbols. Selected annotated bibliography. Official IPA chart.
The author, who was trained in the British phonetic tradition, teaches
Natural Phonetics & Tonetics, i.e. articulatory, auditory and functional,
at the University of Venice, Italy.