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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

New from Cambridge University Press!


Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Substrate influence: from spelling pronunciation to pronunciation spelling – a growing trend among university students in Kenya
Author: Serah Waitiki
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: The development of African varieties of English has been attributed to a variety of factors, and the emergent forms of English spoken in various African countries have been the subject of study for several decades now. Among the factors mentioned as leading to the ‘Africanness’ of African Englishes is the exposure to written language, which tends to lead to the observation of linkages between spelling and pronunciation in some of these varieties of English (Schmied, 1991a, 2006). The argument has been that due to exposure to the written word, second language learners reproduce elements of written language in speech, leading, for example, to the pronunciation of silent letters in words such as ‘heir’, ‘tomb’ etc. This phenomenon of ‘spelling pronunciation’ is more pronounced in some varieties than in others, and the practice may not be confined to non-native environments. In general, spelling pronunciation has been shown to lead to cross-cultural miscommunication and therefore has implications for English as a global language.


This article appears IN English Today Vol. 29, Issue 2.

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