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The Transcription of RP – Suggestions for In-Class Activities

If students do not feel confident in any of these areas, we recommend to visit the respective elearning units on the virtual linguistics campus here there are phoneme and phonetic transcription or to consult our electors in this YouTube blog now, in particular, the e lectures about the phoneme And phonetic transcription this background knowledge is necessary for the goals of this in class meeting.

The particular prerequisite for this in class meeting is that students have worked through the unit, the transcription of received pronunciation, including the election English in England, in accordance with our inverted classroom model. As a starting point for this particular in-class meeting, I suggest to clarify the terminology that is used to define the standard pronunciation of the English language in England, the heartland of the English language.

In doing this, I will be supported by a first-term student of our seminar and Nina Eichmann hi. Elena Anna Nina will first of all discuss with me the central definitions so uh Nina in defining the standard of the pronunciation of English in England. What sort of terms have you come across? Well, I’ve come across the term British English. Okay. Can you write it down and abbreviate English by a capital ease of British English is a term that is often used anything else.

Yes, that’s Oxford, English and Queen’s English. Okay, now, while Annina is writing down these terms, let me say something about it: British English is a head term for the reference variety that we use in teaching and learning English. However, it mainly refers to the standards in orthography, in the syntax, in the morphology and in the vocabulary of English, so it is a head term rather than a term used for the pronunciation of English, Oxford, English and Queen’s English.

Well, Oxford English implies that this English is spoken in Oxford. Isn’t it well and Queen’s English implies that only the Queen uses it, so there are no suitable terms for the pronunciation of English, so rather we should use something else, and the term that is used is in fact called received. Pronunciation, okay, received pronunciation. Now the term received pronunciation has, for many years been used to refer to the type of English, which is the one that is accepted by the best society.

Rp is also the accent that Americans and possibly other foreigners would probably refer to, as the typical British accent. Sometimes it is also referred to under the terms BBC, English public, school, English or even Standard English, so it is neither a regional nor a personal but a socially accepted type of Standard English. By the way, you can compare this with the standard accent that is used in your own country.

We are both speakers of German, so in German, we have a similar situation where the standard is social rather than regional, in character. Okay, after this first introduction to the term, received pronunciation. Let’s now practice – and you know you dealt with the e-learning unit – we, you should be familiar with it. You read the article and you pass the graded worksheet by the way, with an excellent result where you had to transcribe some RP words, and this is now our first practice, so I will produce some nonsense words.

Nonsense. Words are always very good because they do not distract you from the orthography okay. So now here are the words in you. Please transcribe. These words here is the first one. Do it do it? Okay, next one is razz razz good. Then we have kind kind. Okay, the fourth one is should-should and the last one in this series is Jacques, Jacques. Okay, so perhaps you’ve tried the same thing. You can now compare an inner solutions with yours, and here are the model solutions and, as you can see, there are only well only two mistakes.

I think the first one is, of course, where Annina use the wrong vowel here this should be. What would you call this vowel? Oh, that’s the swab, the schwa, okay, so schwa and the second mistake. Well, there’s no further mistake, perfect good solution so now this explains why she did the worksheet so well and now, let’s take another series, some longer complex nonsense words. This is now very hard, and here is the first one Castillo Castillo Castillo, yes, and he now is inserting a stress mark.

You know when words have several syllables, you have to use a stress mark tostito. Okay, again, you can try yourself and later we will look at the model solutions. Now, here’s number two did Sheila did, Sheila did Fila looks, good, did, Sheila did thela and the last one is, must heed or must heed or must heed or must heed or Musti door? Yes, fantastic. Only one mistake I can see. Perhaps if you look at it, you can see yourself.

This symbol here would be more mostly door, oh and it is not used in RP at all. So this would be the solution. Well, let’s look at the solutions here they are. The rest is OK again. It’s always useful if you address particular letters, particular letters. So this is a letter here which has a particular name, this symbol. Well, I think that’s the whet the wedge, okay and earlier on in the previous exercise.

We have this symbol. What is it called and that’s the S the ash, so we have three characters which we can address by name the wedge: the ashen through. Ah it’s much simpler than to talk about transcription. Okay before we now turn our attention to the sound system of RP. Let’s repeat the differences between an arrow and a broad transcription here is a sentence I used in the e lecture about the phoneme Liz played with Paul.

So let’s transcribe, this sentence in two versions, narrow and broad – are Nina. How are these systems represented? First of all? Well, in the narrow system, you use the angular brackets, and here we use slashes the slashes okay excellent. Now I mean I didn’t know that I’m wiping this off, because I’ve prepared something, but it doesn’t matter. So this is what I prepared, and here are, of course, the right brackets or your answer was perfect.

Now I want to make life a little bit simpler in class. Of course, I would do the whole thing, the transcription, together with my students, so in both cases we have some symbols that are absolutely identical, and these are the ones are represented in black here now. Let us now write down the two different versions and let us look at the differences, perhaps the lateral consonants first. So what about the first? Let’s look at the narrow transcription first, what about the first law as in Liz? Well, I think in is it snow? Well, so to say normal because it’s palatalized palatalized or yes, you use the symbol for palatalization, and if you compare that with the law in Paul well any alveolar lateral here, yeah Paul.

I think it’s penalized realized very good. Okay and then we have another alveolar lateral. In played, which is preceded by /, yes, so what about that? One? Because / is D voiced. I think the L is also D voice. Okay, so you can add the / now in front of yes laid okay, and then we have another cut in Paul. What about that /? That part is aspirated, okay, very good, and now we have excluding the stress mark Liz played with Paul pups.

You can insert a stress mark here. We have an arrow transcription and if we compare that with the broad phonemic transcription, we simply have well the same symbol: the phone. Yes, we don’t have allophones okay played with Paul perfect, so Annina has understood the difference between narrow and broad transcriptions. I hope you so it is the broad phonemic transcription that is predominantly used for the transcription of RP and the most popular one is the one used in John Wells wrongman pronouncing dictionary, and for this reason it is abbreviated as Ltd transcription long run, pronouncing dictionary transcription.

So let us now turn our attention to the sound system of received pronunciation here. It is let’s first of all list the inventory itself. How many phonemes that does RP have RP has got 44 phonemes 44 phonemes, and they can be subdivided into vowels and consonants. How many vowels xx and consonants 24? Okay great and now we only need the monophthongs and diphthongs we’ve got twelve one of thongs an age difference: okay, very good.

So this is then really the inventory itself, the 44 phonemes. And since the next unit of this class will be about American English and the consonantal systems of both varieties of English are very much similar. Let us concentrate on the bowels of our pee first okay and Nina. How can the vowels of received pronunciation be subdivided in the monophthongs? Sorry the monophthongs? Well, I think we’ve got long and we’ve got sort one of tongues.

Mm-Hmm. Okay, now length is a little bit critical. Isn’t it well? I don’t think whether it really plays a role. Okay and okay, so she was a little bit informed about this. What we’re doing now! So what I do in class at this point is, I present the following four words and here they are see, seat, SID and sit. So, let’s listen. I recorded see seat Sid SID now on you know. The first two are normally transcribed with a long, Eva, Eva, the colon and the second set with a shorty in hearing them.

What would you say? Which one is the longest? Well, I think the longest is C. Okay, so that’s our number one, the longest and the shortest. I think. That’s it okay and then number two and three would be well. I think like this okay, so this is what we all would probably say without performing a so called spectrographic analysis which you can’t can find here. So what I did. I used an audio program in class recorded the sounds and then showed this result to the students, and here you can clearly see in the frames which contain the vowels that now we have a different situation.

Yes, this one is still the longest, but now there is that one Sid is the second longest number three is seat and number four is sit, and now you can see that strictly speaking, length is not a decisive factor at all. Rather, it is a matter of tens versus lakhs or a distribution, for example the most of the short vowels, and this is a distributional effect. Most of the short vowels only occur in closed syllables.

That is, they need a consonant that has to follow. The schwa occurs in unstressed position and the e is a little bit critical as a language change going on where many people would now say City instead of City, but we still use the length Marc. Yes, we do and why well, it is perhaps a special indicator for the prolongation of vowels, which is useful for the language learner. After all, there are many languages which do not have long vowels at all.

So if you’re learning English and you see these links, symbols you might be tempted to make them longer and that’s not too bad for the language learner. Okay, the diphthongs here are the eight diphthongs. How can we subdivide these dipthongs? Well, we’ve got in gliding and adding different tongues. Okay, can you mark the in gliding ones? Yes, I think these three okay, so these are the in gliding diphthongs.

Now some students often complain about all this terminology. Why do I have to remember all these terms, but these terms help in a systematic classification of the sound systems of languages. In the case of our PD thumbs, we can say that the whole class doesn’t exist in American English. Why not? Well, I think that our the in glaring ones, because they can all be found in context with the final or choker orthographical are and in American English.

This comes out as a man of throne plus earth. So here we have some words here. There ensure in British English, with a with an implied indifferent in American English, here, they’re unsure, okay, now the final part of this session should be dedicated to the discussion of transcription to practicing a good exercise would be this one here, where you present your students, a Transcription result that contains a lot of mistakes and these mistakes can be of a formal kind.

So, for example, and I’ll leave that to you we’re not giving this Ellucian here, perhaps just the headline. The headline contains some mistakes, so our four lettered friends, where are the main mistakes? Annina? Well, I think because, as you know, if, whereas you just have said the art, isn’t there and mercy pronunciation, so we get rid of that. Yes, and here has to be the SWOT, I think grateful occurred.

Yes, and this is normal II friends. Yes, I’m salon is not used in RP. Ok, I think here when you thanks mark yes for the difference. Sometimes we have trouble writing here, but it’s we all know. It must be this. This vowel in the first case, so our four lettered friends well and you can do the rest at home. Finally, depending on the time you have in class, you could present your students with a transcription exercise, give them a text, give them five minutes.

Let them do the transcription and eventually show them the results, and of course they can do. The rest at home then continue at home, and this could be a nice homework too. But you know, according to the inverted classroom model, you don’t have real homeworks. We do everything in class, okay, let’s summarize well after this in class meeting and the e-learning unit, the sound system of RP prior to it, everyone should not only be able to list and classify the RP phonemes, but also to transcribe RP words in simple phrases: the Transcription of connected speech might still be a problem, but that does not matter at this point.

We will tackle that in the unit present-day English connected speech and in the respective a lecture. So let us stop here, but not without reminding the students to finish the last two tasks: the corrections of errors and the completion of the transcription. The solutions by the way can be found on the virtual linguistics campus. So thank you all for your patience. Thank you very much’, Nina for your support, just-just.

She said that’s bye-bye in German, okay, that’s it for now!


 

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