Japan to change official romanisation?

Recent press reports suggest that the Japanese government is thinking of changing the officially recommended system for romanising Japanese. Romanisation is writing Japanese in roman characters (known in Japanese as rōmaji). There are 2 main romanisation systems for Japanese: Hepburn, devised by an American Missionary James Curtis Hepburn (1815-1911). Kunrei, issued by the Japanese government…… Continue reading Japan to change official romanisation?

Is that Swedish ‘sj-sound’ really a sibilant?

Swedish has a sound /s/, broadly similar to English /s/ in, for example, English seep. I’ve known for a long time that Swedish also has 2 other sibilant consonants, which I’d thought corresponded roughly to English /ʃ/, as in English sheep. Common transcriptions for those 2 sibilants in the International Phonetic Alphabet are /ɕ/ and…… Continue reading Is that Swedish ‘sj-sound’ really a sibilant?

How many sounds are there in English? (2): vowels

In an earlier post, I looked at how many consonant sounds there are in standard southern British English, generally known as Received Pronunciation RP). In this post, I will look at the vowels. As before, I will be looking at how many phonemes there are. The earlier post describes what a phoneme is. How many…… Continue reading How many sounds are there in English? (2): vowels

How many sounds are there in English?

How many sounds are there in English? It all depends on what you mean by English and what you mean by sounds. In this post, I will talk about the sounds of standard southern British English, generally known as Received Pronunciation. Phonemes The only feasible way to analyse the set of sounds used in a…… Continue reading How many sounds are there in English?

Droppin’ g’s = bad speech?

At the end of July, Digby Jones, former Director-General of the CBI (Confederation of British Industry), tweeted about the pronunciation of Alex Scott, one of the BBC’s main studio presenters during the Tokyo Olympics. He complained about her “very noticeable inability to pronounce her ‘g’s at the end of a word”, such as “fencin, rowin,…… Continue reading Droppin’ g’s = bad speech?