Thursday, 31 January 2013

O tempora, O more's the pity

As my schoolfriend, and manager of NATO Unabbreviated (a one-gig wonder), John Mullins* said when I asked him to tell me about a band he had suggested we should go and hear at a pub in Fulham Broadway in 1978, Dire Straits's lead singer was 'a sort of cross between Eric Clapton and J. J. Cale'. Fast-forward 32 years (more than half a lifetime... any chance of a Rewind button?...), and Clapton recorded an album†, Clapton, which includes a track with a guest appearance from none other than J. J. Cale.

And John was right. But 75p to go into a pub and not even get a seat...! Well, I did cough up, but it still sticks in my craw...Doh.

b

*If anyone knows John, say hello and ask him if he's looking for a guitarist
†From the Latin [libru(m)] albu(m)‡, a reference to the white pages of (originally) scrap-books - cp 'alb' (the white garment that RC priests wear under the chasuble, 'albumen', and 'aubade' (which has been on a long journey from  the whitening of the sky at dawn - French aube - to a word that represents a song sung at dawn), etc.... I wonder whether the designer of The Beatles' 'White album' knew this...?
‡ Yet another example of a new word for a thing being coined from an adjective, as discussed here. The same post explains the philological convention of referring to what a classicist would identify as 'the accusative case' rather than 'the nominative'.

Tales from the word face

In my travails towards V2 of When Vowels Get Together (see what I did there? Apologies if - it offended you as much as it would have offended me if I'd been reading it ) I've finally embarked on the vowel-pair -EE-, and I find - much to my relief (I think I may have posted about the daunting prospect of -EE- words, as e is the most common vowel - which I stupidly assumed meant a pair of them would make the most common digraph) - that there are a smidgin over half as many -EE- words as there are -EA- words. (The exact numbers, which include hits for idioms - there are, for example, separate index hits in the Macmillan English Dictionary for both 'needle' and 'a needle in a haystack' - don't give the whole story. There might, for some unaccountable - not to say unlikely - reason be significantly more idioms with -EE- words than idioms with -EA- words. I doubt it though.)

For the record, then, the figures are 3638 for the string '*ea*' and 1900 for '*ee*'. Onwards and upwards.

Update 2013.01.01: A few tweaks

Update: 2013.10.02.16:05
Header updated:


 Mammon (When Vowels Get Together V4.0: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs – AA-AU, EA-EU, and  IA-IU, and – new for V4.0 – OA-OU.  If you buy it, contact  @WVGTbook on Twitter and I'll alert you to free downloads of the forthcoming volumes; or click the Following button at the foot of this page.)
And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: nearly 32,400 views**,  and  4,400 downloads to date. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with 1570 views/700 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.
 

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Sez who?

'Most of What You Think You Know About Grammar is Wrong'


This is the sort of lazy cliché that makes my lip curl more than somewhat. People don't 'know things about grammar'; more to the point, they're not taught things about grammar. In some cases, they're taught grammatical rules that the teacher thinks are true; and almost always those are wrong. Moreover, what's that 'you' doing? I can see that it makes for a catchy headline, but it risks contemptuous  scrutiny by people who don't think anything of the sort (whatever that may be)!

And most annoying is the fact that the article's heart's in the right place (or rather the hearts of the 'bloggers at Grammarphobia.com and former New York Times editors' who wrote it). I started by laying into the headline; OK, as a committee was writing the post, maybe an unpaid intern (and while we're on the subject of unpaid interns, sign this, won't you?) wrote it. So, what about the post itself?

Here's the first paragraph and a bit:

You’ve probably heard the old story about the pedant who dared to tinker with Winston Churchill’s writing because the great man had ended a sentence with a preposition. Churchill’s scribbled response: “This is the sort of English up with which I will not put.”

It’s a great story, but it’s a myth.
What has this got to do with the point of the post? The scribbled riposte – not made, I think, by Churchill, but reported by Sir Ernest Gowers in an early edition of Fowler is an example of the sort of 'rule' the post is talking about; so it's relevant. But what has the next line got to do with the price of fish? If they want to say it's untrue (a usage of 'myth' that I loathe [sic, and another thing I loathe is being thought to have got the spelling wrong when I use 'loth' to mean 'unwilling'] with the heat of a million Suns, as my little sister knows to her cost*), they're undermining their own argument. And to what end? They give no authority for their statement in any case.

Perhaps 'legend' ('that which is to be read' legendum ) would be nearer the mark as it has been written about by Gowers. And the written record has been been reproduced and embellished and distorted over the years. My headmaster (RIP 'Dodo', a bully but a charming and talented one) had it as “This is the sort of English that I will not up with put.” Another source (I forget which) held that it was Churchill again, but added an expletive or two.

The thing is that English has phrasal verbs where a verb is thrown together with a 'particle' (usually a preposition, but without its prepositional force). So that you cut a tree down before cutting it up. Or you 'listen out for the milkman' although nothing goes out from the listener; an acoustics engineer might hold that in fact any movement (sound waves) is towards the listener. English shares this trait  (in a less extreme way) with German, of which Mark Twain famously wrote:
The Germans have an inhuman way of cutting up their verbs. Now a verb has a hard time enough of it in this world when it's all together. It's downright inhuman to split it up. But that's just what those Germans do. They take part of a verb and put it down here, like a stake, and they take the other part of it and put it away over yonder like another stake, and between these two limits they just shovel in German.
Mark Twain's Speeches, "Disappearance of Literature"
(Skippable though not entirely irrelevant - digression)
My choice of 'listen out' as an example is not entirely accidental. I'm singing this season Fauré's Requiem, which includes the prayer Exaudi orationem meam. This phrase is preceded by a soprano solo tune† marked both piano and dolce: a very gentle and not-very-down-to-earth (in fact angelic)  'It is fitting that a hymn should be offered to you in Sion, O God'. Here the human penitent breaks in,  fortissimo: Exaudi – as if they were saying 'Enough of this airy-fairy stuff  "it is fitting that..." my Aunt Fanny! This really matters to a human soul. Among all the millions of prayers addressed to you throughout Christendom not to mention that bl**dy  'hymnus' listen out for mine.' The rather limp translation 'Hear my prayer' doesn't do justice to the word.

Then the speaker thinks better of this impertinent fortissimo interruption, and repeats Exaudi  but piano. The id then reasserts itself with the next word fortissimo: 'No I'm  not going to be quiet and reverential.' The internal dialogue between the super-ego and the id is reminiscent of Gollum's arguments with himself.  But enough of this, I really am going to get back to that article...
         <autobiographical_note>
At the funeral of a grande dame yesterday (RIP Pat, and lucky old Bob) I witnessed an underlining of the importance of this Ex-. We were in the middle of one of those interminable call-and-response prayers, with the congregation saying ‘Lord, hear our prayer‘ again and again. And The Angelus butted in. (For the uninitiated:  The Angelus is a very noisy Call-to-prayer†† – much noisier than the Islamic version: ding ding ding <pause> ding ding ding <pause> ding ding ding <pause...has it stopped?>  <oh dear me NO, suckers> DING DING DING DING DING DING DING DING... [ad nauseam]).  And the congregation was bleating (that‘s one for the etymologists: grex = ‘flock‘) ‘Lord, hear our prayer‘. Here was the perfect opportunity for something more robust: ‘Listen out for my prayer‘. 
<autobiographical_note>

One of the shibboleths addressed in the article is the one about not ending a sentence with a preposition, which they trace to the rule of Latin grammar mindlessly imposed by early English grammarians. But this omits a point that is perhaps too obvious to be noticed. Look at the word 'pre-positions'; they come before things. It is simply a logical impossibility to end a sentence with a word that necessarily comes before something unless it were a 'pre-full-stop'.

But what happens when you force this rule onto English, with all its phrasal verbs? Any phrasal verb in a subordinate clause risks its particle, apparently a preposition, falling last: to use that Exaudi example, 'This is the prayer that I hope God will listen out for.'

As I said at the beginning though, the writers' hearts are in the right place. The message is right on; shame about the medium. The last point (made by Orwell‡ many years ago) is worth underlining:

There’s a simple test that usually exposes a phony rule of grammar: If it makes your English stilted and unnatural, it’s probably a fraud.
b


*In the mid '70s I was studying the idea of myth in the work of Borges, and with the self-assurance of a 23-year-old I thought myself the sole custodian of the word 'myth'. Sorry, old bean
Update 2013.01.28: Fauré made the elementary mistake of not making this a solo though it is a sweet and angelic-sounding tune sung by the sopranos. Apologies for this lapse ( he was only young!)
Update 2013.01.29: January 2013 was the occasion of several programmes about Orwell on BBC Radio 4. I expect - or have missed - the traditional trotting out of David Crystal, who never misses an opportunity to put the boot in. There are 5 mentions of Orwell in the index of The Stories of English, one of which points to a two-page salvo. I have a pretty good idea he does the same at least once in The Story of English in 100 Words. The problem is that Orwell made a mistake that offended Crystal's linguistic sensitivities.

OK, the man got it wrong. But he's wise and perceptive; lay off, Crystal you're bigger than him (in this  respect).  Orwell's article is thought-provoking, perceptive, and witty. At one point (the parody of Ecclesiastes in modern business English) it's hilarious. It should be required reading for anyone who tries to communicate in writing; it might avoid such painfully jargon-ridden, obscure, and pleonastic signs as the one I saw recently in a municipal building: 'Due to the Council's Green Practices initiative this hand-dryer is non-functional. Visitors are hereby requested to use alternative disposable paper products.'

Orwell's Ecclesiastes spoof inspired my teaching resource based on Churchill's memo to the War Cabinet. In my TESconnect description of it I say:

This handout looks at a memo written by Churchill to his wartime cabinet on the subject of plain writing. Opposite Churchill's original there is a parody breaking all the rules he mentions (and a few more). On the reverse, there is a textual analysis done by the tool available at http://www.usingenglish.com/resources/text-statistics.php, showing the quantifiable effects of using woolly language. This could be a basis for web research into writing skills.
As regrettably, but inevitably they say, enjoy!

Tales from the word-face
After the shenanigans mentioned here, I have just reinstalled HoTMeTal Pro. But bearing in mind the fears I expressed there of new software, I stopped (after installing V5,0) and didn't install the V6.0 upgrade. Let's see if it works any better...

b

Update 2013.07.15: 'Tempus', as my old maths master used to say as we neared the end of another lesson, 'has fugitted'. See below for the latest.

Update 2013.07.24: Various tweaks and bits of  esprit de l'escalier.

Update 2015.01.16.10:30 – Added autobiographical note in red and updated footer.

Update 2015.01.16.16:45 – Added this note:

†† Not all believers would recognize this as a call to prayer exactly, but the name 'Angelus' is the first word of the prescribed prayer,

Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

I'm thinking about doing a native iBook version in due course, but for now Mac users can use Kindle's own (free) simulator.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this

Freebies (Teaching resources:  
nearly 48,200 views  and over 6,500 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with over 2,400 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.








Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Tearjerker

In a new production of The Winter's Tale (whose actress was interviewed on this morning's Woman's Hour), Falstaff's doxy/moll/squeeze/whatever is called 'Doll Tearsheet'. Well, she's always been called that, but it's /teə/ as in tare - not /tɪə/ as in 'teardrop'. When I 'did' it at school (a painfully [in at least two senses] RC one) it was the not the 'tare' sort - and the archaic tare, incidentally, was a word that we good Catholic boys were well acquainted with; we were going to be the world's wheat, not its tares.

The version of that name that we were taught was the sort redolent of wronged chastity, like Desdemona or (a heroine we studied a year later) Hermione - in The Winter's Tale. Which brings us back neatly to Woman's Hour - another interview had mentioned the 'new' trend of 'slut-shaming'. New? When accused by Leontes of infidelity, Hermione bewails her condition: 'myself on every post proclaimed a strumpet' (which, by the way, recalls that adolescent tendency I have mentioned before of latching onto a situation in culture [there it was music, here it is literature], but this is not A to Markworthy* and I shall draw a veil over the details.)

But this production calls Ms Tearsheet  /teəʃi:t/, which has a couple of possible meanings, with reference to a working-girl's life: one is the one mentioned on the radio this morning - referring to damage to bedlinen. This is quite possible, though it seems to me that wear (in both its senses - treating bed-clothes as if they were working clothes, and causing damage by, ahem, repeated movement) might have been a more apt choice. The meaning that appeals to me refers to a book of customers or invoices. She services one, and then tears off a sheet before proceeding to the next.

Enough of this. The Schedule calls.

b


*The title of my once-planned (and indeed started - if three or four thousand words counts) autobiography, named after the first volume of the two-volume SOED, to be written before I was forty. I'm afraid now it would have to be called Marl to Z.

Update: 2013.10.02.16:05
Header updated:


 Mammon (When Vowels Get Together V4.0: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs – AA-AU, EA-EU, and  IA-IU, and – new for V4.0 – OA-OU.  If you buy it, contact  @WVGTbook on Twitter and I'll alert you to free downloads of the forthcoming volumes; or click the Following button at the foot of this page.)
And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: nearly 32,400 views**,  and  4,400 downloads to date. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with 1570 views/700 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.
 

Sunday, 20 January 2013

'Schedule? What fricking schedule?'

...as the monks used to say in the scriptorium at Lindisfarne. But in the 21st century it's not good enough to say 'it'll be ready in God's good time', so here's something to be going on with:
  • April 2013 Version 2, incorporating EA-EU
  • June Version 2.1, incorporating a number (TBC) of pairs beginning with I
  • July Version 3, incorporating IA-IU
  • September Version 4, incorporating OA-OU
  • October Version 5, incorporating all vowel pairs
This is aspirational - all back-of-an-envelope stuff at the moment, but
...a man's reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what's a heaven for?
as wossname said, poet chappie. Got it. Browning. And note that in this poem the second line includes the expression 'bear with me', which doesn't mean 'Excuse me while I go to the stockroom [my most recent exposure to this trope, at time of writing, must have been at a shoe-shop] and laugh at the very idea of stocking that size' - or anything like it.

Tale from the word-front


On my journey through the -EA-s (and this should be the last time I mention this pair of letters (or 'digraph' as we say in the trade) - I've just met the word 'upspeak'. Hitherto in my sporadic brushes with academe I've known it as 'HRT' - not that ladies of a certain age get a new lease of life and start talking like Australians; 'HRT', in this context is 'high-rise terminal'. The person who thought up that abbreviation must have been either totally humourless or they were a member of the pee po belly bum drawers school of ironists, and thought it would be funny to get other academics to say 'HRT'.

Upspeak is the tendency to raise the tone of a statement in a way that makes it sound - to baby-boomers like me - like a question. When I first became aware of this trait, I interpeted it as an admirable token of diffidence; the implied background mood-music was 'I'm not doing a very good job of explaining this; do you understand what I'm trying to say?' (I suspect something like that may have been involved in its inception. I first heard it in 1971, coming from a fellow student (or what was called, in the colourful local argot, a 'gentleman in statu pupillari') who had recently returned from some time volunteering [the 'year out' hadn't yet been invented] in a US summer camp. And he had acquired the US trait of strenuous openness to the expression of others' opinions.)

But the flood-gates really opened when Australian soaps became a staple of late-afternoon/early-evening TV in the UK. (Which suggests to my butterfly mind a possible future post on the influence of soaps on Br English.... But The Schedule may delay that, as it will quite probably reduce the frequency of these posts.) 

Returning to the topic of upspeak... Of my two children, my first managed to avoid it as he was sensitive to my pained expression when he lapsed into the intonation of his peers. But his sister is a confirmed upspeaker. As with the sentence-initial 'Hopefully'...', I'm afraid this foreign import will be adopted into standard English (whatever that is) later this century. But over my dead body (which, later this century, won't be an insurmountable obstacle!)

b
Update 2013.01.21: A few tweaks.

Update: 2017.02.19.16:05 


– A few format tweaks, removed old footer, and added explanatory parenthesis in blue.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Teeth ...wait for it...

GNASH.

I had a difference of opinion with MrsK the other day. We were in the seventh circle of la cittá dolente, or PC World as it is more commonly known, looking for a new laptop. In defence of one I pointed out that it did not have Windows 8 (which to me made it preferable). She wanted to know why this was an advantage, and I said that with any new operating system there's more to go wrong; tried and trusted software is no longer supported.

This was further evidence of my defeatism, she said. Why expect things to go wrong? She asked a passing school-leaver if there were any known support issues with application software (I'm paraphrasing here, you understand) and the answer was, surprisingly enough, that everything was hotsy-totsy with Windows 8.

Well, twenty years of working with software engineers (actually, 19¾ - HP took the penny-pinching precaution of shafting me 3 months before they would have had to fork out for a 20-year award) has taught me that if anything can go wrong with new software it will. This was true of Windows 95, and with everything since. Working in 'Support', which I did for many years, involved me almost daily in fixes and workarounds and you-just-can't-do-that-any-more when people tried to get existing application software to play nice with a new operating system.

So everything, I feared, was not hotsy-totsy. To quote Ogden  Nash it was coldsy-toldsy (and Google, incidentally, has just asked me whether I mean 'cold toddy'). New operating systems are great when all the dependencies work, but with each new operating system there are more dependencies; there's more to go wrong. I hold no candle for Windows 7; give me Windows NT 4.1 any day. But for me it's preferable to Windows 8 (just as Windows 8 will be preferable to - saints preserve us - Windows 9).

This is not just a rant about shopping for laptops. I've just had an inexplicable failure with  my old trusted HotMeTaL Pro. Earlier today, at a whim, it changed all my IPA symbols to meaningless glyphs. I repaired the damage - assuming that it affected only the IPA characters - and carried on. Suddenly, it did it again.

What is there to do? HotMeTaL Pro has long been unsupported. It worked marvellously on Windows NT* V4.1 but the company that made it either off-loaded it or went out of business years ago. It has limped along from upgraded platform to upgraded platform, with bits falling off. It's now at the 'One wheel on my wagon' stage. I can't use the help library any more - that stopped at Windows 2000, as I recall.

If the symbols go on the blink again I shall just have to bite the bullet and learn to use some other tool. I should have done that ages ago - that's the way the world of software works. You have to keep buying and learning to use new stuff. Otherwise, entropy takes over: what started as hotsy-totsy declines to coldsy toldsy, and thence to frigidy-wigidy.

* Later the same day: My fabled typing speeds of up to five words per minute conjured up an American sounding operating system called 'Windows NY', which I suppose someone might ♥.

PS Yippee - I've diagnosed the problem and have a workaround. The trouble is with the Project> External Links command, which is what weds me so strongly to this tool; it - ahem - 'does what it says on the tin' (an anagram, FWIW, of WET AND TIT IN HOSE SAY TOSH), checking links to external web-sites. This command, for some unknown reason, plays around with the symbols. The workaround is to take a copy of the working file before doing the check - just a slight inconvenience, as long as I remember to do it. I also need to note and repeat any fixes arising from the check - a minor annoyance. But at least I now know what's going wrong.


Update 2013.01.15 - a few tweaks
Update 2013.01.17 - added PS

Update: 2013.10.02.16:15
HeadFooter updated
Update: 2014.07.03.12:25
And again:



 Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common pairs of vowels used to represent the /i:/ phoneme, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: over 43,900 views  and nearly 6,000 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with nearly 2,200 views/1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.





Thursday, 3 January 2013

Ten Green Bottles

On the radio this morning Melvyn 'Big Hair' Bragg was talking to someone about the difference in quality between pop music (specifically the pop music espoused by what came to be known as 'teenagers' - a word that is only about a hundred years old - in the 20th and early 21st centuries) and the sort of music that belongs to what is thought of as 'high culture'. And I was reminded of two things. The first were words spoken by an MD of my youthful acquaintance: 'There has only been one tune written in the history of the world - "Ten Green Bottles".' (This may not be original, but I had never heard it before). The second was the song 'Silent Worship', based on an aria by good ol' Georg Friedrich.

Listening to this song is one of my few happy memories of Mr Byrne's music lessons (a teacher who almost despaired of me: 'C+ Has ability but is disinclined to use it musically'). I was reminded of this song when I first heard Eric Clapton's 'Wonderful Tonight' and noticed the uncanny resemblance. But 'Silent Worship' had not yet been exposed to the full glare of Classic FM's playlists - a version sung by Aled Jones was repeated more-or-less hourly about ten years ago - so I didn't share my aperçu at the time.

The tunes aren't identical, but sound enough alike to replace each other in my mind's ear more or less at random: 'Did you not hear my lady - And I've got an aching head', 'She puts on her make-up - With a glory of golden hair'.... And the likeness is not just in the first line. In what I'm fairly sure Handel wouldn't have called 'the middle eight' - das Mittelacht? - the melody rises to the sixth in both songs.

And here's the thing. Pop trivia buffs will know about the Clapton song's having been written with Pattie Boyd in mind. If you don't know the story, Google 'Boyd Clapton Wonderful'. Clapton's position at the time was one of silent worship. At the time he would have been thinking about Everything and latching on to any cultural reference that seemed to reflect his situation; it's what one does. And if he'd heard 'Silent Worship', and - as I did in the days when a guitar was seldom far from my hands - played it, it doesn't take a particularly lively imagination to hear the young lovelorn Eric singing
Though I am nothing to her
Though she must rarely look at me
And though I could never woo her
I'll love her till I die
Perhaps he improvised on it.

Far be it from me to make any charge of  'plagiarism'; I believe in the 'Ten Green Bottles' theory of musical history. But it all seems rather Thing-ish. I'm surprised Paul Gambaccini, in one of his periodical 'Pop go the Classics' programmes, hasn't mentioned it. But it's not just Pop and 'Classical' - those quotation marks are tweezers, registering my distaste - as someone said in The Electric Muse (Robin Denselow, I think, but there were three others included in the et al) if you listen carefully to a Jack Bruce bass line (in a Cream number, if I remember rightly) you'll hear the folk song 'The Cutty Wren'.

To quote Big Bill Broonzy, in an interview with Studs Terkel, 'They's all folk songs; ain't never heard a hoss sing'.

Ho hum. Back to the word-bashing.

b

Update 13.01.04.12.00 - corrections and a few tiny tweaks
 
Update: 2013.10.02.16:15
Head Footer updated

Update 2014.05.11.20:05 – And again:



 Mammon When Vowels Get Together V5.2: Collection of Kindle word-lists grouping different pronunciations of vowel-pairs. Now complete (that is, it covers all vowel pairs –  but there's still stuff to be done with it; an index, perhaps...?) 

And here it is: Digraphs and Diphthongs . The (partial) index has an entry for each vowel pair that can represent each monophthong phoneme. For example AE, EA and EE are by far the most common, but there are eight other possibilities. The index uses colour to give an idea of how common a spelling is, ranging from bright red to represent the most common to pale olive green to represent the least common.

Also available at Amazon: When Vowels Get Together: The paperback.

And if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: over 41.050 views  and 5,700 downloads to date**. They're very eclectic - mostly EFL and MFL, but one of the most popular is from KS4 History, dating from my PGCE, with nearly 2,1

00 views and nearly 1,000 downloads to date. So it's worth having a browse.)

** This figure includes the count of views for a single resource held in an account that I accidentally created many years ago.