Thursday, 27 June 2013

'By oak and ash and bitter thorn'

Jack Orion swore a bloody oath -
By oak and ash and bitter thorn
Saying 'Lady, I never was in your house
Since the day that I was born.'

trad.
I was reminded of this song (itself brought to my attention by Bert Jansch's rendition many years ago, but I won't  put a link here because it seems to be impossible to visit a lyrics/music site without attracting a never-ending stream of ringtone-related spam) by a Richard Maybey programme I caught the end of yesterday morning (which I haven't caught up with yet – but will do when The Schedule (for #WVGTbook) allows. At one stage, as I remember, Maybey said something like 'Ash comes from an old word meaning "spear"'; he may have said '...an Old English word....' – which would make sense as the letter 'æ' (incidentally, and I'm sure not coincidentally, called ash) is an Old English character.

My ears pricked up at that stage, as I caught a whiff of Proto-Indo-European. It seemed likely (and I'll write this before checking Etymonline) that the Old English word was related (by shared PIE ancestry) to the Latin word hasta. OK, here goes:

ash (2)
type of tree, Old English æsc "ash tree," also "spear made of ash wood," from Proto-Germanic *askaz, *askiz (cf. Old Norse askr, Old Saxon ask, Middle Dutch esce, German Esche), from PIE root *os- "ash tree"
Phew  – so far so good. But hereafter the definition sticks to the tree, mentioning the Latin ornus. I'm pretty sure hasta is lurking there somewhere though.

But what about that song? What had made Jack so angry? Well someone had been there before him, and he had guessed at the goings-on (prompted by her question):

'Whether have you left with me
Your hosen or your glove
Or are you returned back again
To know more of my love?'

No wonder he was miffed; presumably she had no sense of smell, or perhaps Tom had borrowed Jack's deod... whoops, anachronism alert. After his 'bloody oath', she confirms his worst fears:
'Oh then it was your servant, Tom,
That hath so cruelly beguiled me
And woe that the blood of the ruffian lad
Should spring in my body.'

Long story short, they all die, or as Stoppard's Player King puts it 'The good die unhappily, the bad die unluckily. That is tragedy.'‡

<autobiographical _note>In my hitch-hiking days  I used to wile (sic†) away the time by singing. I had to watch my repertoire though. It took me a while to realize that songs like So Early in the Spring weren't conducive to drivers doing anything but put their foot down and leave the madman in the rear-view mirror, singing 

'Oh curse your gold and your silver too 
And curse the girl that won't prove true...' 

†That's 'wile', as in 'beguile', cp other pairs like ward/guard, warranty/guarantee and so on. There's a strong move towards 'while away', and most people prefer the h spelling (which has the mnemonic advantage of referring to time). Far be it from me to say it's wrong; it's not. I'm just saying that when I omit 'the' h I mean to.
</autobiographical_note>

There's more to be said about trees and oaths/magic/significance, but it'll have to wait for an update (after I've listened to that programme).

b
Update 2013.06.27.16:20 Small addition (Esprit de l'escalier)
Update 2013.06..28 Added this footnote:
‡Misremembered from a school visit to a press preview of Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern are Dead that I went to in the late '60s. What the Player King actually said was
The bad end unhappily, the good unluckily. That is what tragedy means.
Update 2013.07.12 Added this PS:
Further to my wile/beguile footnote, I was rehearsing for this tour (which is only a week away at the time of this update) when I noted a phrase that I hadn't thought about before, in the madrigal All Creatures Now, written during the reign of Good Queen Bess ('See where she comes, see where she comes with flow'ry garlands crownéd...'). I have sung this madrigal before, and as I say I haven't given this phrase a second thought: 'Music the time beguileth'.  It doesn't seem to belong semantically (or musically) with either what comes before or after it. So previously I have dismissed this line as just an Elizabethan filler that doesn't mean very much.

But having so recently written That's 'wile', as in 'beguile'... (in this post, a few lines back) I realized that Bennet (the composer) was referring to the way music has a beguiling effect on the listener's awareness of the passage of time; it wiles time away.

Update 25.07.2013.09.30/10:50
HeadFooter updated
Update
 2014.01.07.12:00 – 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 if you have no objection to such promiscuity, Like this.

Freebies (Teaching resources: over 36,100 views  and nearly 5,000 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 1821 views/844 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, 23 June 2013

'Tight about the hips'

She fitted into my biggest armchair as if it had been built round her by someone who knew they were wearing armchairs tight about the hips that season.
P.G. Wodehouse wrote his bon-mot (in Carry On,  Jeeves says IZ Quotes, although elsewhere it is credited to a different book) in the mid 1920s†.

This quote came to mind when I was having a discussion with Her Who Must Be Obeyed (and I've never been happy with Rumpole's carelessness with She when it's preceded by a preposition) about an armchair that she inherited from her parents. It was more or less contemporaneous with Plum's quip – earlier if they furnished their first home secondhand. We had it reupholstered about 20 years ago, and now  'it was about time we had a new one'

Armchairs available for sale today are,  as Bertie might have put it, broader in the jolly old beam. Modern armchairs are built for the modern form. This means that in the modern sitting room an armchair is wider even than many televisions (which is saying something: our first, for the matrimonial home, had a 12" screen...), because the modern form – in the fatcat West – is so much bigger than the pre-war ones that the inherited armcair was built for.

So it'll have to be reupholstered again, at the expense  – no doubt – of more than a new one.

Report from the word-face

The -II- section is done, and the research/handwritten notes stage of the -IO- is also done. It needs another week or two to render it in HTML, and then do the 'Sigil chassé' described here. Once that is done and tested, there is only the -IU- to do, and that's already been done –  up to a point – for the ELTon 2012. So V3.0  is well on schedule for a July release – some time before I go to the West country for my choir's tour – if you're at Buckfast Abbey on 20 July, Lostwithiel on 21 July, or Truro on  23 July, come and hear us.

b

IZ quotes says 1930. If the other source is right, it was 1925. But both Jeeves books are collections of stories that had been published separately earlier. Anyway, for my purposes 'mid 1920s' will do.

Update 25.07.2013.09.30/10:50
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.












Thursday, 20 June 2013

Funny ha-ha or funny sheesh?

Neither, actually. I have often taught students who treated 'funny' as though it meant 'having the attributes of something characterized by fun'.

There is  a rule (in the sense of a 'TG rule', mentioned previously here) in English that lets you create an adjective by adding y to certain nouns: fog → foggy,  mirk →mirky,  rock →rocky... and so on; even, if you have a historical dictionary,  hap → happy . When someone is learning a language, this sort of rule can run amok, which is why my foreign students use 'funny' in this way.

<autobiographical_note topic="babes and sucklings">
Incidentally, the same applies to people acquiring their mother tongue. One of my children, who I won't identify to spare his blushes whoops, blown it, oh well did this with buzzer, coining a brilliant new metaphor that has entered the family sociolect†. Instead of 'I have pins-and-needles in my foot' he said 'I've got a buzzery foot'.
</autobiographical_note>
Frédéric Beigbeder, who relaunched LUI earlier this week (and that's a link for Real Men, the English papers caught up today – and that's what Google's for) was quoted in the English press (I saw it in The Times) as saying that it was time for a 'funny' magazine to relieve the macroeconomic gloom. He presumably meant a light-hearted one. But, given that it's soft-core porn, perhaps I'll go with funny (sheesh).

b

Update: 2013.06.20.23:00 – Added this note:

†This word has been bothering me. It ('sociolect') is a recognized term used by linguists to refer to a language shared by a number of people with social (e.g. work) links. But it isn't entirely satisfactory both intrinsically (it mixes Latin and Greek – which isn't a crucial flaw; many words do – television , for example) and in this case (the links are not just social). What I want is something that refers to the household – the όικος (which is where we get economics [think of 'home economics'], ecology, and so on). So there's the word: 'ecolect'.


Update 2013.09.30.10:50
Headfooter updated
Update 2014.04.29.14:15
And again.

Update 2015.07.07.12:30 – Added PS

PS Recently returned from holiday...
<crossword_clue theme="holiday_destination">
Use Germany, excepting nameless Man? Another island entirely. (8)
</crossword_clue>
A  beach is rocky, or a path. This BNC search
provides lots more examples
... I have two things to add on the subject of this adjective-forming rule. Many of the people in this place have English as their mother tongue, but not the person who produced this sign on a flimsy piece of woodwork:

But coincidentally I heard a counter-example on the ferry home. A father said to his child: 'Hold my hand. It's a bit rocky.' I think this is exceptional (the sort of thing that native-speakers can get away with  –  the sort of licence unfairly denied to ESOL students.). Making allowances for the limited vocabulary of his child, the speaker was using the Add-a-y-to-a-known-word  rule in a way that a mature speaker probably wouldn't.

I think.

b

Update 2015.07.22.14:00 – Added PPS

And here's the answer, supplied by a charming coaster:


Update 2016.02.21.16:00 – Removed old footer. See my  other blog for the latest.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Anglocentrism gone mad

Today's post is based on an article in The Times a few Saturdays ago, which I can't link to without involving you in the 'To pay or not to pay?' debate. And you know how I feel about paywalls. It is an Opinion piece about the loss of languages.††

English is not the centre of the universe, though the writer of this article seems to think otherwise. The basis of what he says is right and lamentable, and the article is perhaps laudable for saying it. Language is a key to the way we think, and every lost language is a lost key [that's me, not him, in case you're thinking of publishing The Wit And Wisdom of Bob Knowles]:
...[W]hen a native language dies, a lot of other things disappear too [ed: a bit like saving a species saving a whole ecosystem...] . Place names and family names become inexplicable. Local traditions vanish because people no longer have the words to describe  their customs. The names of plants, birds or animals unique to a particular region go too – so the natural world has to be re-catalogued all over again in incongruous Latin or English.... Let your native language die and part of you dies with it.
He might have said, I've just thought,  'Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.'

So far so true, so lamentable in content, and so laudable as journalism (if not brilliantly written); is inexplicable the right word? Yes, a linguist might explain a toponym, but what matters is that it has become meaningless – it's explicable all right, given a footnote or two. And why does anything have to be 're-catalogued all over again' (which is a bit like 'déjà vu all over again')? And is Latin's incongruity to the point?

The writer has a strange attitude to Latin in other ways:
,,, [W]e owe the glorious multiplicity of English to the mingling and mangling of Latin with all those tribal tongues. [ed He has mentioned the extinction of 'many Germanic and Celtic languages' by Latin.]
 WTF? We owe the glorious – erm... something ('multiplicity' is surely not the word: 'multifariousness' perhaps) – to a lot more than the naïve equation  
Latin + tribal tongues [whatever-the-hell THEY are] = English
And what does this Little Englander think Latin did throughout the rest of Europe? French, Provençal (+ N dialects, where N is a large number) Spanish, Catalan, Galician, Portuguese, Italian, Romanian, Sardinian... need I go on?

Well I shan't. #WVGTbook calls.

b
Update 2013.06.19.18:20
PS And I'm sorry, I recognize the difficulties of verse translation, believe me, but there's a time and place for it. That place is not in the closing lines of a piece on the loss of languages – particularly when the column-width makes it impossible to format it as verse: when there's no such consciousness (this is verse, so expect a dodgy translation). For the record, I'm not a speaker of Guernésias, but I'm pretty sure (OK, absolutely certain) that these words –
Que l'lingo  seit bouan ou mauvais
J'pâlron [ed
. sic  –  looks ver-r-r-ry suspect to me] coum' nou pâlait  [ed. sic –  those  verb inflexions look REALLY odd†] autefais.
don't mean
Whether the lingo be good or bad
I'm going to speak like dear old dad.
No 'dad', no 'dear', no 'old'.

Update 2013.06.19.22:40 Added this footnote: 

† And here's why, if you really want to know. There are systematic features of Latin-derived verb endings. There are in some cases exceptions, but they tend to be noted in philology texts; examples from minority languages are  the stock-in-trade of philology – I explained here how and why I know a single word of Gascon. If there were a language that had -ron as the first person singular in the future form of a first conjugation verb (-er verbs in French, -ar verbs in Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, and so on‡) I'd very probably have heard of it. 'Nou' looks like we, which would make the ending -ait first person plural – which I'd very probably have heard of. If one language had both oddities....

Update 2013.06.20.17:10 Added this meta-footnote: 


‡ And you at the back, yes you, the smart-arse who's thinking 'First conjugation? The Latin for TALK isn't first conjugation. It's the semi-deponent loqui [whence 'loquacious'].' The verb I'm talking about is the Vulgar Latin *PARABOLARE [ whence parler,  parlare, falar... etc (presumably also the Guernésias pâler {in which the infinitive ending is a guess})] Phew, three levels of parenthesis in a meta-footnote. This is navel-gazing of the first order.

Update 2013.06.21.09:45 Added this PS:
Yesterday's copy of The Times reported on an event that is tangentially relevant to the issue of the loss of minority languages – it was a local cricket match abandoned  because one side was 'gaining an advantage in an ungentlemanly way' by speaking Welsh. It couldn't be, I wonder, that the English-only-speaking side were losing hand over fist, and wanted a way to save face...?

The story had a fairly obvious filler in the form of a jokey translation into 'Welsh' [I'm always dubious about this sort of thing] of cricket-related terms. One that struck me was 'Win the Ashes', which struck me at the time as a suitable name for the undertaker at Llaregub – a friend of Dai Bread (GEDDIT?) There's a reason why throwaway lines are called that.

Various updates to footer, the latest being on 2015.06.04.14.30

Update 2015.07.08.12.30 – Added this note:

††
I've found the article on a site devoted to another minority language: Manx.


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 49,000 views  and  over 7,850 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 2,650 views and nearly 1,100 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.




b

Monday, 17 June 2013

Siete voi qui...?

This morning's 'Start the Week' dealt with dystopias (not 'Dis topias' as I once thought – with an eye on Dante's Infernal City. And, on the subject of supposed etymologies, I got 'dystopia' right by a supposed antithesis to 'έυ topia', as though Sir Thomas More's Utopia had been a place where all things were well and all manner of things would be well (to repurpose Dame Julian of Norwich's words by giving her syntax a tweak). Error on error! Sir Thomas More's 'Utopia' was a 'not place' (όυ...), not a 'well place'.

So, in summary, the contrast between a utopia and a dystopia is not a 'good, well' place versus a 'Dis-like place, but just 'not place' versus 'bad, ill, abnormal place' – not a very  satisfactory contrast; not nearly as good as 'good, well' versus 'bad, ill, abnormal' –  as in the case of 'euphemism' versus 'dysphemism' ('pass away' versus 'fall off the perch') . But the language is more about what happens rather than what should happen in an elegant world.

But I must cut this short. I must be getting on with #WVGTbook.

b

PS And if you got the Ser Brunetto reference in my subject line, take a team point; double points if you both spotted it and realized that I'd put the old bugger in the wrong circle of the Inferno!
PPS
<rant>
And on the subject of old buggers, has anyone else noticed the recent ramping up of televised sex? In the attempt to épater le bourgeois it used to be that '...a glimpse of stocking/Was thought of as something shocking'. Then more and more explicit treatment of the Missionary Position became the norm. The latest 'advance' in the Grandmother's Footsteps-like game of 'How much can we get away with?' is, as my old drinking mate (well, fellow student) Steve Segaller† put it 'Anal entry, my dear Watson'. It started with the Politician's Husband, closely followed by The Americans (in the first episode of which it happened twice – once in a rape (message: 'This is Not Good') and once during an illicit affair (message: ... :-? 'What can we do to keep the viewers interested?'). What's the next step? 'Now Heaven knows/Anything goes' – in a race to the ... erm.
</rant>

Update 2013.06.17.11:03 Small tweak.
Update 2013.06.18.10:45 Added PPS.
Update 2013.06.19.11:55Added PPPS.

 PPPS †Maybe not quite an ale knight (with thanks to OED's word of the day; for more such gems follow @OED) but certainly an ale squire.


Update 2013.09.30.11:05
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.











Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Revenants

Why  not  'The Revenants'? They could even have saved on the Letraset™  and left it as Revenants. Admittedly, it's not a common word in British English – BNC contains only five instances – but it's been knocking around in the English language since the early 19th century. COCA, a larger corpus including American usage, has a much healthier 56 instances. My suspicion is that the US distributors insisted on something folksier; so we have The Returned – not unlike The Madness of King George, renamed lest an American audience think they'd missed 'The Madness of George II' (duh?!) Per contra, COCA is more than four times as big as BNC, while its 'revenant'-count is more than ten times as high. Which suggests – as COCA's 'revenants' coverage is more than twice as dense as BNC's – that the problem was this side of the Atlantic. Yank-bashing is a facile sport.

This seems to me yet another proof of Frank Muir's Weak Sausage principle, whereby modern society militates against strong and recognizable flavours. So strongly-flavoured sausages lose out to the latest McBlandBurger. In fact, the late great Mr Muir adumbrated this theory on My Word many years ago, before the advent of 'Farmer's Markets' and possibly even before the Food Programme saw the light of day (Shouldn't a radio programme see the ionosphere?), and he was explaining the derivation of the couplet
This is the way the world will end
Not with a banger but with a wimpy.
 Boum-boum.

News from the word-face


Anyway, the main item on the agenda today is the new release of #WVGTbook.  It includes everything that was in V2.0, with two new sections – IA nd IE; and it's FREE for the next two(ish) days. It should stay free until Thursday midnight, PST. So if you're far  enough east you could maybe leave it until Friday breakfast time. But why wait?

b

Update 2013.06.13
<rant>
And while we're on the subject  of dwindling standards, what about the latest Sky Sports graphics – that reduce even further the attention requirements of cricket coverage, below those of a fruit-fly on speed. Previously, the viewer just had to look for the WICKET swoosh, but still had to have attended enough to know a bit of the context – like who  was in, was it an LBW appeal or a catch or a run-out?
Now some helpful graphics ring the players involved and indicate the flight of the ball before anything happens. So there isn't even the What-am-I-looking-at? factor. The viewer is spoon-fed from start to finish of the 'highlight'. What would John Arlott OBE, RIP, have said?
</rant>

Update 2013.09.30.11:05
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.





Friday, 7 June 2013

What's he been up to?

I see with horror that my last post was last month; I did warn you (here and here) that things might go quiet while I got stuck in to IE.

As a taster for the release next week of #WVGTbook (and if you don't know what that is you haven't been paying attention ), here are the notes from the IE section:
  1. cockamamie
    The  Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this with the sound /eɪ/ in the stressed syllable, but the audio sample has the sound /æ/. This word is not listed at all in the  British National Corpus but its American counterpart – the Corpus of Contemporary American ('COCA') –  lists 66, suggesting that this is primarily an American usage. It is little wonder that the pronunciation of the 'English' variant (according to the dictionary) is uncertain; it may very well be the first time the speaker has uttered the word! A speaker of British English would probably prefer the word  cock-and-bull.
  2. hoodie
    The name of the garment (a sweater with hood attached) has spread metaphorically to its habitual wearer, in a way reminiscent of a similar metaphorical use of the word anorak – reminiscent, that is, in terms of process rather than semantics.
  3. hurried
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this with the ending /id/, but the Collins English Dictionary has the ending /ɪd/. Both pronunciations are common. In some dialects /id/ marks the past simple of the verb and /ɪd/ marks the adjective.
  4. knobkierie
    Both 'ie' digraphs have the /i/ pronunciation. The Macmillan English Dictionary gives the variant knobkerrie, with the same transcription, but the audio sample has the vowel sound /e/.
  5. ambient, convenient, obedient, resilient, subservient, and transient (unlike sapient)
    The Macmillan English Dictionary lists these words and the abstract nouns ending in '-ience' derived from them, but not sapience . This word is, however, listed in several other dictionaries. The link given here is to the Collins English Dictionary, but other '-ience' words are not separately listed.
  6. brassière
    The 'è' is often ignored (as it is in the transcription and the audio sample provided in the Macmillan English Dictionary). Moreover, as in the  Macmillan English Dictionary, the 'ss' is realized as /z/. As a result, the only distinguishing feature between brazier and brassière is the stressed vowel (/eɪ/ versus /æ/).
  7. costumier
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this with the ending /iə/ but the audio sample has /ie/ followed by some kind of central vowel. This shows some awareness in the speaker of the French origin (unlike in the word croupier, which has a clear //).
  8. fluent and lenient (unlike salient)
    The Macmillan English Dictionary lists these words and the abstract nouns ending in 'ency' derived from them, but not saliency. This word is, however, listed in several other dictionaries. The link given here is to the Collins English Dictionary, but other '-ency' words are not separately listed.
  9. orienteering
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this with the vowel sound  /iə/, but the audio sample has the vowel sound /ie/. Both pronunciations are common..
  10. skier
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this with the vowel sound /i:ə/, as does the Collins English Dictionary. Confusingly – for the student who expects the pattern cry –> crier, fly –> flier, try –> trier ... to apply in the same way to the informal verb sky [meaning 'hit a ball very high, as if inviting a catch'] that dictionary also lists the word skyer, pronounced with the vowel sound /aɪə/, but the  Macmillan English Dictionary does not. 
  11. variegated
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this with the vowel sound  /iə/, but the audio sample has the sound /ɪ/.
  12. ancient
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this with /ʃə/, but /ʧə/ is also used.
  13. ancien régime
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcription of the stressed vowel in the first word is /iæ/, but in the audio sample the vowel is nasalized.
  14. fie
    The Macmillan English Dictionary does not list this word. The link given here is to the Collins English Dictionary.
  15. biennial and triennial
    The Macmillan English Dictionary lists only these two words with the vowel sound /aɪe/ in British English, in this case two vowels. In American English this pair of vowels is much more common, given the /aɪ/ sound at the end of prefixes such as multi-. One example among many is multiethnic.
  16. brier
    The Macmillan English Dictionary lists this as an alternative to the more common briar.
  17. materiel
    The Macmillan English Dictionary trancription has the vowel sound /iə/, but the audio sample has /ie/ – matching the Collins English Dictionary entry
  18. per diem
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this, with a matching audio sample, with the (unique) vowel sound /i:e/.
  19. couturier
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcription of the final syllable is /ieɪ/, but the audio sample  has a clear /iə/ (as for croupier, which has matching transcription and audio). Both pronunciations are common in French borrowings ending '-ier'.
  20. handkerchief
    The Macmillan English Dictionary list both this and the arguably archaic kerchief . The  British National Corpus has only 24 instances of kerchief, 21 of which are in prose fiction. (In fact, the category is called 'W_fict_prose', and I suspect the covers may  predominantly feature the colour pink!) In contrast, the same corpus reports over 600 instances of handkerchief – more than 24 x (24 + 1)*.
    The  Macmillan English Dictionary transcription of handkerchief has /ɪ/ in the last syllable, but the audio sample has  /i:/. For the less familiar kerchief, the audio matches the /ɪ/  transcription.
  21. mischief and neckerchief
    The  Macmillan English Dictionary transcription of these words  has /ɪ/ in the last syllable, but the audio sample has  /i:/.
  22. quietus
    The  Macmillan English Dictionary gives this transcription, but the audio sample has the sound /aɪeɪ/. The pronunciation of Latin tags reflects the four or five fashions for pronunciation that have prevailed in English schools from time to time. See also note 23.
  23. sine die
    The Macmillan English Dictionary  gives this transcription, but the audio sample has the sound /ieɪ/ 
  24. clientele 
    The  Macmillan English Dictionary transcription gives this vowel sound, but the audio sample has the /aɪə/ of the more familiar (and fully anglicized) client. Both pronunciations are common.
  25. eight 
    The many derivatives (eighteeen, eighty, eighteenth... etc) are not listed separately. The effective digraph in gaiety is 'ai', so the word is listed in the 'ai' section.
  26. medieval
    The Macmillan English Dictionary transcribes this /i'i:/, with the two vowels separated to mark the onset of the stressed syllable. But in the audio sample this is not clear, and it might be felt that there is a single ('ultra-lengthened') /i:/. Both pronunciations are common – sometimes even in the same speaker, with the separation more clearly marked in more formal contexts. 
b
Update 2013.06.07.19:15
* maths was never my strong point.
Update 2013.06.07.22:55
– yes, yes, I know... That's what drafts are for.
Update 2013.06.08.19.50
This funky sans-serif font marks an addition I have made to the skier note, which (belatedly) explains the apparently irrelevant mention of skyer. I've also taken advantage of this update to change the stats in the TES footer – just shy of the 30,000 mark!


Update 2013.09.30.11:05
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.