Friday, 11 April 2014

Almost there

I have just written an addition to the Introduction of the former When Vowels Get Together, now rebranded as Digraphs and Diphthongs:

Why the new name?

This book is an augmented version of When Vowels Get Together, which is still available in V5.2 (the version that also has a hardcopy counterpart). If I had continued with the old name, but with new bells and whistles, there'd have been a risk of people seeing the latest and greatest on Kindle and buying the hardcopy version expecting the same things to be there.I don't believe the index would work in hardcopy, and don't intend to produce an updated version of that.

In fact, the index itself is not yet complete, and the part that is there is experimental. I have done the easiest bit – which I estimate represents only about a quarter of the complete index. The part I have done is the monophthongs, and attached glides. This leaves the diphthongs, triphthongs, and indeed tetra-phthongs (very few, but consider for example 'coyote' [whether pronounced /kaɪ'əʊti/ or /kɔɪ'əʊt/ or any of the range of possible variants characteristic of exotic animal names]).
Digraphs and Diphthongs is in the final stages of testing – a laborious manual process (that I don't think can be automated, or [more likely] would take longer to automate than just doing it).
<biographical_note date_range="2002/3">
On a management course that I... ENDURED is I think the word I'm looking for... a fellow student with an army background introduced the idea of a 'JFDI Situation' – Just Do It [the F is silent].
So, with a following wind, with time off for a filial visit on Saturday and singing at a wedding on Sunday
Wokingham Choral Society Chamber Choir performs at wedding ceremonies or receptions, parties or any other special event. We can help to select suitable works to enhance that special occasion.
Last night was our last rehearsal before Easter, and even as I type I am listening to the Sanctus from Verdi's Requiem, which last night struck me as 'the Gwine-a run all night bit' – and, to my dying shame, for ever hereafter I'll not be able to shake that irreverent association.

More details here.
the new offering will hit the Kindle Store some time this weekend.

I have a couple of requests:
  1. The index, as I have said, is experimental. The part that I have done is fairly straightforward; the Macmillan English Dictionary agrees with most other dictionaries as to the pronunciation of the vowel sounds covered so far. When it comes to combinations of these sounds, opinions start to vary. Various dictionaries break down such sounds differently. (In fact, the more attentive among you will have noted a case where 'my' dictionary disagrees with itself. ) Before I start work on the rest of the index, I'd like to know whether people think it's a useful thing. (Tweet, mail, comment on blog...)
  2. Since the first days of When Vowels Get Together, there have been over 1,100 free downloads. Obviously, many of these will represent the same person downloading the various versions; but  I imagine it wouldn't be unreasonable to conclude that there are at least 100 regular readers. Please review it. And before you do, please review the old When Vowels Get Together. On that page, click on Customer reviews, and then click on Create your own review. Just a line or two would be pleasing. Thanks.
Onwards and clichéwards!


Update 2014.04.11.17:05 – added blue afterthought

Update 2014.

PS Inni† festosi alziam as Verdi's librettist put it: 'Let us raise "festous" anthems' (in the Triumphal March from Aida).
There's scope for another autobiographical note here; I saw Aida  in Rome in 1961 at the Terme di Caracalla. But, being nearly ten years old at the time I was probably asleep by the time of the Triumphal March, in spite of the elephants. But it's time for bed, so you'll have to make up the details that given more time I would make up.
I don't think English has ever had the word festous, but Italian has both festivo and festoso. My instincts about Italian aren't very reliable, but while festivo behaves quite like our 'festive' festoso is more like our 'merry' or 'joyful'. I think.

Anyway, MY inni festosi are to mark the publication of Digraphs and Diphthongs. The wheels of Amazon are grinding at the moment, but I'll post a link tomorrow.

Update 2014.04.20.21:35 – added this:

I din't fink I 'ad ter say  anyfink  abou' vis word, inniʔ (A few readers may have noticed that that was a [ʔ] –  a glottal stop –  rather than a '?)'. Anyway  my translation may have put you on the right track. International sports MCs often announce national anthems as hymnes. I mean to say more about that -NN-  in a long-promised post about Italian, but that will have to wait.

The object of this PPS is to introduce another new piece of text, small but uppermost in my mind  at the moment. It is the beginning of the index:

In this section the following colour codings apply
  • The ten cases where a sound is represented in 30% or more of words that have that pair  (for the rest of this list they have 'a commonness of ...') are in this colour.
  • The ten cases with a commonness of between 10.5% and 25%  are in this colour.
  • The ten cases with a commonness of between 5.5% and 10%  are in this colour.
    [etc: the colours have been wiped out  in the transfer]
  • The ten cases with a commonness of between 3.5% and 5% are in this colour.
  • The ten cases with a commonness between 2.25% and 3.25%  are in this colour.
  • The twenty cases with a commonness of between 0.5% and 2% are in this colour.
  • The remaining twenty-four cases, all of negligible commonness, are in this colour.
This section lists the 12 single-sound phonemes: /i:/ (also /i/), /ɪ/, /e/, /ə/, /ɒ, /æ/, /ɑ:/, /ʌ/, /ɜ:/, /ɔ:/, /ʊ/ and /u:/. Many of these are joined to their phonetic context by the glides /j/ and /w/. In certain phonetic contexts, the /j/ glide can become a fricative or an affricate: /ʃ/ as in station, /ʒ/ as in Asian, /ʧ/ as in ancient, or /ʤ/ as in soldier. Generally these composite vowel sounds (not diphthongs, but monophthongs combined with some linking sound,) are present in a very small percentage of the words that feature the 'main' vowel.

When a pair of vowels is followed by an unchanging spelling, the necessary letter appears in square brackets; for example, the only spelling that has OO representing /ʌ/ is OOD (as in blood and flood) so the index entry is 'OO[D]'. (Note that this is not saying that all 'ood' spellings represent the sound /ʌ/ – which would be patently untrue. It only means that when an 'oo' spelling represents the sound /ʌ/ (as it does in only a handful of blood- and flood-related words), it is always followed by 'd'.)

 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.

reebies (Teaching resources: over 40.000 views  and nearly 5,600 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 2,000 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.

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