Episode 64 (‘What’s in a Name?’)

Graham Pointon

For the May 2023 episode of In a Manner of Speaking, Paul and his guest, Graham Pointon, attempt to answer the popular question “What’s in a Name?” Specifically, they discuss how one decides on pronunciations of people and place names, and the issues surrounding “proper” pronunciation of words in general.

Graham is the former pronunciation adviser for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). After studying French and linguistics for an MA (Hons), receiving the diploma in phonetics at Edinburgh University, and spending a year on a Spanish-government scholarship at Madrid’s Complutense University, Graham spent six years as a lecturer in English phonetics at Trondheim University in Norway. He also completed his MLitt for Edinburgh on the rhythm of spoken Spanish.

He then moved back to the United Kingdom to take up the post of pronunciation adviser at the BBC, where he stayed until the end of 2001. Since leaving the BBC, he has co-authored three books on English usage with a former colleague in Norway, Stewart Clark, and writes an occasional blog: Linguism.

For more information on the BBC Pronunciation Unit, go here. For more on Paul Auster’s novel, 4-3-2-1, see Wikipedia.

And learn how to pronounce one of the world’s longest place names:

And for further reading on this topic, Graham suggests Jurg R. Schwyter’s Dictating to the Mob, from Oxford University Press in 2016 (ISBN: 9780198736738), which discusses the history of the BBC Advisory Committee on Spoken English.

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) is courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)


Episode 63 (The Oxford English Dictionary)

Catherine Sangster

Welcome to the April 2023 episode of In a Manner of Speaking. This month’s guest is Dr. Catherine Sangster, executive editor of pronunciations at Oxford Languages. She has been in charge of the Oxford English Dictionary’s pronunciations for 11 years.

Paul and Catherine discuss not just the dictionary and the purpose and origins of the dictionary but many other topics related to pronunciation.

Before moving into lexicography, Dr. Sangster headed the BBC Pronunciation Unit and completed a D.Phil. in sociophonetics. Catherine’s linguistic research interests include accents and dialects, Germanic languages, the phonology of conlangs, language and gender/sexuality, and Latin and its Anglicization.

For the OED’s pronunciation models and transcription keys for World Englishes, visit https://public.oed.com/how-to-use-the-oed/key-to-pronunciation/. 

For the recent press release discussing the decision to add Indian-English pronunciations to the dictionary, click here.

For more information about the OED, go to OED.com. And for more about Catherine, click here.

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) is courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)

Episode 56 (Sounds Appealing)

David Crystal

For the September 2022 episode of In a Manner of Speaking, Paul welcomes back renowned linguist and author David Crystal for his fourth appearance on the podcast. They discuss various topics related to David’s 2018 book, Sounds Appealing, including pronunciation, phonetics, phoneticians, speech melody, intonation, and stress patterning.

David ( a native of Liverpool, England, and North Wales) has authored more than 100 books in the field of language, including several Penguin books, but is perhaps best known for his two encyclopedias for Cambridge University Press, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language and The Cambridge Encyclopedia of the English Language. His books on English phonetics and phonology include Prosodic Systems and Intonation in English and The English Tone of Voice.

He was founder-editor of the Journal of Child Language (1973-85), Child Language Teaching and Therapy (1985-96), and Linguistics Abstracts (1985-96), and associate editor of the Journal of Linguistics (1970-73). In addition, he has been a consultant, contributor, or presenter on several radio and television programs and series. David is currently patron of the International Association of Teachers of English as a Foreign Language (IATEFL) and the Association for Language Learning (ALL); president of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading, the UK National Literacy Association, and the Johnson Society of London; and an honorary vice president of the Institute of Linguists and the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.

David is also a renowned Shakespeare and Original Pronunciation (OP) scholar. For more on his work with the Bard, visit ShakespearesWords.com.

For a full biography and more information on David, visit his website, DavidCrystal.com. Go here for a list of all of David’s published works and here to purchase them.

Visit David’s YouTube channel for more information relevant to this podcast. We present here just two of his many videos.

Lastly, for a discussion of English long and short vowels, one of the topics that David and Paul discuss on this podcast, go here.

(Bach’s Cello Suite #1 in G Major BMV 1007 Prelude (by Ivan Dolgunov) is courtesy of Jamendo Licensing.)