Warren Maguire’s comments on yesterday’s blog reminds me that I have not previously written about the interesting Sound Comparisons website.
This is the showcase for a research project conducted at the University of Edinburgh in 2005–2007. The website offers you ‘sound comparisons’ for about a hundred English words pronounced in fifty or so different native-speaker accents, mainly but not exclusively British. They are presented in narrowish IPA transcription, and for many (but not all) there are sound clips. There’s no connected speech.
Unusually, there are also a dozen or so ‘historical’ accents/varieties covered, ranging from Proto-Germanic to Shakespearean. Strangely, no native speakers of these varieties seem to have been available to offer recordings.
There are also a dozen or so ‘other Germanic’ varieties, giving the cognates in the relevant languages of the items in the English word list. If you’ve always wanted to listen to the Frisian word for ear, this is where to find it. (It’s iˑər, which you could easily take as some kind of postGaelic Scottish.)
With my browser at least the sound clips are rather flaky: you tend to get two plays (perhaps overlapping) of the word you ask for, followed shortly or indeed after quite a time by other words seemingly chosen at random.
Presumably because the research money was not renewed, the website now gives the impression of having been abandoned. I hope this is not the case: it would be nice to have the missing sound files, e.g. for London or Norwich. It would be nice to have some connected speech. It would be nice to have more accents represented.
Perhaps Warren Maguire’s ongoing research will fill some of these gaps.