Friday, October 29, 2010

British Library to Create "a Snapshot of English in the Early 21st Century"

Link to October 29 AP article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, "Watching their language".

Excerpt:    If you say tomato, and I say tomahto, the British Library wants to know.

The research institution is inviting people to have their voices recorded as part of a project to chart the way pronunciation and accents in English are changing.

The library wants visitors to read aloud a passage from a children's book, Mr. Tickle, so linguists can compare the way people make vowel sounds, learn how they deal with words ending in -ing, and hear whether they pronounce garage to rhyme with marriage or mirage.

Roger Walshe, the library's head of learning, said Thursday that the result would be "a snapshot of English in the early 21st century."

Visitors to the Evolving English exhibition, which opens Nov. 12, can record themselves in sound booths, and others can submit audio clips on the library's website, Results will be preserved for future researchers in the library's sound archive

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