On Saturday I looked in at the London Language Show: 150 stands and three seminar rooms, exhibitors ranging from language schools to cultural bodies to publishers to travel agencies (they arrange student visits abroad). Over the three days of the show there were ‘taster’ sessions on Arabic, Czech, Chinese, Esperanto, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and British Sign Language, plus intensive classes in a subset of these and a whole range of seminars.
On the CUP stand I was able for the first time to have a look at the new (18th) edition of the Cambridge EPD. Visually, the most striking change is that the coloured type in the body of the dictionary, blue-green (teal?) in the 17th edition, is now light brown (tan?). The contents include six short essays by outside contributors. Transcription-wise, the most important change is that words such as tune, duke now have the tʃ, dʒ form prioritized. This is what my own preference poll reveals to be the most widely preferred BrE form, but I still find it a bit shocking.
I noticed two exhibitors at the show specializing in offering pronunciation tuition. I was attracted to one stand by the large chart of phonetic symbols for English displayed — refreshingly error-free and well presented. The young lady on duty at that stand turned out to hold a master’s in Phonetics from UCL: this was after my retirement, so I had examined her but not taught her.
A difference from previous years was the unusually high profile presented by two particular languages: Polish and Mandarin Chinese.
All the more reason for us to drill our students diligently in the difference between ɕ, ʑ and ʂ, ʐ.
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In a week I shall be off to Japan, for a conference in Kochi (here’s the programme). I hope to see some of you there. Afterwards I shall also be giving lectures in Osaka and Kyoto.