English Pronunciation in the Eighteenth Century: Thomas Spences Grand Repository of the English…

Hardcover | March 1, 1999

byJoan Beal

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Thomas Spence (1750-1814) was a native of Newcastle upon Tyne who is best known for his political writings, and more particularly for his radical `Plan' for social reform involving common ownership of the land. One hitherto neglected aspect of Spence's Plan was his proposal to extend thebenefits of reading and of `correct' pronunciation to the lower classes by means of a phonetic script of his own devising, first set out and used in Spence's Grand Repository of the English Language (1775). The Grand Repository was one of many English pronouncing dictionaries produced in the late eighteenth century to satisfy the growing demands for a clear guide to `correct' pronunciation. It differs from its contemporaries firstly in that it was intended primarily for the lower classes, and secondlyin that it is the only eighteenth-century pronouncing dictionary of English to use a truly `phonetic' script in the sense of one sound = one symbol. In this fascinating and unique account, Beal pays particular attention to the actual pronunciations advocated by Spence and his contemporaries with a view to reconstructing what was felt to be `correct' pronunciation in eighteenth-century Britain. With broad appeal to linguists and historiansalike, this study highlights the importance of pronouncing dictionaries as a resource for the historical phonologist, and provides a valuable addition to the limited body of knowledge on eighteenth-century pronunciation.

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From the Publisher

Thomas Spence (1750-1814) was a native of Newcastle upon Tyne who is best known for his political writings, and more particularly for his radical `Plan' for social reform involving common ownership of the land. One hitherto neglected aspect of Spence's Plan was his proposal to extend thebenefits of reading and of `correct' pronunciatio...

Joan Beal is at the University of Sheffield.

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Format:HardcoverPublished:March 1, 1999Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198237812

ISBN - 13:9780198237815

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Table of Contents

1. Thomas Spence: His Life and Works2. Eighteenth-Century English: The `Cinderella' of English Historical Linguistics3. Evidence for Eighteenth-Century Pronunciation: The Value of Pronouncing Dictionaries4. Spence's Grand Repository of the English Language5. The Phonology of Eighteenth-Century English: Evidence from Spence's Grand Repository and Contemporary Pronouncing Dictionaries6. ConclusionAppendices

Editorial Reviews

`this book may be seen as a valuable addition to a rather underesearched period of the English Language'Alison Wray, Journal of Sociolinguistics