January 7, 2009
by Graham


There have been a few comments about my post on ‘vanishing r’, including one from Jack Windsor Lewis (his blog 145 on 29 December 2008). He suspects that the lack of complaints from the public about the ‘mispronunciation’ of veterinary/veterinarian … Continue reading

December 19, 2008
by Graham

Vanishing r

It’s well known that “Febuary” is a common pronunciation (and spelling – 706 million hits on Google, but with multiple warnings about “Did you mean to search for February?”), but it’s by no means the only English word that tends … Continue reading

December 11, 2008
by Graham

lure, allure

Following on from my last post, with /jʊ/ words being fronted and confused with /ɪ/ words, I’m reminded that a few years ago, a TV programme included a demonstration of falconry, and the expert said she used a /lɜː/. The … Continue reading

December 5, 2008
by Graham

Rumbustious nuptials

In his post of 27 November 2008, John Wells mentions the substitution of ‘-uous’, ‘-ual’ for ‘-ious’ and ‘-ial’ in the pronunciation of these two words. There is a more widespread confusion in the minds of English speakers about words … Continue reading

October 26, 2008
by Graham

English spelling reform

This year has seen the centenary of the Spelling Society, formerly the Simplified Spelling Society, and inevitably there has been a lot of comment in the press, mostly uninformed criticism of anyone (particularly John Wells, as its President) who supports … Continue reading

August 28, 2008
by Graham

False Friends

Anyone learning a foreign language soon becomes aware of false friends – those words that look alike in both the languages. One of the most obvious false friends in English for anyone learning it is actual. Most European languages seem … Continue reading