I have finally got round to finishing and publishing an idea I had back in 2009. It is called Paratrans and you can find it here. More content is on its way. Comments welcome.

Update 2015_06_14: One can now play any of the visible transcription sections at will.

Update 2015_06_15: Added another text to Paratrans.


Credit: Google Maps.

The marker on the map shows the location of the village of Rottingdean in East Sussex. Most fans of English traditional folk music will know it as the home village of The Copper Family. Generations of Coppers up until the present day have performed unaccompanied English songs and have had a great influence on the British folk scene. The sound clip below is the last verse of a song called Thousands or More, sung by Jim Copper (1882-1954).

I am sure you have noticed that Jim pronounces ɹ at the end of the words poor, or, and more and that these words are not followed by a word which begins with a vowel. Another member of the family, Ron (c.1913-1979), also pronounces the consonant at the ends of words, not always, but quite often. From the little I have heard of Jim and Ron I would very tentatively rate their accent as one of medium-low rhoticity. General British is an extremely low rhoticity accent.

Of course what one does when singing may not be what one does when speaking. I have only managed to find one small snippet of Jim Copper’s speech. In it there are three opportunities for a coda /r/ to be pronounced. One of these is followed by a vowel-initial word and the /r/ is pronounced. The word farming has no /r/, but the word shepherd does have a very weakly pronounced /r/.

From what I have been able to ascertain by listening to sound clips available on the internet, this coda /r/ no longer exists in the accent of the area. It is way outside the area normally thought of as the domain of high rhoticity accents in the UK. I have never seen any real attempt to trace the history of coda /r/ and its loss in the UK. Please let me know if you are aware of any useful pieces of work on this.

Braille IPA

The image above shows the final words of the North Wind and the Sun in Braille IPA. The version is that for North American English from the IPA Handbook. In “inkform” it reads:

ˈstɹɑŋɡɚ əv ðə ˈtu

This post was prompted by an enquiry from a colleague in Spain, who will have a visually impaired student in the next academic year. If anyone out there has experience of using Braille IPA, or has any useful advice for my colleague, please let me know and I will pass the information on.

If you are interested, there is a PDF document which details the Braille encoding of IPA symbols. It can be found here.


A comment by Emilio Márquez on my post of March 26 reminded me that I need to do another EP tip on the subject of stranding. The one that is already there deals only with stranded auxiliary/modal verbs such as can and must.

Prepositions can also be stranded. When they are, they usually appear in their strong form, rather than have their vowel reduced to a weak vowel such as ə or u even though they are unstressed. This is most common with the words at from for of to.

I’ll do the tip soon, so won’t bother giving any examples here, but I can’t resist mentioning an interesting pair of sentences that popped into my mind. They illustrate the phenomenon of stranding nicely, I think.

What did you think of (=əv) yesterday?
What did you think of (=ɒv) yesterday?

Listen up!

Photo credit: David Benbennick
Used under this licence

It is a long time since I did anything to EP Tips. It was always my intention at the beginning of the saga to have sound clips attached to lots of the tips.

Well, now I have decided to start work on adding more of these. The first is already in place.

As always I will be grateful for any comments. You can post these on the EP Tips comments page. The link is in the side-bar under Pages. I have cleared out all the old comments from this. The link to the EP Tips page is also in the side-bar.