In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

238Reviews American Pronunciation. Twelfth Edition, expanded. John S. Kenyon. Edited by Donald M. Lance and Stewart A. Kingsbury. Ann Arbor, MI: George Wahr Publishing Company, 1997. Pp. xl + 410. $45 (hard-cover), $35 (soft-cover). Anew edition of John Samuel Kenyon's American Pronundation, first published in 1924 and last edited by him in 1949 in a tenth edition, is now available in a twelfth, expanded edition by Donald Lance and die late Stewart Kingsbury. The volume is a publication in the series of the American Dialect Society that celebrates that society's first 100 years. This book on the phonetics of English, reprinted in its entirety, includes two new chapters, one on spectrographic analysis by Donald Lance and Stephen Howie (267-344), die other on American language variation by Donald Lance (345-374). The volume ends widi a reprint of Kenyon's essay, "Cultural Levels and Functional Varieties of English," which first appeared in College English in 1948. There are few, if any, students ofAmerican English (lexicographers included ) who, in the decades immediately following the appearance of this book, did not find it a useful guide to the nature and details of American English pronunciation. My review will, accordingly, remind the reader of Kenyon's eminent place among phoneticians and lexicographers and of his outstanding contributions to the representation of American English speech. This reviewer first became acquainted with Kenyon's text as an undergraduate , when one of his professors assigned readings therein. We used the fourth edition (1930), noting our professor's comment diat "this text is die only scholarly treatment of American English pronunciation currently available ." My home or office shelves, ever since, have held a copy of diat text: the sixüi edition (1935) and a second printing of the tenth edition (1949), which was the last revision before Kenyon's deaüi ten years later. Lance and Kingsbury point out that "although Kenyon's careful description of his own [Western Reserve] dialect may appear dated,... it is a careful analysis diat can still serve ... to build an understanding of die pronunciation of American English" (xxx) . That very reasonable statement recognizes the fact that numerous scholarlyjournal articles and important texts and volumes on die phonetics and pronunciation of American English have since appeared , reflecting the extensive expansion of research in this field. Consider some of die developments since Kenyon's work appeared: structural linguistics and phonemic theory; the advent, growth and influence of generative and transformational linguistics and phonology; die development of sociolinguistics , widi its special attention to linguistic and social variables; the development and study of such special areas as speech production and speech perception , acoustic and experimental phonetics, clinical phonetics, speech synthesis, comparative phonetics; and the extensive investigation of the dialects of American English. Thus, the contributions to our understanding of American English phonetics/pronunciation since the appearance of Kenyon's last revision are indeed staggering. But, as the editors note, his publishers con- Reviews239 tinued to receive orders in such quantity diat diey were obliged to approach scholars in the field for assistance and advice. Lance and Kingsbury, widi die assistance of Stephen M. Howie, accepted die publisher's request to edit and update diis "classic among scholars" of die language. They did so (with no desire to correct or emend any of die original text) by expanding Kenyon's text widi Kenyon's important essay, "Cultural Levels and Functional Varieties of English," and two of their own essays and commentaries. They state that, diough dated, Kenyon's text remains "a solid foundation on which to build an understanding of the phonological system of the language" (xxx). Lance and Howie's "Spectrographic Analysis of English Phonemes and Allophones" reviews die development of spectrography since 1945. It describes such concepts as formants, formant frequencies, die spectrograms of English phonemes, wide and narrow band spectrograms, formant transitions, voice onset, die use of die aspirate in words like humor and which, nasalization, glides, and more. They illustrate Kenyon's descriptions of some of diese concepts widi spectrograms not available to him at die time. And diey note how some of Kenyon's unanswered questions (e.g., "While die lips and velum are closed for b, what...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 238-242
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.