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John Christopher Wells, MA (Cantabmarker), Ph.D. (London) (born 11 March 1939 in Bootlemarker, Merseyside), is a Britishmarker phonetician and Esperanto teacher at University College Londonmarker, where until his retirement in 2006 he held the departmental chair in Phonetics.

Life

His father was originally from South Africa, and his mother was English; he has two younger brothers. After a childhood in poverty, he studied languages and he taught himself Gregg Shorthand. Having learned Welsh, he was interviewed in Welsh on radio; he has a reasonable knowledge of ten different languages. He was apparently approached by the Home Office to work on speaker identification, but turned down the offer as it was still considered unacceptable to be homosexual at the time and he feared that the security check would make his homosexuality public.

Career

Wells is best known for his book and cassette Accents of English, the book and CD The Sounds of the IPA, Lingvistikaj Aspektoj de Esperanto and the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. He is the author of the most widely used English-Esperanto dictionary, and is also the inventor of the X-SAMPA ASCII phonetic alphabet. During the summer, Wells directs a two-week course which focuses on practical and theoretical phonetics as well as aspects of teaching phonetics. The course ends with written and oral examinations, for which the IPA Certificate of Proficiency in the Phonetics of English is awarded. A considerable part of Wells's research focuses on the phonetic description of varieties of English. From 2003 to 2007 he was president of the International Phonetic Association. He is a member of a five-person academic advisory committee to Linguaphone, and current President of the Spelling Society.

Esperanto

Wells was president of the World Esperanto Association (UEA) from 1989 to 1995. He is currently the president of the Esperanto Association of Britain and since 2007 has been president of the Esperanto Academy.

Work for spelling reform

Wells is currently the president of the Spelling Society. He was criticised in a speech by David Cameron for advocating tolerance of text spelling and omitted apostrophes. However, Cameron was under the misapprehension that the Spelling Society was concerned with upholding standards of spelling.

Works

Essays

  • 1962 - A specimen of British English. In: Maître Phonétique Nr. 117, S. 2-5.
  • 1967 - Specimen. Jamaican Creole. In: Maître Phonétique, Nr. 127 S. 5.
  • 1968 - Nonprevocalic intrusive r in urban Hampshire. IN: Progress Report, UCL Phonetics Laboratory, S. 56-57
  • 1970 - Local accents in England and Wales. In: J.Ling., Nr. 6, S. 231-252.
  • 1979 - Final voicing and vowel length in Welsh. In: Phonetica'. 36.4-5, S. 344-360.
  • 1980 - The brogue that isn't. In: JIPA vol. 10 (1980), S. 74-79. Can be read on-line.
  • 1985 - English accents in England. In: P. Trudgill (Hrsg.): Language in the British Isles. Cambridge University Press. 55-69.
  • 1985 - English pronunciation and its dictionary representation. In: R. Ilson: (Hrsg.): Dictionaries, lexicography and language learning. Oxford: Pergamon.
  • 1994 - The Cockneyfication of RP?. In: G. Melchers u.a. (Hrsg.): Nonstandard Varieties of Language. Papers from the Stockholm Symposium 11-13 April 1991. 198-205. Stockholm Studies in English LXXXIV. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
  • 1995 - New syllabic consonants in English. In: J. Windsor Lewis (Hrsg.): Studies in General and English Phonetics. Essays in honour of Prof. J.D. O'Connor. London: Routledge. ISBN 0415080681.
  • 1995 - Age grading in English pronunciation preferences. In: Proceedings of ICPhS 95, Stockholm, vol. 3:696-699.
  • 1996 - Why phonetic transcription is important. In: Malsori (Journal of the Phonetic Society of Korea) 31-32, S. 239-242.
  • 1997 - What's happening to Received Pronunciation?. In: English Phonetics (English Phonetic Society of Japan), 1, S. 13-23.
  • 1997 - Our changing pronunciation. In: Transactions of the Yorkshire Dialect Society xix, S. 42-48
  • 1997 - One of three named "main technical authors" for Part IV, Spoken language reference materials. In: D. Gibbon u.a. (Hrsg.): Handbook of Standards and Resources for Spoken Language Systems. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 1997.
  • 1997 - Whatever happened to Received Pronunciation? In: Medina & Soto (Hrsg): II Jornadas de Estudios Ingleses, Universidad de Jaén, Spain, S. 19-28.
  • 1997 - Is RP turning into Cockney?. In: M. P. Dvorzhetska, A. A. Kalita (Hrsg.): Studies in Communicative Phonetics and Foreign Language Teaching Methodology. Kyiv State Linguistic University, Ukraine, S. 10-15.
  • 1999 - „Which pronunciation do you prefer?“. In: IATEFL Bd. 149, June-July 1999, "The Changing Language", S. 10-11.
  • 1999 - Pronunciation preferences in British English. A new survey. In: Proc. of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, San Francisco, 1999.
  • 2000 - British English pronunciation preferences. A changing scene. In: Journal of the International Phonetic Association (1999) 29 (1), S. 33-50.
  • 2000 - Overcoming phonetic interference. In: English Phonetics (Journal of the English Phonetic Society of Japan), Nr. 3, S. 9-21.
  • 2001 - Orthographic diacritics. In: Language Problems and Language Planning 24.3.
  • 2002 - John Wells. In: K. Brown, V. Law (Hrsg.): Linguistics in Britain. Personal histories. Publications of the Philological Society, 36. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • 2002 - Accents in Britain today. In: Ewa Waniek-Klimczak, Patrick J. Melia (Hrsg.): Accents and Speech in Teaching English Phonetics and Phonology. Lang, Frankfurt/M. 2002 [2003]. ISBN 3631396163, S. 9-17.
  • 2003 - Phonetic research by written questionnaire. In: M. J. Solé, u.a. (Hrsg.): Proc. 15th Int. Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Barcelona, R.4.7:4
  • 2003 - Phonetic symbols in word processing and on the web. In: M. J. Solé u.a. (Hrsg..): Proc. 15th Int. Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Barcelona, S.2.8:6


Monographs

  • 1962 - A study of the formants of the pure vowels of British English. Unpublished MA thesis, University of London.
  • 1971 - Practical Phonetics. London: Pitman. ISBN 0273439499 (with G. Colson)
  • 1973 - Jamaican pronunciation in London. Publications of the Philological Society xxv. Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 0631147306. (Revised version of his PhD dissertation, 1971.)
  • 1990 - Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. Longman. (ESU Duke of Edinburgh's Prize.)
  • 1993 - Hutchinson Dictionary of Difficult Words. Edited by John Ayto. Oxford: Helicon.
  • 1994 - Longman Interactive English Dictionary. CD-ROM, incorporating a spoken version of the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. ACT Multimedia/ Harlow: Longman, ISBN 0582236940.


Books



External links



Notes

  1. J.C. Wells c.v
  2. Bio at UCL.
  3. http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/domestic_politics/factcheck+david+camerons+speech/2483677



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