Why do we speak the way we do, and what do our voices tell others about us? What is the truth behind the myths that surround how we speak? Jane Setter explores these and other fascinating questions in this engaging introduction to the power and the science of the voice. The book first takes us on a tour of the sounds in our language and how we produce them, as well as how and why those sounds vary in different varieties of English. The origins of our vast range of accents are explained, along with the prejudices associated with them: why do we feel such loyalty to our own accent, and what's behind our attitudes to others? We learn that much of what we believe about how we speak may not be true: is it really the case, for instance, that only young people use 'uptalk', or that only women use vocal fry? Our voices can also be used as criminal evidence, and to help us wear different social and professional hats. Throughout the book, Professor Setter draws on examples from the media and from her own professional and personal experience, from her work on the provenance of the terrorist 'Jihadi John' to why the Rolling Stones sounded American.
1 - Babies, children, fish, and sound patterns 2 - The Watling Street divide: Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, and accent prejudice 3 - Men can't make their voices sound sexy, and other gems 4 - 'Gahaad save our Queen!' Professional and performance voices and accents 5 - Your voice is your witness: forensic speaker analysis in criminal investigations 6 - Transgender speech and synthesized voices 7 - The tip of the iceberg
Jane Setter is Professor of Phonetics at the University of Reading and a National Teaching Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. She has published widely on phonology in second language Englishes and emerging varieties, and among children with speech and language disorders. Professor Setter is a regular commentator in the British media on issues relating to English pronunciation, speech features, and attitudes to accents and appeared as an expert on programmes such as The Alan Titchmarsh Show and Duck Quacks Don't Echo.
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