Sound and vision blog

03 November 2010

Voices of the UK - Evolving English, first exhibition dedicated to the English language

We are still working on the analyses of the Scottish data collected by the BBC. But afore ye go...

Jonnie, one of the Voices researchers, has been working for many months as part of the team who have made Evolving English: One Language Many Voices. The free exhibition will open to the public next week (on Friday 12th November) and run for six months in the British Library's main exhibition gallery.

Last week we began talking about the exhibition in the national press, and on TV and radio. One of the key features of the exhibition will be that visitors can contribute their own accents, words and voices to the national collection using recording booths in the library — and also online using the online voice-blogging application, AudioBoo — more details to come on this.

The BBC website ran a magazine feature (here) about how we pronounce the eighth letter of the alphabet, which we also wrote an information box for. Are you an /ɛɪʧ/ person or a /hɛɪʧ/ person? This reminded me of one of the last times the debate surfaced in the British media — the Guardian in London published a very prescriptive opinion piece on it in 2007, but I very much liked the response on the same page from poet, language activist and friend of the British Library sociolinguistics team, Michael Rosen (see here for Michael's remarks).

Catherine Burton has also blogged about the exhibition and the 'H question' for the Independent here.

We will write more about the exhibition on this blog in the coming weeks, but in the meantime you can plan your visit and book the related talks and events running through the exhibition at www.bl.uk/evolvingenglish. The same link will allow you to access the online parts of the exhibition once it's officially open next week.

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