The Sunday Session
AKL 100.6FM/702AM. WEL 98.7FM CHCH 738AM.
Talkback number: 0800 723 465. Listen here.
Mr. Selwyn & Mr. Bradbury review the week:10pm-1am
Myself and my occassional contributing blogger are back on air tonight for our weekly wireless programme.
For the purposes of research and continuing professional competency I have a 3rd Edition (1935) of the BBC's "Broadcast English: Recommendations to announcers regarding certain words of doubtful pronunciation." The foreword by Lord Reith from 1928 mentions that the first Chairman of the Advisory Committee was the Poet Laureate. In this later edition the Chairman is George Bernard Shaw.
It is a fascinating document in many respects and as I read it I can't but help picturing a man in a double-breasted suit in a dimly lit studio speaking the words into a gigantic old microphone with a large Smiths Electric clock on the wall above him while the panel operator moves big bakelite dials with a cigarette in his mouth.
p. 10: "There is implied the idea of a standard pronunciation... but it is quite evident that we are not entitled to conclude that there is one and only one right way of speaking English."
The rugby commentators, esp. Messrs Mexted and Allen, will be delighted with that!
So they make their recommendations acknowledging the legitimacy of variations but wishing to produce, nonetheless, a uniformity of "educated" speech. Here is the entry for one of the 779 words they consider to be of doubt:
"CELTIC: 'seltik; the pronunciation 'keltik is recommended for Wales"
Does that mean in Wales, or does that mean when speaking of Wales or the Welsh? I used to pronounce it with an s and at some point many years ago changed to k - except for the sports team the Boston Celtics which always seems to be with an s. I have no idea why.