Clive Upton

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Clive Upton is professor of English language at the University of Leeds, England, specializing in dialectology and sociolinguistics. He has also acted as a consultant on British pronuciation for the English-language dictionaries published by Oxford University Press, including the Oxford English Dictionary, the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, and the Concise Oxford Dictionary. He was also responsible for the British element of the Oxford Dictionary of Pronunciation for Current English (2001).

Upton's system for representing the vowels of British English is based on the International Phonetic Alphabet, following the normal practice of the late 20th century. He chose the customary presentation of these known as "qualitative-quantitative", which meant that short vowels are represented by a specific symbol, while long vowels are represented by the same symbol followed by the colon-like mark used in IPA to indicate their greater length. (Since long vowels in most modern European languages often have a slightly different sound, a strictly accurate phonetic transcription often requires a different symbol, but this would increase the complexity of the system.)

The set of IPA symbols he chose as his basic short vowels of British English is different from that found in other dictionaries. To some extent this reflects actual shifts in the "Received Pronunciation" of British English during the 20th century. Some British linguists accustomed to a different set of...
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