Daniel Jones (phonetician)

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Daniel Jones (1881 - 1967) was a British phonetician. He was a disciple of Paul-Edouard Passy. He wrote The Pronunciation of English in 1909 and An outline of English Phonetics in 1918. This is considered to be the first comprehensive description of Received Pronunciation. He uses the term phoneme in the current sense.

The problem of the phonetic description of vowels was a long-standing one. Eearlier phoneticians such as Bell and Ellis had suggested a system of reference vowels; and Henry Sweet did much work on the systematic description of vowels. Jones however was the one who is credited with having solved the problem by introducing the concept of 'cardinal vowels', a system of reference vowels which are taught with much care in the British tradition. (Most British-trained phoneticians can trace their teachers through to Jones.) Jones uses in his theory a two-parameter diagram to visualize how vowels are produced. Jones also systematised the phonetic analysis of vowels—still known as the cardinal vowels. Tongue height is represented on the vertical axis and fontness and backness on the horizontal axis. Lip-rounding is implicit in the system, so that front vowels (such as [i e] and [a]) have spread or neutral lip postures, but the back vowels (such as [o] and [u]) have increased lip-rounding as vowel height increases. The International Phonetic Association still uses Jones's model.

Jones studied the phonetics of various languages. In particular, for example, he did an analysis of the tone in Tswana. He developed new alphabets for African and Indian languages.

Source: R. E. Asher, The encyclopedia of language and linguistics, Pergamon Press, 1994


Daniel Jones (1912 - 1993) was a Welsh composer; see Daniel Jones (composer).de:Daniel Jones (Sprachwissenschaftler)

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