Famous First Words: can you decipher these five famous novel openings?
Oxford’s dictionaries give pronunciations for all non-obsolete words, but what about whole strings of speech? Could you recognize famous novels by their transcriptions?
You should bear in mind that transcriptions will include connected speech processes and weak forms, while stress marks reflect the most strongly stressed syllables in each phrase (‘phrasal stress’) rather than every stressed syllable of a word as we usually show (‘word stress’). And remember that each transcript shows one possible way of reading these passages aloud – you may stress different syllables or pronounce the words slightly differently!
One final clue: asterisks indicate names and other proper nouns, while (.) is a brief pause and (..) is a longer one. There are five British English transcriptions to work out – let us know how you get on!