Walker’s correct pronunciation


Walker’s correct pronunciation


  • Intro

    The public on both sides of the Atlantic was eager for guidance on how to speak correctly. John ‘Elocution’ Walker (1732–1807) met this demand by illustrating how to reproduce a ‘cultured’ London accent, which he described as ‘undoubtedly the best’. Advice is given for people with Scottish or Irish accents, and above all for Londoners with a Cockney accent, which according to Walker is ‘a thousand times more offensive and disgusting’.



    On this page


    Walker uses a system of marks and numbers to indicate the desired pronunciation. A short slanted line like this ´, for example, indicates the syllable immediately before carries the stress. We can see in these pages how some words have changed since his day, such as balcony, which has the stress on the second syllable.


    John Walker, A Critical Pronouncing Dictionary, 1791.

    Shelfmark: 69.f.9.

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