British broadcasters

Nancy Elliott nelliott1 at EARTHLINK.NET
Tue Feb 1 06:59:37 UTC 2000

The NBC Handbook of Pronunciation and the NPR Guide to Radio Journalism and
Production do something similar for American broadcaster pronunciation.
Again, their main concern seems to be getting proper names correct.

>From: Lynne Murphy <lynnem at COGS.SUSX.AC.UK>
>Subject: Re: British broadcasters
>Date: Mon, Jan 31, 2000, 7:47 AM

> When I did work for the SABC (South African Broadscasting Corp), I was given
> their pronunciation documents--they're in my files in a warehouse in London
> awaiting transport here (like everything else I own), but from what i
> the booklet on pronunciations was about 70pp long and focused on how to
> pronounce place names and peoples' names.  It was put out by the same dept
> of the SABC that was responsible for its grammar and style policies.
> (I'm sure that that was one of the first things to go when they
> 'rationalised' the SABC a couple of years back.)
> In the US, if you read the (tran)scripts for NPR shows (at, you
> can see that they do give specific guidance on how to pronounce foreign
> names--there must be someone working for them making up those pronunciations.
> Whether they put it all in a book like the BBC or not, there's definitely
> a prescriptive force at work (if not such a bureaucratic one).
> Lynne
>> Aaron E. Drews wrote:
>> >
>> > Another good place to find some answers might be the BBC website
>> >  I don't know if they have a guide to pronunciation on the
>> > web, but it's worth a browse.
>> Thanks for the tip.  There seems to be much less there than one would hope,
>> but there is a very brief Q&A (it appears to be an interview with a pictured
>> but unidentified individual) that begins as follows:
>>                   [Heading:] BBC Pronunciation Unit
>>                   How does the BBC deal with the issue of
>>                   pronunciation?
>>                   The BBC, for a very long time, has had a
>>                   Pronunciation Unit whose sole purpose is to provide
>>                   advice to broadcasters on how to pronounce
>>                   anything at all. About 90% of what we do is proper
>>                   names – either people’s names or place names –
>>                   but we can actually make recommendations for the
>>                   pronunciation of anything at all from any language.
>> (How many U.S. broadcasting operations have such a unit?  I suspect that you
>> can count them on the fingers of one foot.)
>> Anyway, the URL for this page is
>> James E. Clapp

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