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By N. F. Blake (auth.)

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The evidence we use may be briefly described as follows. The sounds in English were represented by Latin letters, and we know from other sources what the rough phonetic representations of these letters were and can naturally 20 A History of the English Language assume that the English sounds must have been those that were similar to, if not identical with, the sounds represented by these Latin letters in Latin and other languages. The discipline of phonetics provides us with general rules which are applicable to any language.

The growth of the empire promoted interest in a whole range of languages other than the classical languages which had hitherto been the model for all linguistic structure. And scholars in England began to record the various regional dialects found in the United Kingdom. Whereas before these dialects may have been considered provincial and little more than barbarous, their use in poetry and the novel and the collections and studies based on these forms gradually meant that they were seen as real means of communication, even if they were not as socially acceptable as the standard.

Similarly one would not expect to hear the I dl of grand in a clause like He's a grand lad. There are, however, some exceptions to this general principle. If two consonants are difficult to articulate together, then another may be inserted to ease the transition from one to the other. The verb dream has as its past tense the form dreamt (or dreamed). But this word is pronounced as if there is a group Impt/ because the transition from the nasal Iml to alveolar It I is difficult to articulate easily.

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