The modern phonetician

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I was unaware until today (thanks to Paul Carter for the link) that at the Congress Dinner of the 2nd International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, in London on the 25th of July 1935, the assembled phoneticians heard toasts to the King and to the phonetic sciences, and a recitation, and a phonetic experiment, and Daniel Jones's performance of Chaucer's "Pardoner's Tale" in the original Middle English, and a demonstration of sign language, and finally the distinguished phonetician and linguist Harold E. Palmer took to the floor and performed a spectacular song that began:

I wish to be the pattern of a modern phonetician
To know the sounds of languages, and also in addition
The sum of their varieties, ancestral or collateral
Arranged upon the triangle, the square or quadrilateral . . .

You can read (or sing) the lyrics in full on this page. The tune, of course, is Gilbert and Sullivan's "Modern Major General". I just wish I'd been there. But I was born several decades too late.

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