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Where is this picture from?

I tried Google Image Search without useful results.

Why do I care?

Because of this note from Stephen Anderson:

In LanguageLog posting https://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=12367, you included some photos of phoneticians who look like other people. One of your photos is of Firth, Abercrombie and Daniel Jones. This is a photo I’ve seen in various places, but I can’t find out what its permission status is, and I’d like to use it in my revised edition of Phonology in the Twentieth Century. Can you help me find out what I need to do? I assume you didn’t actually request permission for these pictures, but publishers (even LSP) are rather picky these days about usage.

Stephen adds:

It appears as the frontispiece of Asher & Henderson’s “Toward a History of Phonetics”. But like most books, unfortunately, they don’t say where they got it.



  1. Annie Gottlieb said,

    February 8, 2021 @ 1:39 pm

    page 26 https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101455/1/out.pdf (full text)

    If links are not allowed here (I don't clearly remember), regular-google the caption of the photo and it will lead you here, or "Practical Phonetics Training and the Nature of Phonetic Judgements [sic], Phd thesis by Patricia Doreen Scott Ashby, UCL, 2002,

  2. Annie Gottlieb said,

    February 8, 2021 @ 1:44 pm

    UGH Reproduced from Asher & Henderson frontispiece. Dead end!

  3. Y said,

    February 8, 2021 @ 1:46 pm

    It also appears in the beginning of Jones's collected works, vol. 8, eds. Beverley Collins and Inger Mees (Routledge, 2002):

    The acknowledgments don't mention this photo in particular, but thank Jones's daughter for the use of a number of family photographs.

  4. SlideSF said,

    February 8, 2021 @ 4:43 pm

    Wouldn't this fall under Crown Copywrite?

    From Wikipedia:
    "There is a flowchart explaining the precise rules for UK Crown copyright expiry. For photographs the rules are as follows:

    For photographs taken before June 1, 1957, Crown copyright expires 50 years after the creation of the image. All such photographs are therefore in the public domain.
    For photographs taken after that date and published before August 1, 1989, Crown copyright expires 50 years after the first publication. For photographs created between these two dates, but published only on or after the 1989 date, Crown copyright expires on December 31, 2039.
    For photographs created on or after August 1, 1989, Crown copyright expires 125 years after the creation or 50 years after the first publication of the image, whatever is earlier.
    There is the template {{PD-BritishGov}} to tag images which are claimed to be in the public domain under these rules."

    Since the photograph was apparently taken before 1957,in the UK it would revert to the public domain 50 years after it was taken, or 2005.

  5. Y said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 12:36 am

    It also appears in Collins and Mees's 1998 book The Real Professor Higgins: The Life and Career of Daniel Jones, and acknowledged to Jones's daughter.

  6. F said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 4:05 am

    Unlikely to be subject to Crown copyright. It would need to have been taken for some official purpose, in which case in 1955 they would be posing much more formally, and almost certainly in formal surroundings.

  7. Philip Taylor said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 4:43 am

    This publication[1] summarises the relevant facts as they obtain in the United Kingdom, where the photograph was obviously taken.
    [1] Design and Arts Copyright Society, Copyright on photographs, https://www.dacs.org.uk/knowledge-base/factsheets/copyright-in-photographs

  8. Philip Taylor said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 4:48 am

    The Design and Arts Copyright Society online publication Copyright on photographs summarises the relevant facts as they obtain in the United Kingdom, where the photograph was obviously taken.

  9. Stephen Anderson said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 9:57 am

    From the source pointed to by Philip Taylor, I understand that photos taken (in the UK) before 1945 are not subject to copyright, but if this one was taken in 1955, it would still be in copyright until 70 years after the death of the photographer. No one seems to know who that was… but whoever it was, (s)he can't be dead 70 years yet. Since the photo seems to be widely used without attribution, I'm not sure what to do.

    "Photographs made before 1st June 1957

    These photographs were originally protected for a period of 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which they were taken (regardless of whether they were published or not).

    If the photograph was still in copyright as of 1 July 1995 however, the period of copyright was extended to the life of the photographer plus 70 years."

  10. Michael Watts said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 11:17 am

    No one seems to know who that was… but whoever it was, (s)he can't be dead 70 years yet.

    Interesting. I agree that it's impossible to use "it" as the subject of the final clause, and that it poses no problems to use it in "whoever it was".

    This reminds me that when I reread Five Children and It not so long ago, I was disturbed by frequent use of "it" to refer to the Lamb, a human baby. Subsequently, I noticed that I frequently felt comfortable using "it" to refer to a baby or child. There's an important difference somewhere, but I'm not sure what it is.

  11. J.W. Brewer said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 2:19 pm

    Assuming the publisher of the new edition of Stephen Anderson's book is still U of Chicago press or another American press, they will presumably care more about the U.S. copyright status of the image than the U.K. status. When you get back into the mid-20th century you start to encounter things that are public domain on one side of the Atlantic but not on the other, and it's not always entirely predictable which it will be. That said, the prudent assumption for a photo taken in 1955 (without consulting someone with a lot more expertise than I have to offer) is that it is probably not technically in the public domain in the US, regardless of whether or not it was first published in the US prior to the effective date of the revised Copyright Act of 1976.

    It might be worth contacting the UK academic press that published the Asher & Henderson book to see if they would dig through their files as a favor to an American academic press and/or academic author and see if they have any record of who they cleared rights to the photo from. Of course even if they'd like to be helpful the answer may well be "we don't still have records like that for titles published that long ago" or "back then no one would have worried enough about the theoretical need for permission to have actually bothered to have gotten it."

  12. J.W. Brewer said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 2:33 pm

    @Michael Watts. There's an animacy hierarchy in English pronouns, which makes "it" approproiate for a human embryo/fetus/infant of unknown/unspecified sex, just as it can be used for non-human animals, but requires singular "they" (or (s)he if you prefer) to be used instead in comparable situations for humans that are beyond some minimal age (certainly by the age where "baby" would be a less plausible description than "toddler" and maybe earlier than that). The use of singular they may be non-sexist, but it's certainly ageist and speciesist.

    But the "it" in "whoever it was" is not referring to the unknown photographer. It's a dummy placeholder, like the "it" in "It was Firth's Uncle Nigel who took that photograph."

  13. Gregory Kusnick said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 3:37 pm

    I would have said that the "it" does refer to the photographer, but as an abstract role rather than an actual person.


    "When was the picture taken?"
    "It was taken in 1955."

    "Who was the photographer?"
    "It was Uncle Nigel."

    Is there reason to think the "it" functions differently in the latter case?

  14. J.W. Brewer said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 3:57 pm

    @Gregory K. But you can't respond to "What was the photographer's name?" with "I don't know its name," at least not in my idiolect. You can however respond to "Who was the photographer?" by just saying "Uncle Nigel." Adding the "It was" is optional, which I think is in context some evidence that it's a pure dummy subject with no referent at all, or at least no referent more specific than something like "the state of affairs." Maybe distinguishing "the abstract role" of the photographer ("it" is okay) from the specific human being who was the photographer ("it" is not okay) creates an intermediate position, but I'm not sure it's necessary for the analysis.

  15. Stephen Anderson said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 4:13 pm

    (a) the "it" in my comment is indeed the dummy "it" of "It was Fred who took that picture" as J. W. Brewer says.
    (b) the publisher of the second edition will be Language Science Press (in Berlin), and the book will appear in Open Access. The University of Chicago Press has kindly given permission for this to happen.
    Bob Ladd is kindly attempting to pin down the source of the photo, so that I can try to get permission to use it.

  16. JPL said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 5:42 pm

    Interesting puzzle. E.g., "Who's that on the phone?" "It's Nigel." (?He's Nigel.) The difference between the "dummy" "it" and the 3sg subj pron with gender distinctions might have something to do with the difference between reference and anaphora, probably among other things.

  17. Michael Watts said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 9:08 pm

    You can however respond to "Who was the photographer?" by just saying "Uncle Nigel." Adding the "It was" is optional, which I think is in context some evidence that it's a pure dummy subject with no referent at all, or at least no referent more specific than something like "the state of affairs."

    This doesn't seem like good evidence; you can also respond to "Who paid the photographer?" by just saying "Uncle Nigel". You can ellipse most things. And while "It was Uncle Nigel" is a possible response to "Who paid the photographer", I would argue very strongly that the answer "Uncle Nigel" is not ellipsed from that, but instead from "Uncle Nigel did", or in succession of fullness "Uncle Nigel paid him" or "Uncle Nigel paid the photographer". And the analysis of ellipsis indicating that the ellipsed phrase contained nothing but a syntactic dummy just doesn't work.

  18. TR said,

    February 9, 2021 @ 10:14 pm

    Even before seeing that the subject of the post was "phoneticians who look like other people" I was going to comment that David Abercrombie looks just like my erstwhile grad school advisor, Greg Urban. Mark, maybe you (as Joseph Wright) and he should start a UPenn phonetician-lookalike society.

    The It was X construction identifies X as focal, so you wouldn't expect it to be possible in a non-focal use as in I don't know its name.

  19. Philip Taylor said,

    February 10, 2021 @ 3:02 am

    I am puzzled by Michael Watts' "ellipsed" — is Michael using "ellipse[d]" where I would use "elide[d]" ?

  20. J.W. Brewer said,

    February 10, 2021 @ 9:03 am

    I am not sure why one need assume that "Uncle Nigel" as a full answer to a question is ellipsisized (to perhaps coin a more apt verb) from some longer-but-invisible underlying sentence in the first place. Assuming it must be strikes me as dubious Chomskyan "Deep Structure" presupposition of the sort I believe the Chomskyans themselves mostly abandoned some decades back. But if "Uncle Nigel" as a response to "Who was the photographer?" is assumed to be ellipsisized, why isn't the longer answer it is clipped down from "Uncle Nigel was the photographer" rather than "The photographer was Uncle Nigel"? You can't turn the former one into "Uncle Nigel was it," can you? And at least to my ear the former ones word order seems more natural/default and the latter one's is a bit odd/marked (which is not to say actually ungrammatical).

    And as TR points out, the focalizing "It was X" variant is available for all sorts of X's and "it" is always appropriate regardless of the details of the X, which is another way of understanding that "it" to be a dummy subject.

  21. JPL said,

    February 11, 2021 @ 5:06 am

    Michael Watts's puzzle is still not answered: why is it "impossible to use "it" as the subject of the final clause [in the example sentence], [but] it poses no problems to use it in "whoever it was"." (And why is the gendered pronoun not possible in "Who's on the phone?" Ans: "He's Nigel"?) To say that it's the "dummy 'it'" seems unsatisfying as an explanation, and while in "It was Nigel who took the photo" you can say the construction focuses new information (although that description is rather crude, since there is a contrastive element that is often included), in "… but whoever it was, (s)he can't be dead 70 years yet" the sense is that the knowledge of the particular person who took the photo is irrelevant to the assertion that that person "can't be dead 70 years yet". The construction does seem to effect a separation between the indication of a role in a situation, with a gap (in knowledge or information), and otoh in the predicate the content that would fill that gap, with the two expressions being referentially identical, similar in function to a question and answer. So what's going on with this probably extensive phenomenon?

  22. J.W. Brewer said,

    February 11, 2021 @ 11:26 am

    Note that the "whoever it is/was" construction can be used even when it is unambiguously clear in context that the unidentified "whoever" is necessarily male or necessarily female – it's not like using singular they in order to elide that issue. Example found from a 1975 magazine interview: "When I'm with my old man, whoever it is at the moment, — well , I love those times when I'm not working and he's there and we get up and fix breakfast and watch TV and just hang out." Note that you can't grammatically change the "he's there" later in the sentence to "it's there," and in the other direction it sounds weird and maybe ungrammatical to change "whoever it is at the moment" to "whoever he is at the moment," although that last weirdness may be specific to this sentence and not generalize to all uses of the construction. But "whoever that is" seems a perfectly fine substitution for "whoever it is" in this context and probably most others. .

  23. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 11, 2021 @ 9:39 pm

    As a start, I'd say this "it" can be used only about matters of identity. Typically it goes with a name; less typically with some other identification. "Quiet down, would you? It's my boss."

    "Who is it?"

    "It's me."

  24. Jerry Friedman said,

    February 11, 2021 @ 10:02 pm

    TR: I think that it even gets replaced by "they" in some contexts where it's focal, if I understand what "focal" means.

    "Did you recognize the caller?"

    "I couldn't even tell if it was a man or a woman. They seemed to be disguising their voice."

    By the way, at first I thought the verb had to be "be", but

    "Is that Uncle Nigel?"

    "It looks kind of like him."

    (Or for Nigel, would it be more appropriate to say "It looks rather like him"?)

  25. Scott P. said,

    February 13, 2021 @ 12:52 pm

    "Who is it?"

    "It's me."

    Worth noting that in German, an acceptable reply to "Wer ist da?" (Who is there) is "Ich bin's" — ich bin es, that is "I am it." (in English, It's me.)

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