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The North Wind versus a Wolf: short texts for the description and measurement of English pronunciation

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 December 2006

David Deterding
National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University,


For many years, the passage ‘The North Wind and the Sun’ (NWS) has been used for phonetic research into different languages. However, there are many shortcomings with the passage for the description of varieties of English, including the absence of some sounds, such as /[zcy ]/ and syllable-initial /θ/, problems with the text for the measurement of rhythm, and issues regarding acoustic measurements of /æ/ and /I/. An alternative passage, ‘The Boy who Cried Wolf’, is suggested, and measurements of the monophthongs based on recordings of the Wolf passage by three RP British English speakers are compared with similar measurements of the vowels in the NWS passage.

Research Article
Journal of the International Phonetic Association 2006

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