I have just been watching the first part of David Attenborough’s new television series, First Life. Brilliant, like all his work. (And what an example to us all, still to be so productive at over 80 years of age!)
As you might expect, Sir David speaks RP. (If you didn’t already know, you surely wouldn’t be able to place him as coming from the east Midlands.) He also has an excellent clarity of diction. I find him a real pleasure to listen to. Given this, here are some notes on his pronunciation that I jotted down as I viewed the programme.
|paleontologist||ˌpæliənˈtɒlədʒɪst (not -ɒn-)|
|believes||bəˈliːvz (not bi-)|
|virtually||ˈvɜːtʃəli (not -tʃuə-)|
|manufacture||ˌmænəˈfæktʃə (not -nju-)|
|possible||ˈpɒsɪbl̩ (not -səb-)|
|Newfoundland||ˈnjuːfəndlənd, ˌnjuːfəndˈlænd (inconsistently)|
|Ediacara||ˌiːdiˈækrə (not -kərə)|
Plus one very unusual pronunciation: unless my ears deceived me, he pronounced for the first time as fɒ ðə ˈfɜːst ˈtaɪm. I know that in for it, for us we sometimes get fɒr (see LPD), but I hadn’t previously registered the possibility of fɒ rather than fɔː, fə in for the.