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on 13 October 2008
This is a useful book in its own way, including lots of names and other words which even native speakers have problems with and giving acceptable English pronunciations of foreign names. However it only includes a fraction of the British names to be found in the old BBC Pronouncing Dictionary of British Names (which urgently needs to be reissued, preferably in updated edition). Also, for foreign names as a rule the authentic foreign pronunciations are not given.
PS 2013: Some years ago I rated this with 4 stars and the above review. I have since become more disappointed with it. It is far too small to be really useful. Also, it concentrates quite strongly on up-to-date names, which are by now no longer up-to-date. One shocking mistake: For the actor Romola Garai a pronunciation stressing the second syllable of each part of her name is given; however, her Wikipedia page gives a pronunciation stressing the first syllable of each part, with a footnote linking to a YouTube clip in which she herself says "Hi, I'm Romola Garai" using precisely this pronunciation. In this case Wikipedia is demonstrably right and Oxford/BBC is wrong.
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on 20 November 2013
This gem of a book has helped me a lot and now I know how to pronounce the name of actor Ralph Fiennes properly as well as capitals of the world I shall never visit, though certainly sneak into conversations. More for those with a nerdy love for language on any level, but it really is quite handy. You could look things up on the internet, but what's the fun in that?
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on 1 March 2009
We could use a few different dictionaries, compact ones, medium-sized ones, reference-sized ones, and perhaps, from different publishers; but most of us would not likely have more than one guide book on pronunciation. The Oxford BBC Guide to Pronunciation is probably the choice guide. Its 432 pages are packed neatly in a compact 12cm x 18cm dimension. It is arranged in alphabetical order but it includes proper names of people and places. We find Rudyard Kipling and Kisangani (a city in Congo) on the same page.Each word has a brief but adequate description. "Eowyn" is described as "character from ' The Lord of the Rings'" (and pronounced as "ay-oh-win"; the emphasis on "ay" is marked in bold). It also has short, page-length descriptions and explanations concerning the pronunciation of major languages such as German, French, and Portuguese. There is also a section the use of "clicks" in certain languages. The pronunciation guide is easy to use and so this book is unlikely to mystify the reader as to what how to pronounce the guide words or how to read the pronunciation symbols. Any disappointments? Well, "Ralph Finnes" was not in it. John Gielgud's there though.
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on 31 August 2014
Will settle any debate over the pronunciation of an unusual word or name, or at least will provide a higher authority in support of you if a pronunciation is considered disputable. An essential addition to your bookcase if you are generally quite pedantic.
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on 23 June 2013
This I keep by my armchair to pick up whenever I'm not sure of a word. I often find that I pronounce words differently to other people. Wish I'd thought of buying this a long time ago.
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on 7 March 2013
Never be in doubt - this is anexcellent reference book and small enough to carry around. Very pleased I purchased it
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on 17 December 2014
it is just what i am looking for
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