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elocution [ 2 August 2009 21:55 BST]
pftaylor
elocution [ 2 September 2009 12:11 BST] (current)
pftaylor
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 The original article, by Rita Ranson, Université du Havre, is entitled The original article, by Rita Ranson, Université du Havre, is entitled
 **«ELOCUTION WALKER» OU LA RÉUSSITE D’UN CATHOLIQUE dans l’Angleterre des lumières** **«ELOCUTION WALKER» OU LA RÉUSSITE D’UN CATHOLIQUE dans l’Angleterre des lumières**
-and can be found on www.cercles.com/​n4/​ranson.pdf,​ with all the footnotes.+and can be found on www.cercles.com/​n4/​ranson.pdf,​ with all the footnotes.  The translation is mine, together with any errors. ​ Please feel free to point them out.
  
  
-==‘Elocution Walker’, or the success of a Catholic in the England of the Enlightenment.==+=== ‘Elocution Walker’, or the success of a Catholic in the England of the Enlightenment. ​===
  
 John Walker is without doubt one of the greatest English intellectuals of the 18th century. ​ His name is linked with the study of language and in particular the pronunciation of the English Language. ​ His works are known by and enjoy a reputation for quality among the all too small a number of specialists in the history of rhetoric and of phonology; very little information is available about his life, which is even more paradoxical when one realises how popular he was in his life-time. ​ For the educated gentleman of the 18th century the name of John Walker was, in the realm of the study of pronunciation,​ as prestigious as that of Dr. Johnson in lexicography or of David Garrick, actor of genius, both contemporaries and friends of Walker. John Walker is without doubt one of the greatest English intellectuals of the 18th century. ​ His name is linked with the study of language and in particular the pronunciation of the English Language. ​ His works are known by and enjoy a reputation for quality among the all too small a number of specialists in the history of rhetoric and of phonology; very little information is available about his life, which is even more paradoxical when one realises how popular he was in his life-time. ​ For the educated gentleman of the 18th century the name of John Walker was, in the realm of the study of pronunciation,​ as prestigious as that of Dr. Johnson in lexicography or of David Garrick, actor of genius, both contemporaries and friends of Walker.
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 In order to know this individual thinker better, one must first investigate his personality a little more precisely: what were the circumstances that led Walker to become the author of numerous works on oral English? ​ It also seems important to place him in context by considering his relations with his rivals in this field: how did he arrange his assets in relation to the others? ​ Finally we must question in particular why, in spite of the influence of Walker on the English language of the 18th and 19th centuries, his work remains largely unexplored, in fact little used at all in the study of the history of language for that period. In order to know this individual thinker better, one must first investigate his personality a little more precisely: what were the circumstances that led Walker to become the author of numerous works on oral English? ​ It also seems important to place him in context by considering his relations with his rivals in this field: how did he arrange his assets in relation to the others? ​ Finally we must question in particular why, in spite of the influence of Walker on the English language of the 18th and 19th centuries, his work remains largely unexplored, in fact little used at all in the study of the history of language for that period.
  
-== Walker, second-rate actor, ‘papist’,​ but respected master of elocution ==+=== Walker, second-rate actor, ‘papist’,​ but respected master of elocution ​===
  
 John Walker was born at Colney Hatch on 18th March 1732.  He attended the Highgate Free Grammar School, but for financial reasons had to interrupt his studies and become apprentice to an apothecary. ​ However he continued to teach himself, studying amongst other subjects Greek and Latin. ​ Around the age of seventeen—existing sources do not allow for any greater precision—he took the decision to become an actor. ​ Initially he joined a provincial touring troupe, such as that of Ward, but decided eventually to return to London, where in 1754 he was engaged at Drury Lane by David Garrick. ​ He remained an actor from 1754 to 1769, and exercised his talents successively at Drury Lane, the Crow Street Theatre in Dublin, Covent Garden and again at Crow Street. ​ In 1758 he married Sybilla Minors, an actress. ​ He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1765.  On ceasing in 1769 to be an actor, Walker decided to exercise his talents as a teacher of elocution, initially at a school in Kensington Gravel Pits, then among the young people destined for a career in parliament, at the bar or in the church. ​ Between 1774 and 1805 he produced no less than thirteen works on the language, all of which have survived. ​ Walker died in London, at Tottenham Court Road, on 1st August 1807.  The epitaph on his tombstone reads [Cansick 145]:​\\ ​ John Walker was born at Colney Hatch on 18th March 1732.  He attended the Highgate Free Grammar School, but for financial reasons had to interrupt his studies and become apprentice to an apothecary. ​ However he continued to teach himself, studying amongst other subjects Greek and Latin. ​ Around the age of seventeen—existing sources do not allow for any greater precision—he took the decision to become an actor. ​ Initially he joined a provincial touring troupe, such as that of Ward, but decided eventually to return to London, where in 1754 he was engaged at Drury Lane by David Garrick. ​ He remained an actor from 1754 to 1769, and exercised his talents successively at Drury Lane, the Crow Street Theatre in Dublin, Covent Garden and again at Crow Street. ​ In 1758 he married Sybilla Minors, an actress. ​ He converted to Roman Catholicism in 1765.  On ceasing in 1769 to be an actor, Walker decided to exercise his talents as a teacher of elocution, initially at a school in Kensington Gravel Pits, then among the young people destined for a career in parliament, at the bar or in the church. ​ Between 1774 and 1805 he produced no less than thirteen works on the language, all of which have survived. ​ Walker died in London, at Tottenham Court Road, on 1st August 1807.  The epitaph on his tombstone reads [Cansick 145]:​\\ ​
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 ;#; ;#;
  
-Here lie the remains of Mr JOHN WALKER Author of the Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language and other valuable works on Grammar and Elocution of which he was for many years a very distinguished Professor. ​ [The remainder is not included in the article] ​ He closed a life devoted to piety and virtue, on the 1st of August, 1807, aged 75.  Also in the same grave lie interred the remains of S     A WALKER, Wife of Mr. JOHN WALKER, who departed this life 1802  [It may have been intended to put her full name //Sybilla// and the complete date.]+Here lie the remains of Mr JOHN WALKER Author of the Pronouncing Dictionary of the English Language and other valuable works on Grammar and Elocution of which he was for many years a very distinguished Professor. ​ [The remainder is not included in the article] ​ He closed a life devoted to piety and virtue, on the 1st of August, 1807, aged 75.  Also in the same grave lie interred the remains of S     A WALKER, Wife of Mr. JOHN WALKER, who departed this life 1802 
 + 
 +[It may have been intended to put her full name //Sybilla// and the complete date.] 
 [His memorial stone was preserved by The Baroness Burdett Coutts. ​ June 28, 1877] [His memorial stone was preserved by The Baroness Burdett Coutts. ​ June 28, 1877]
 ;#; ;#;
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 This epitaph is interesting because it emphasizes the two most important elements in the life of this thinker, his major publication and his popularity. ​ What now remains to be explained is why Walker became a teacher of elocution. ​ As we have already mentioned, in 1765 Walker converted to Catholicism;​ this led, in 1769, to his abandoning his acting career, (a decision made all the easier by the fact that it was becoming increasingly difficult to get roles in Dublin). ​ However, Walker, nephew of the Reverend James Morley, a Calvinist exercising his ministry in Gloucester [Aickin 77], had for a long time felt a deep distaste for anything remotely approaching what the English called ‘popery’. ​ His aversion was such that he left the apothecary where he was working because ‘he was a Roman Catholic’. ​ The author of ‘The Athenaeum’ emphasized this point in particular: ​ This epitaph is interesting because it emphasizes the two most important elements in the life of this thinker, his major publication and his popularity. ​ What now remains to be explained is why Walker became a teacher of elocution. ​ As we have already mentioned, in 1765 Walker converted to Catholicism;​ this led, in 1769, to his abandoning his acting career, (a decision made all the easier by the fact that it was becoming increasingly difficult to get roles in Dublin). ​ However, Walker, nephew of the Reverend James Morley, a Calvinist exercising his ministry in Gloucester [Aickin 77], had for a long time felt a deep distaste for anything remotely approaching what the English called ‘popery’. ​ His aversion was such that he left the apothecary where he was working because ‘he was a Roman Catholic’. ​ The author of ‘The Athenaeum’ emphasized this point in particular: ​
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'And once he informed the writer of this article, that upon his being taken by a  'And once he informed the writer of this article, that upon his being taken by a 
 friend, at the age of sixteen, to Saint Paul’s cathedral, he expressed much disgust friend, at the age of sixteen, to Saint Paul’s cathedral, he expressed much disgust
 at the appearance of the altar, and the vestments of the clergy, on account of  at the appearance of the altar, and the vestments of the clergy, on account of 
 their near approach to popery.'​ [Aickin 83] their near approach to popery.'​ [Aickin 83]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 Be that as it may, the writer of ‘The Athenaeum’ insisted equally on the deep understanding Walker had of theological matters [Aickin 82], and on the fact that he was conversant with all the religious quarrels that existed in the country on any point [Aickin 83].  The decision taken by Walker to become a member of the Roman Catholic Church is far from being just another anecdotal aspect of his life: it was to have serious consequences for his new profession. ​ As we know, Roman Catholics in England had been hit by a number of restrictions,​ including the one concerning teaching people who did not share their beliefs [Verosky 175-228]. ​ Walker applied the rules of his belief to the letter, without ever becoming ‘a bigoted member’ [Aickin 83].  With regard to the constraints placed upon Catholics the writer of ‘The Athenaeum’ stated: Be that as it may, the writer of ‘The Athenaeum’ insisted equally on the deep understanding Walker had of theological matters [Aickin 82], and on the fact that he was conversant with all the religious quarrels that existed in the country on any point [Aickin 83].  The decision taken by Walker to become a member of the Roman Catholic Church is far from being just another anecdotal aspect of his life: it was to have serious consequences for his new profession. ​ As we know, Roman Catholics in England had been hit by a number of restrictions,​ including the one concerning teaching people who did not share their beliefs [Verosky 175-228]. ​ Walker applied the rules of his belief to the letter, without ever becoming ‘a bigoted member’ [Aickin 83].  With regard to the constraints placed upon Catholics the writer of ‘The Athenaeum’ stated:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'He quitted a religion degraded by humiliating exclusions, not to enjoy the      'He quitted a religion degraded by humiliating exclusions, not to enjoy the     
 privileges and emoluments that are open to members of the establishment,​ but to  privileges and emoluments that are open to members of the establishment,​ but to 
 adopt a mode of faith, the profession of which was subjected, by the laws then adopt a mode of faith, the profession of which was subjected, by the laws then
 existing, to the most unjust and oppressive penalties.'​ [Aickin 83] existing, to the most unjust and oppressive penalties.'​ [Aickin 83]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 It seems, nevertheless,​ that in Walker’s case his adherence to the Catholic Church was ultimately not too restricting. ​ Two testimonies support this.  Firstly there is Burke, in 1780, who maintained that Walker already enjoyed a solid reputation: It seems, nevertheless,​ that in Walker’s case his adherence to the Catholic Church was ultimately not too restricting. ​ Two testimonies support this.  Firstly there is Burke, in 1780, who maintained that Walker already enjoyed a solid reputation:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'Here my Lord Berkeley, is Mr Walker, whom not to know by name at least, would  'Here my Lord Berkeley, is Mr Walker, whom not to know by name at least, would 
 argue a want of knowledge of the harmonies, cadences, and properties of our  argue a want of knowledge of the harmonies, cadences, and properties of our 
 language. ​ Against this gentleman and others, we are going, my Lord, upon a language. ​ Against this gentleman and others, we are going, my Lord, upon a
-poor, ungrounded prejudice of the refuses ​of the mob of London, to commit an act +poor, ungrounded prejudice of the refuse ​of the mob of London, to commit an act 
 of gross injustice; and for what?  For crimes moral or political? ​ no, my Lord, but of gross injustice; and for what?  For crimes moral or political? ​ no, my Lord, but
 because we differ in the meaning affixed to a single word, pronouncing it  because we differ in the meaning affixed to a single word, pronouncing it 
 emphatically,​ ‘transubstantiation.’'​ [Prior 191] emphatically,​ ‘transubstantiation.’'​ [Prior 191]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 But the most interesting testimony is the one given by James Compton in a letter addressed to Edmund Malone in which he relates a visit to Johnson: But the most interesting testimony is the one given by James Compton in a letter addressed to Edmund Malone in which he relates a visit to Johnson:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'At the end of April 83 I called on the Doctor at his house, where I found him alone  'At the end of April 83 I called on the Doctor at his house, where I found him alone 
 with Mr Walker. ​ The Doctor seemed to be uncommonly pleased of seeing me  with Mr Walker. ​ The Doctor seemed to be uncommonly pleased of seeing me 
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 contrary converts. ​ I was glad to meet an author, who I thought had rendered me  contrary converts. ​ I was glad to meet an author, who I thought had rendered me 
 infinite service.' ​ [Osborn 16] infinite service.' ​ [Osborn 16]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 Knowing that the Pronouncing Dictionary of Thomas Sheridan (father of the dramatist) was already available at this time, Walker went to a publisher in January 1783 with his fourth work, Hints for Improvement in the Art of Reading. ​ He already had to his credit a Rhyming Dictionary (1775), a book of exercises on the art of reading and the publication of his lectures given at Oxford (1781). ​ His talent was already recognised, and the fact that he was Catholic seemed a small fault in the eyes of his contemporaries. ​ It was, moreover, because he was a Catholic that he was engaged at Maynooth College, in Ireland, between 1795 and 1797. Knowing that the Pronouncing Dictionary of Thomas Sheridan (father of the dramatist) was already available at this time, Walker went to a publisher in January 1783 with his fourth work, Hints for Improvement in the Art of Reading. ​ He already had to his credit a Rhyming Dictionary (1775), a book of exercises on the art of reading and the publication of his lectures given at Oxford (1781). ​ His talent was already recognised, and the fact that he was Catholic seemed a small fault in the eyes of his contemporaries. ​ It was, moreover, because he was a Catholic that he was engaged at Maynooth College, in Ireland, between 1795 and 1797.
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 Walker was always a second-rate actor; he certainly played numerous roles, but he is remembered for three in particular, that of the poet in The Author, that of Downright in Every Man His Humour, and the lead in Caton. ​ These are the roles that the critics picked out, and their comments throw light today on the qualifications Walker had for being a teacher of elocution. ​ In general it is said that his acting was not gracious and his diction was monotonous, that he acted in the correct manner, but was far from being a great actor [Aickin 78].  In the ‘Dramatic Sensor’ the intentions of the critic are clear: Walker was always a second-rate actor; he certainly played numerous roles, but he is remembered for three in particular, that of the poet in The Author, that of Downright in Every Man His Humour, and the lead in Caton. ​ These are the roles that the critics picked out, and their comments throw light today on the qualifications Walker had for being a teacher of elocution. ​ In general it is said that his acting was not gracious and his diction was monotonous, that he acted in the correct manner, but was far from being a great actor [Aickin 78].  In the ‘Dramatic Sensor’ the intentions of the critic are clear:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'Mr Walker discovered, four or five years since, at Covent Garden has a  'Mr Walker discovered, four or five years since, at Covent Garden has a 
 considerable share of merit, but not enough to serve as a standing dish for the  considerable share of merit, but not enough to serve as a standing dish for the 
 public entertainment.' ​ [Verosky 38] public entertainment.' ​ [Verosky 38]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 Kelly in Thepsis shared that opinion [Lamb 25].  It can therefore appear at first sight somewhat amazing that Walker decided to become a teacher of elocution. ​ Walker had, in fact, followed in the footsteps of certain of his contemporaries who had themselves studied elocution and pronunciation,​ and had been called ‘orthoepists’. ​ The two other great figures of this period were Sheridan and Kenrick. ​ The first was an actor and theatre director, the second an author. ​ It was therefore natural and in consequence logical for lovers of works dedicated to spoken English of the 18th century, that their authors should in one way or another be linked to the theatre. ​ We now look at those qualities that distinguished Walker from the other orthoepists. Kelly in Thepsis shared that opinion [Lamb 25].  It can therefore appear at first sight somewhat amazing that Walker decided to become a teacher of elocution. ​ Walker had, in fact, followed in the footsteps of certain of his contemporaries who had themselves studied elocution and pronunciation,​ and had been called ‘orthoepists’. ​ The two other great figures of this period were Sheridan and Kenrick. ​ The first was an actor and theatre director, the second an author. ​ It was therefore natural and in consequence logical for lovers of works dedicated to spoken English of the 18th century, that their authors should in one way or another be linked to the theatre. ​ We now look at those qualities that distinguished Walker from the other orthoepists.
  
-== Walker: intellectual of his time or orthoepist of genius? ==+=== Walker: intellectual of his time or orthoepist of genius? ​===
  
 In her work concerning one of the least known orthoepists of Great Britain, Thomas Spence, Beal challenged her reader by demanding whether Spence, Sheridan, Kenrick, Burn, Johnston and Walker were phoneticians worthy of trust [Beal 48].  For historical reasons, the word ‘phonetician’ not having existed in the 18th century, it is better to ask if Walker was a good orthoepist. ​ It is possible to accept Beal’s answer and assert that Walker was actually a reliable orthoepist [Beal 48-56]; bearing Beal’s criteria in mind we note that he effectively had the favour of the public, he was invited to take part in conferences at Oxford, Edinburgh and Dublin, and that he had the merit of having proposed in his dictionary a clear description of the pronunciation of English based on the work of his predecessors and the rules for justifying that pronunciation. ​ It is pointless to say that Beal does not go far enough in her analysis; her purpose is the study of Spence, not Walker. ​ Nevertheless it is natural to ask whether Walker was not, after all, just an opportunist. ​ Had he not already amassed a considerable fortune courtesy of his earlier publications?​ [Aickin 84]. In her work concerning one of the least known orthoepists of Great Britain, Thomas Spence, Beal challenged her reader by demanding whether Spence, Sheridan, Kenrick, Burn, Johnston and Walker were phoneticians worthy of trust [Beal 48].  For historical reasons, the word ‘phonetician’ not having existed in the 18th century, it is better to ask if Walker was a good orthoepist. ​ It is possible to accept Beal’s answer and assert that Walker was actually a reliable orthoepist [Beal 48-56]; bearing Beal’s criteria in mind we note that he effectively had the favour of the public, he was invited to take part in conferences at Oxford, Edinburgh and Dublin, and that he had the merit of having proposed in his dictionary a clear description of the pronunciation of English based on the work of his predecessors and the rules for justifying that pronunciation. ​ It is pointless to say that Beal does not go far enough in her analysis; her purpose is the study of Spence, not Walker. ​ Nevertheless it is natural to ask whether Walker was not, after all, just an opportunist. ​ Had he not already amassed a considerable fortune courtesy of his earlier publications?​ [Aickin 84].
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 Another element that made Walker a more than suitable model—and something, at this level, that his greatest rival Sheridan had nothing to be jealous of—was the fact that he was recognised as an excellent public orator. ​ Walker, like many intellectuals of the time, regularly attended a celebrated London club: The Robin Hood Society (only The Kit Kat Club was in a position to rival it).  This club was a little unorthodox and was frequently accused of proposing such views on sensitive issues in politics or questions of religion. ​ Well-known people in London took part in the debates, and Walker would in this way rub shoulders with Burke, Boswell, Goldsmith, Foote or even Macklin. ​ After the closure of the club in 1773 Walker frequented The Chapter Coffee-House,​ very famous in its time.  For him these places were a veritable ‘practical school of eloquence’ [Aickin 78].  It was here that our orthoepist became not only perfectly acquainted with the English language, but also the articulation and the eloquence, qualities that had been sadly lacking in the theatre. ​ These efforts and his talent in that field were finally recognised elsewhere:​\\ Another element that made Walker a more than suitable model—and something, at this level, that his greatest rival Sheridan had nothing to be jealous of—was the fact that he was recognised as an excellent public orator. ​ Walker, like many intellectuals of the time, regularly attended a celebrated London club: The Robin Hood Society (only The Kit Kat Club was in a position to rival it).  This club was a little unorthodox and was frequently accused of proposing such views on sensitive issues in politics or questions of religion. ​ Well-known people in London took part in the debates, and Walker would in this way rub shoulders with Burke, Boswell, Goldsmith, Foote or even Macklin. ​ After the closure of the club in 1773 Walker frequented The Chapter Coffee-House,​ very famous in its time.  For him these places were a veritable ‘practical school of eloquence’ [Aickin 78].  It was here that our orthoepist became not only perfectly acquainted with the English language, but also the articulation and the eloquence, qualities that had been sadly lacking in the theatre. ​ These efforts and his talent in that field were finally recognised elsewhere:​\\
  
-  +<​blockquote> ​
- +
 'He greatly excels as an Orator, having a full round Voice, a Faculty of Utterance, 'He greatly excels as an Orator, having a full round Voice, a Faculty of Utterance,
 a graceful Pronunciation,​ and a beautiful Action. ​ If Wit, as it has been defined by a graceful Pronunciation,​ and a beautiful Action. ​ If Wit, as it has been defined by
 a Great Poet, consists in a quick Conception & easy Delivery, Mr W*lk*r has a  a Great Poet, consists in a quick Conception & easy Delivery, Mr W*lk*r has a 
 great Share of it.' [Gentleman 193]  great Share of it.' [Gentleman 193] 
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 This testimony, published in 1764, corresponds to a remarkable development in Walker’s acting career; in 1764 Walker played Covent Garden for a third season. ​ From 1765 the roles he got were more numerous and more important then previously. It is legitimate to think that it was these qualities noted by Gentleman, but also the support of influential members of Society that enabled him to give the lectures at Oxford, Edinburgh and even Dublin. ​ This is particularly significant. ​ Initially everyone stressed the similarity with the route taken by Thomas Sheridan. ​ But a much more important element in Walker’s case was that he was allowed to speak in these prestigious universities even though he was a Catholic and, therefore supposedly only allowed to dispense his knowledge to his fellow Catholics. ​ His presence in Dublin is especially meaningful as the Irish had always had a clear preference for Sheridan, the friend of Dean Swift. ​ But it seems that Walker had enough acquaintances in the respectable classes—probably Catholics—who would recommend him [Aickin 78].  Walker had succeeded in entering the literary world of the time thanks to the support of influential people, where Sheridan himself had not benefited. ​  In this way the actor David Garrick had recommended him to John Hume in Edinburgh [Little & Karl III, 935]. This testimony, published in 1764, corresponds to a remarkable development in Walker’s acting career; in 1764 Walker played Covent Garden for a third season. ​ From 1765 the roles he got were more numerous and more important then previously. It is legitimate to think that it was these qualities noted by Gentleman, but also the support of influential members of Society that enabled him to give the lectures at Oxford, Edinburgh and even Dublin. ​ This is particularly significant. ​ Initially everyone stressed the similarity with the route taken by Thomas Sheridan. ​ But a much more important element in Walker’s case was that he was allowed to speak in these prestigious universities even though he was a Catholic and, therefore supposedly only allowed to dispense his knowledge to his fellow Catholics. ​ His presence in Dublin is especially meaningful as the Irish had always had a clear preference for Sheridan, the friend of Dean Swift. ​ But it seems that Walker had enough acquaintances in the respectable classes—probably Catholics—who would recommend him [Aickin 78].  Walker had succeeded in entering the literary world of the time thanks to the support of influential people, where Sheridan himself had not benefited. ​  In this way the actor David Garrick had recommended him to John Hume in Edinburgh [Little & Karl III, 935].
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 The genius of Walker lies therefore in his two courses: to supply the informed public with points of reference in the form of rules (like the celebrated Principles of English Pronunciation placed at the start of his dictionary) or a visual and actual representation (which was paradoxical for his contemporaries who accepted Johnson’s definition when he stressed ‘the fugitive quality of language’ in the case of spoken English). ​ These techniques allowed the readers of his works to make progress, step by step, in their mastery of matters of language. ​ But what ultimately is the fate of Walker’s work? The genius of Walker lies therefore in his two courses: to supply the informed public with points of reference in the form of rules (like the celebrated Principles of English Pronunciation placed at the start of his dictionary) or a visual and actual representation (which was paradoxical for his contemporaries who accepted Johnson’s definition when he stressed ‘the fugitive quality of language’ in the case of spoken English). ​ These techniques allowed the readers of his works to make progress, step by step, in their mastery of matters of language. ​ But what ultimately is the fate of Walker’s work?
  
-== Walker: celebrated intellectual of the 18th century but forgotten in the 21st century? ==+=== Walker: celebrated intellectual of the 18th century but forgotten in the 21st century? ​===
  
 Walker seems today to be almost completely ignored, except by specialists in the history of phonology or linguistics. ​ It is true that since the beginning of the 1970s there has been renewed interest in studying the development of the English language (particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries); but when one compares the number of these studies with those devoted to earlier periods, they are extremely rare and are not a priority among researchers. ​ Charles Jones thinks this may be explained by a certain reticence towards the 18th and 19th centuries, being too close to the 20th [Jones 279].  Is it about being prudent to avoid too much retrospective criticism, or must we see it as indicating a lack of interest on the part of researchers? ​ Whatever the reason, studies devoted to the history of linguistic ideas during the 18th century and to those contemporaries of Walker in the field too often leave readers and researchers wanting more.  Most of the time study of the development of English pronunciation during this period is slap-dash, as in such classics as the 4th edition of Baugh and Cable, or the book by Freeborn. ​ This is certainly not to say that figures like Johnson or Lowth have been forgotten. ​ But it is much more difficult to find anything written about the orthoepists of the 18th century. ​ In those studies which are a little more focussed, such as those on Standard English for example, there can be some references to Walker; this is the case in Wardaugh, Collins and Mees and even in Mugglestone. ​ The situation is even more alarming in works aimed at the general public. ​ In one such, in reference to a dictionary published in 1791 we read [Crystal 77]: ‘In 1774, the year before Jane Austen was born, John Walker published his Pronouncing Dictionary of English.’ Walker seems today to be almost completely ignored, except by specialists in the history of phonology or linguistics. ​ It is true that since the beginning of the 1970s there has been renewed interest in studying the development of the English language (particularly during the 18th and 19th centuries); but when one compares the number of these studies with those devoted to earlier periods, they are extremely rare and are not a priority among researchers. ​ Charles Jones thinks this may be explained by a certain reticence towards the 18th and 19th centuries, being too close to the 20th [Jones 279].  Is it about being prudent to avoid too much retrospective criticism, or must we see it as indicating a lack of interest on the part of researchers? ​ Whatever the reason, studies devoted to the history of linguistic ideas during the 18th century and to those contemporaries of Walker in the field too often leave readers and researchers wanting more.  Most of the time study of the development of English pronunciation during this period is slap-dash, as in such classics as the 4th edition of Baugh and Cable, or the book by Freeborn. ​ This is certainly not to say that figures like Johnson or Lowth have been forgotten. ​ But it is much more difficult to find anything written about the orthoepists of the 18th century. ​ In those studies which are a little more focussed, such as those on Standard English for example, there can be some references to Walker; this is the case in Wardaugh, Collins and Mees and even in Mugglestone. ​ The situation is even more alarming in works aimed at the general public. ​ In one such, in reference to a dictionary published in 1791 we read [Crystal 77]: ‘In 1774, the year before Jane Austen was born, John Walker published his Pronouncing Dictionary of English.’
Line 106: Line 121:
 In another classic of English Studies published in Oxford [MacArthur 931] we find one entry ‘Thomas Sheridan’,​ and another very brief one for ‘Orthoepy’,​ in which there is an allusion to Walker and Kenrick [MacArthur 732].  The entry for ‘Elocution’ is very short, and no orthoepists are mentioned! [MacArthur 345]  So that the reader is not totally exhausted looking for mention of the name ‘Walker’ (or Kenrick for that matter) Walker is cited in the article ‘Cockney’ and more than three quarters of it comprises a quotation from the Dictionary; Walker is mentioned in the articles ‘Dictionary’,​ ‘Learner’s Dictionary’,​ ‘Orthoepy’ and ‘Rhetorics’,​ where there are references to a few words from his dictionary; and finally his name appears in an article on ‘Worcester’,​ the American lexicographer! ​ Is this to say that Walker must be added to the long list of phoneticians (or rather orthoepists) forgotten by Abercrombie? ​ During their remarkable study of Daniel Jones, Collins and Mees talk about Walker in these terms: In another classic of English Studies published in Oxford [MacArthur 931] we find one entry ‘Thomas Sheridan’,​ and another very brief one for ‘Orthoepy’,​ in which there is an allusion to Walker and Kenrick [MacArthur 732].  The entry for ‘Elocution’ is very short, and no orthoepists are mentioned! [MacArthur 345]  So that the reader is not totally exhausted looking for mention of the name ‘Walker’ (or Kenrick for that matter) Walker is cited in the article ‘Cockney’ and more than three quarters of it comprises a quotation from the Dictionary; Walker is mentioned in the articles ‘Dictionary’,​ ‘Learner’s Dictionary’,​ ‘Orthoepy’ and ‘Rhetorics’,​ where there are references to a few words from his dictionary; and finally his name appears in an article on ‘Worcester’,​ the American lexicographer! ​ Is this to say that Walker must be added to the long list of phoneticians (or rather orthoepists) forgotten by Abercrombie? ​ During their remarkable study of Daniel Jones, Collins and Mees talk about Walker in these terms:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'In Britain Walker’s dictionary remained unchallenged throughout the nineteenth century 'In Britain Walker’s dictionary remained unchallenged throughout the nineteenth century
 […]. ​ In fact, no widely recognised successful authoritative rival was produced until  […]. ​ In fact, no widely recognised successful authoritative rival was produced until 
 1917 when Jones brought out the EPD.' [Collins & Mees 462] 1917 when Jones brought out the EPD.' [Collins & Mees 462]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 In effect Walker has had a remarkable impact on the study of English pronunciation. ​ He is the only one among the leading lights of Orthoepy whose dictionary continued to be published after the death of its author in 1807.  Walker was so popular in the 19th century that Charles Dickens mentioned him in Dombey and Son [Dickens 253].  The impact he had on English pronunciation and its study during this period can be measured in at least three ways.  Firstly Walker was successful in imposing what may be called the superscript number system, that is to say writing above each vowel a figure to indicate its pronunciation. ​ All those who had tried to use another method saw their system made obsolete. ​ Walker was not the inventor of this system. ​ The idea came originally from Kenrick. ​ The latter had elsewhere recognised the existence of a vowel, notated as 0, whose quality was indistinct, and obviously equated to ‘schwa’. ​ One can only regret that the distinction was not given to Kenrick’s publication,​ but to go further would be to rewrite the history of phonology. ​ For transcribing the consonants Walker used the normal alphabet. ​ But the system is sometimes inadequate as it doesn’t, for example, have different symbols for the two recognised pronunciations of ‘th’. In effect Walker has had a remarkable impact on the study of English pronunciation. ​ He is the only one among the leading lights of Orthoepy whose dictionary continued to be published after the death of its author in 1807.  Walker was so popular in the 19th century that Charles Dickens mentioned him in Dombey and Son [Dickens 253].  The impact he had on English pronunciation and its study during this period can be measured in at least three ways.  Firstly Walker was successful in imposing what may be called the superscript number system, that is to say writing above each vowel a figure to indicate its pronunciation. ​ All those who had tried to use another method saw their system made obsolete. ​ Walker was not the inventor of this system. ​ The idea came originally from Kenrick. ​ The latter had elsewhere recognised the existence of a vowel, notated as 0, whose quality was indistinct, and obviously equated to ‘schwa’. ​ One can only regret that the distinction was not given to Kenrick’s publication,​ but to go further would be to rewrite the history of phonology. ​ For transcribing the consonants Walker used the normal alphabet. ​ But the system is sometimes inadequate as it doesn’t, for example, have different symbols for the two recognised pronunciations of ‘th’.
Line 114: Line 131:
 Even though other important elements have contributed to the reputation of the dictionary the system of transcription remains pre-eminent. ​ This is evident from the constant re-issuing of Walker’s Dictionary up till 1904: thirty-four times in England alone. ​ But it had also been published in the United States (in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia for example) until 1858; in Ireland until at least 1859.  In Scotland one recalls an edition published in Glasgow in 1831 and another in Edinburgh in 1846.  Walker’s supremacy is such that it was possible in 1882 to hold an opinion like that of Viëtor:\\ Even though other important elements have contributed to the reputation of the dictionary the system of transcription remains pre-eminent. ​ This is evident from the constant re-issuing of Walker’s Dictionary up till 1904: thirty-four times in England alone. ​ But it had also been published in the United States (in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia for example) until 1858; in Ireland until at least 1859.  In Scotland one recalls an edition published in Glasgow in 1831 and another in Edinburgh in 1846.  Walker’s supremacy is such that it was possible in 1882 to hold an opinion like that of Viëtor:\\
  
- +<​blockquote> ​
- +
 'We make do with a pronunciation manual such as Walker’s, originally published in  'We make do with a pronunciation manual such as Walker’s, originally published in 
 1791 (!) in order to study a language like English which has developed with all the  1791 (!) in order to study a language like English which has developed with all the 
 energy of its native steam-engines.'​ [Collins & Mees 462] energy of its native steam-engines.'​ [Collins & Mees 462]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 The attitude of Viëtor is the complete opposite of Pitman in 1843: The attitude of Viëtor is the complete opposite of Pitman in 1843:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'The basis of the phonetic exposition of universal speech will be found in Walker’s 'The basis of the phonetic exposition of universal speech will be found in Walker’s
 ‘Principles of English Pronunciation’ prefixed to his ‘Critical Pronouncing Dictionary’,​ ‘Principles of English Pronunciation’ prefixed to his ‘Critical Pronouncing Dictionary’,​
 a work which every Phonographer ought to possess.'​ [Kelly 248] a work which every Phonographer ought to possess.'​ [Kelly 248]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 The impact was such that, throughout the Anglo-Saxon world, Walker was the recognised model, as is shown by the testimony of the German Benecke, who taught in Potsdam: The impact was such that, throughout the Anglo-Saxon world, Walker was the recognised model, as is shown by the testimony of the German Benecke, who taught in Potsdam:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'It only remains for me to give the reasons for choosing Walker’s figures. […] 'It only remains for me to give the reasons for choosing Walker’s figures. […]
 To this end I compared English and German orthoepists. […]  In doing so I  To this end I compared English and German orthoepists. […]  In doing so I 
 found that Walker’s system predominated.'​ [Benecke xv-xviii] found that Walker’s system predominated.'​ [Benecke xv-xviii]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 The last point allows us to take full measure of the impact of Walker not only on the study of pronunciation,​ but even more so on the study of the English Language in general: the fact that Walker’s Dictionary was combined with that of Johnson in England, and those of Worcester and Webster in the United States. ​ The publication in one volume of the ‘Johnson-Walker’ is shown by the following comments in the Critical Review: The last point allows us to take full measure of the impact of Walker not only on the study of pronunciation,​ but even more so on the study of the English Language in general: the fact that Walker’s Dictionary was combined with that of Johnson in England, and those of Worcester and Webster in the United States. ​ The publication in one volume of the ‘Johnson-Walker’ is shown by the following comments in the Critical Review:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 'On the whole, this elaborate Dictionary may be considered as a valuable supplement to  'On the whole, this elaborate Dictionary may be considered as a valuable supplement to 
 that of Dr Johnson, to which extensive erudition and genius Walker does ample justice, that of Dr Johnson, to which extensive erudition and genius Walker does ample justice,
 without omitting to neglect his defects.'​ [Critical Review 302] without omitting to neglect his defects.'​ [Critical Review 302]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 The association with Webster and Worcester is a little more surprising since American linguists were trying to separate themselves from the British in the field of linguistics. ​ Two attitudes distinguished them, one favouring the English model and illustrated by Worcester; the other wanting to be quite separate, and illustrated by Webster. ​ So Worcester favoured Walker’s pronunciation model and stated that ‘Johnson was supreme for definitions and authorities,​ Walker for pronunciation.’ [Worcester iv] Webster himself declared that ‘fortunately Walker’s pronunciation has never been generally accepted in England.’ [Webster lx].  The irony of History is that, at Webster’s death, his editor published a corrected version of his dictionary and made specific use of Walker’s work: ‘Walker’s opinion and authority are too important to justify us in rejecting them altogether.’ [Webster lxxiv] The association with Webster and Worcester is a little more surprising since American linguists were trying to separate themselves from the British in the field of linguistics. ​ Two attitudes distinguished them, one favouring the English model and illustrated by Worcester; the other wanting to be quite separate, and illustrated by Webster. ​ So Worcester favoured Walker’s pronunciation model and stated that ‘Johnson was supreme for definitions and authorities,​ Walker for pronunciation.’ [Worcester iv] Webster himself declared that ‘fortunately Walker’s pronunciation has never been generally accepted in England.’ [Webster lx].  The irony of History is that, at Webster’s death, his editor published a corrected version of his dictionary and made specific use of Walker’s work: ‘Walker’s opinion and authority are too important to justify us in rejecting them altogether.’ [Webster lxxiv]
Line 152: Line 173:
 Another study referring to Walker is that by Miller on the English spoken in South Carolina in the 18th century. ​ There the author mentions Walker’s Dictionary; he allows him to place the onus for the pronunciation of the plurals of ‘post’ and ‘fist’ on the English speakers who had just arrived in that part of the United States. ​ Miller does not explain his choice, and his excerpt is somewhat curious: Another study referring to Walker is that by Miller on the English spoken in South Carolina in the 18th century. ​ There the author mentions Walker’s Dictionary; he allows him to place the onus for the pronunciation of the plurals of ‘post’ and ‘fist’ on the English speakers who had just arrived in that part of the United States. ​ Miller does not explain his choice, and his excerpt is somewhat curious:
  
 +<​blockquote>​
 '​Furthermore,​ eighteenth and nineteenth-century comments attest dissyllabic ​ '​Furthermore,​ eighteenth and nineteenth-century comments attest dissyllabic ​
 pronunciations in white English usage long after literary language has changed. ​ pronunciations in white English usage long after literary language has changed. ​
Line 157: Line 179:
 commented that ‘the inhabitants of London of the lower order […] pronounced commented that ‘the inhabitants of London of the lower order […] pronounced
 the plural of post and fist in two syllables.’'​ [Miller 281] the plural of post and fist in two syllables.’'​ [Miller 281]
 +</​blockquote>​
  
 These two studies (and various others) prove that Walker is quite a central element in the history of English and its pronunciation,​ since authors quote him to justify their theories. ​ It seems curious, when Green takes care to specify who Walker was, that he should only put him in the chapter about American lexicography,​ as if his influence was limited just to that country; for the pronunciation itself this is no doubt true.  But it is not the case for the description and methodology that Walker uses.  As for Miller, his choice seems to be based on pure chance, as in the fact that he supports his study by quoting from different editions of Webster or Walker, or the fact that he assumes that the works of Walker are familiar to his readers. ​ There is nothing very convincing to suggest any real knowledge of Walker, or to justify his choice to the reader. These two studies (and various others) prove that Walker is quite a central element in the history of English and its pronunciation,​ since authors quote him to justify their theories. ​ It seems curious, when Green takes care to specify who Walker was, that he should only put him in the chapter about American lexicography,​ as if his influence was limited just to that country; for the pronunciation itself this is no doubt true.  But it is not the case for the description and methodology that Walker uses.  As for Miller, his choice seems to be based on pure chance, as in the fact that he supports his study by quoting from different editions of Webster or Walker, or the fact that he assumes that the works of Walker are familiar to his readers. ​ There is nothing very convincing to suggest any real knowledge of Walker, or to justify his choice to the reader.
elocution.1249246516.txt.gz · Last modified: 2 August 2009 21:55 BST by pftaylor
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