Phonetic survey

Phonetics 101 1
Originally uploaded by Bullfrog117.

John Wells is preparing the 3rd edition of the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (see more on his blog). For that purpose, he’s asking native speakers of English to complete this survey.

It’s quite an interesting one, and I recommend reading it, even if you (like me) are not qualified to complete it.

Question 20, alas, doesn’t work for speakers of Scottish English. I’m a bit surprised he hasn’t spotted that himself, given he’s the author of Accents of English (which I can highly recommend).

Absurd prices

Night flight!
Originally uploaded by roomman.

I just booked tickets for going to my sister’s wedding in less than two months’ time. I chose Ryanair for lack of a better alternative, only this time flying via Dublin instead of London Stansted.

The total price for two adults, two kids and an infant came to almost exactly £400, which I guess is not too bad, but what is starting to annoy me seriously is how much higher this is than the ticket prices the show you early on in the booking. The £400 pounds are made up as follows:

Fare price £130
Infant fee £28
Baggage fee £55
Taxes etc. £177
Debit card fee £10

Ryanair have always excluded the taxes, but all these infant fees, baggage fees and card fees (and the travel insurance and priority-boarding fee they try to trick you to buy) really add up.

I’m not saying that Ryanair aren’t still a cheap airline in many circumstances, but it’s definitely worth remembering to compare the final price (including the card fee) to the price charged by other airlines, rather than being fooled by the prices shown on their front page.