The IPA Certificate Examination John Wells University College London
what exams are for • a recognized qualification attesting specialized ability • motivating those studying The IPA exam: in its present form since 1971
content of examination • oral (60) • reading passage of English • sound production • sound recognition • intonation • theory discussion • a 2½-hour written paper (80) • transcription • articulatory description • two theory questions • dictations (60) • English passage • nonsense words Max. 200 160+: First; 130+: Second; 100+: Third
written paper • Answer ALL questions. All four questions are equally weighted. • Using a standard set of symbols for Received Pronunciation (or, if you prefer, of some other accent that you specify), make a phonemic transcription of the following passage, in an informal colloquial style. Indicate rhythmically stressed syllables, but NOT intonation. • […] • 2. Describe in detail, with appropriate diagrams, the movements made by the organs of speech in pronouncing the word sprinkler.
written paper (cont.) 3. EITHER (a) English /t/ is usually classified as a voiceless alveolar plosive. How adequate is this classification? OR (b) What is a diphthong? How can English diphthongs be classified? Is it helpful also to recognise a set of triphthongs? 4. EITHER (a) Supply an appropriate intonation pattern for the sentence You ought to pay someone to do it, then in the dialogue above. Explain what determines the choice of pattern you have described. OR (b) What is the difference between primary and secondary articulation? Exemplify by discussing some of the secondary articulations found in English.
examinees • those seeking an internationally recognized qualification in the practical phonetics of English: SLTs, EFL, speech and drama, speech technologists • those who have attended a course of instruction • self-taught enthusiasts
examiners • university teachers of phonetics: chosen by JCW as IPA Exam. Sec. • two theory examiners (have recently included JCW, Peter Roach, Patricia Ashby, Paul Tench, Jack Windsor Lewis, Jane Setter) • practical examiners: mainly supplemented by staff of UCL and the U. of Westminster
place and time of examination • currently only in London (formerly, at least also in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Belfast; unsuccessful attempts to set up centre in Hong Kong) • in June (formerly also in other months) ; now also in August
a dedicated course of trainingleading to the exam • first held at UCL, 2004, as part of the Summer Course in English Phonetics • meant that annual passes more than doubled • to be repeated in August 2005