Last week we had Mara interviewing the Dialect Doctor, who claims to cure accents and strengthen dialects. Well, now here is databank of roughly nearly 1,000 speech samples: Native and non-native speakers of English all read the same English paragraph; the recordings are collected and listenable over at the speech accent archive. They have the nice feature of a world map with a red flag from every region they’ve got a sample from. Click on the flag for an audiofile and a phonetic transcription.
The man behind the archive is Steven H. Weinberger, an Associate Professor and Director of Linguistics in the Department of English at George Mason University (Virginia). He has an interesting link on his site to an encyclopedic reference work cataloguing all of the world’s 6,912 known living languages: Ethnologue – Languages of the world. You can browse again by maps and get a hold of different statistics. For example: There are only about 290 languages in Europe, but more than 2,200 in Asia.