Ngram Viewer to assess how language has changed over time, here's another project that might pique your interest, one that involves another great literary work, Roger Hargreaves's children's book Mr. Tickle.For those that have been busily searching Google's new
The British Library wants to map different words and accents and chart the changing pronunciation of the English language. As part of its exhibit Evolving English, the British Library is adding to its already sizable collection of 20th century recordings of the English voice, and it's asking any English speaker worldwide to record their voice reading Mr. Tickle aloud.
In order to compare accents, the British Library is examining words in lexical sets, those that share certain pronunciation patterns. According to phoneticians, reading long lists of words aloud is not ideal as it tends not to be "authentic" or conversational, so reading prose aloud is preferable. And since you're likely to read it casually and with confidence, no matter your age or native language, a children's book is apparently even better.
The British Library says it chose one of the beloved Mr. Men series as the book contained all the lexical sets. (Personally, I preferred Mr. Chatterbox and always found the ending of Mr. Tickle to be quite annoying.) For its part, Mr. Tickle contains words like "mischievous," "postman," and "extraordinary." Do you say "miss-cheevy-us" or "miss-chiv-us"?
To add your voice, you can either use the British Library website or an Audioboo mobile app. Copies of Mr. Tickle are available on the library website, as well instructions on how to tag your upload so it appears as part of the collection.