Jack Windsor Lewis is a freelance author who for several decades
lectured on, chiefly EFL, phonetics around Europe and other parts of
He worked on the staff of several universities completing a final nineteen years of full-time employment in 1989 at
Leeds near which city he has since lived. His publications have included many
articles, textbooks and A Concise
Pronouncing Dictionary of British and
American English (1972, 1979 London: OUP). In 1974 he recast for
A. S. Hornby the treatment of pronunciation in the third edition of the
Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary
of Current English
giving, for the first time in any major EFL dictionary,
its (100,000) entries in American
pronunciation as well as British. In addition for the first time OALDCE
was newly provided with explanations of large numbers of idiomatic
expressions This lead was so very widely
followed as to now be undoubtedly termable as standard practice for
dictionaries of the kind.
Consultancies etc at various times to:
I was born in 1926 at Cardiff in South Wales and lived there until 1945. Both my parents had also been born and bred in Cardiff but all my grandparents had settled there from elsewhere. My father’s father, a tailor, had previously been living in Berkshire, a county in the south of England west of London containing the town of Windsor. My grandmother his wife, was a woman from Somersetshire. My mother’s father, a telephone linesman, had come from Shropshire a county of midland England on its west bordering Wales. His wife, my other grandmother, had come to Cardiff from Carmarthen in southwestern Wales. Her first language had been Welsh. She was a much-loved ‘second mother’ to me especially because with her, when she became a widow, my parents came to share her house.
My father had been been notable in his youth for achieving the ‘Silver Wolf’ the highest possible decoration in the Boy Scout movement before serving as a soldier in World War 1. By the time I was born he was employed in the running of a chain of a dozen tobacconist shops in Cardiff. Among our shared enthusiasms were especially swimming and music. I was my parents’ only child to survive infancy. No-one ever had kinder parents.
We lived only ten minutes walk from the centre of Cardiff which had been the site of a town of Roman Britain and later had been a viking settlement. It had long been the most populous town of the English-speaking coastal area of southeast Wales and Monmouthshire. Right on the border with England it had immemorially had a monoglot English-speaking population. The southwestern suburb in which I grew up had been built by the municipality in the nineteenth century on riverside former monastery-owned farmland.
After nearby infant and junior schools I transferred to the oldest of the city’s high schools located beside some small public gardens on the east of the city centre. In 1941, a couple of years after I’d started there, parts of it were destroyed by bombs. The one subject I regularly came top of the class in was French. English and Latin were my other subjects in my final two years there. I enrolled at Cardiff University College straight after school, the only one among my family who had ever had any education beyond the age of fourteen. I wasnt able to complete a first year of university before I was required to serve in the ‘armed’ forces. After initial infantry training the Army gave me various jobs including teaching English and French and even some Music Appreciation all to veteran soldiers in the period before their demobilisation.
Returning to Cardiff after almost three years in the Army, I looked forward to courses in English, French and Italian. I had begun to be interested in linguistics and phonetics so I was disappointed that they were all almost exclusively devoted to literature. After graduating I took a job teaching English close to London in a technical college from which I was able to get to courses at the Phonetics Department of University College. I was very fortunate to come to know particularly A. C. Gimson and J. D. O’Connor.
After three years I found a job with the ‘Folk University’ of Sweden giving classses in English and even some in English phonetics mainly at Trollhättan near the Swedish western coast. Next I spent half a year teaching English language classes and some English phonetics at the Mangold Intsitute in the centre of Madrid. I then taught English at a Yorkshire technical and arts college in Dewsbury perfectly enjoyably but all the time looking out for a university job. After a year or so I was appointed to a lectureship in English language at the University of Tehran where I liked the work but found that most of the students had not got a good grounding at their schools. Three years later in 1963 I found my dream job lecturing exclusively on English Phonetics at the University of Oslo where the students were excellent. After I had stayed in that post for five years I was tempted away to a professorship at the Brussels Free University. When, after 1968-9 in that post, promises made to me about its development were not fulfilled, I resigned from it and returned to Oslo for another year or so. In 1970 I was able to be repatriated by my appointment to a lectureship at the Department of Phonetics of Leeds University. I was very happy to spend a further nineteen years of full-time teaching there until retiring in 1963. In the following seven years, besides writing, from time to time I responded to requests from various Police Forces and legal practices around the country to undertake further work in the field of forensic phonetics into which I had been occasionally drawn before my retirement..
Over the years, chiefly in periods between my regular teaching, I also lectured abroad at in time over eighty Universities most of which were around Europe but some as far afield as South America and Japan. In Spain my work included the directing of various summer courses chiefly at Cordoba and Murcia, in the latter university for seven consecutive years.
I also worked, chiefly in London, on numbers of summer courses for the British Council, for the last six of which I’d been the Course Director. I took part in a number of the very large University of London Summer Schools initially as a tutor and latterly as a lecturer. In my retirement, was very happy to be invited by John Wells to join the staff of the University College London Summer Courses in English Phonetics with which I stayed for 21 years from 1990 to 2010 when, on my reaching the age of 84 and suffering from a spinal complaint, it became time for me to bow out from teaching, tho still able to publish chiefly privately with the fortunate facility of my personal internet website.