"Also, I can kill you with my brain." (toastedcheese) wrote in little_details,
"Also, I can kill you with my brain."

Linguistics in the 60s

I seem to be writing a short story about linguists in London in 1969. I know a fair amount about linguistics and about London, but the historical elements are tripping me up, and Google is failing me.

I am hypothetically setting the story in the Phonetics and General Linguistics departments of University College London. By this I mean a quasi-fictional university for which I will scavenge details from UCL and other London (or even UK) universities as it suits me. The story is set in an alternate universe, so I will probably feel okay calling the final product UCL, which seems to be the kind of setting I am looking for.


-I am assuming that a phonetics department at this time would have some kind of recording lab. Where might this be situated? What kind of equipment would they have at the time? I need to describe the actual room(s) and their contents, so any and all likely descriptions would be nifty.

-Imagine that it is 1969, and you are a linguist. You have been given the opportunity to record, for the first time ever, a non-human being whose second language is English. You can only record him speaking English. What do you record? I'm assuming you would ask him to read a predetermined paragraph of the sort found at the Speech Accent Archive. Were there any standard paragraphs used in the 60s? You'd also probably want him to produce some sentences on his own. Would there be a set of standard questions that a linguist would use to get him to talk, or would they improvise? Is there anything else I'm missing? They're trying to get as much useful data as possible.

Google Searches: Lots of searches regarding the history of linguistic departments, the history of sound equipment, and the history of british linguistics.

I'll go bug the people over at linguaphiles if worst comes to worst, but I figured this was the best place to start. Thanks!

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