Beatrice Honikman

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Beatrice Lilian Honikman
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Born28 September 1905
Cape Town, South Africa
Died22 March 1998(1998-03-22) (aged 92)
Cape Town
CitizenshipSouth Africa
Known forThe phonetics of African languages
Notable work
Articulatory Settings

Beatrice Honikman (1905-1998) was a phonetician of South African origin who taught at the universities of London and Leeds. Her special field was the phonetics of African languages.


After graduating in South Africa, she studied phonetics in the late 1920’s with Daniel Jones (phonetician) at University College London. She later worked as a lecturer in the School of Oriental and African Studies, London under John Rupert Firth.[1] During this period she jointly published material on the phonetics of Hausa language.[2] She undertook the major task of editing and completing The Phonetic and Tonal Structure of Kikuyu when its author, Lilias Armstrong died suddenly in 1937. The work was published in 1940.[3] Honikman’s career continued with a lectureship in the Department of Phonetics at the University of Leeds, under the headship of P.A.D. MacCarthy, from 1955 to her retirement in 1971.[4] Her best known publication from that period was on the topic of Basis of articulation settings.[5] Although she was not, and did not claim to be, the originator of this idea,[6] her article is widely cited in discussion of articulatory settings, an area of growing interest to language teachers.[7] She died in Cape Town in 1998.


  1. Collins, Beverley; Mees, Inger (1999). The Real Professor Higgins: The Life and Career of Daniel Jones. Mouton de Gruyter. p. 353.
  2. Bargery, G.P.; Honikman, Beatrice (1935). Hausa. A series of conversations and readings in Hausa. With texts, English translation and explanatory notes on the pronunciation of Hausa. London: Linguaphone Institute.
  3. Armstrong, Lilias (1940). The Phonetic and Tonal Structure of Kikuyu. London: International African Institute.
  4. Windsor Lewis, Jack. "Beatrice Honikman". JWL Phonetiblog. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  5. Honikman, Beatrice (1964). "Articulatory Settings". In Abercrombie, David; Fry, D.B.; MacCarthy, P.A.D.; Scott, N.C.; Trim, J.L.M. (eds.). In Honour of Daniel Jones (PDF). Longman. pp. 73–84.
  6. Jenner, Brian (2001). "Articulatory setting: genealogies of an idea". Historiographia Linguistica. 28: 121–141.
  7. Messum, Piers (2010). "Understanding and teaching the English articulatory setting". Speak Out! (IATEFL Pronunciation Special Interest Group). 43: 20–4.

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