Sorry for the long silence ... it's finals time and as budgets get tighter, our workload increases. (Things aren't quite like this all over ... check this out.) I was taken aback about a week before the semester started when the dean assigned me two extra courses, but you do what you gotta do. The intro to botany was kinda fun, and the refresher was nice, but the 19th c. art history seminar was a strain, frankly, and the student evaluations might be kinda harsh. Hey, they did get the IPA down solid. But grades are in and life is good again.
Happened across a nice website just now, Sound Comparisons. There's endless fun with the chance to hear a zillion varieties of English, a fair number of other languages and even some historical varieties of Germanic, with more in the pipeline. The map here just shows some of the places they've got samples from already. I really like the column on the right, where you can pick a word and directly hear the different varieties.
The value of this for making people aware of the diversity of English(es?) is great, but there's very cool science under the hood, as you can see from following the 'research' link.
This is very cool.