Ida C. Ward

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Ida Ward 1880-1949

Ida Caroline Ward CBE (4 October 1880, Bradford – 10 October 1949, Guildford) was a British linguist working mainly on African languages who did influential work in the domains of phonology and tonology. Her 1933 collaboration with Diedrich Hermann Westermann, Practical Phonetics for Students of African languages, was reprinted many times. African languages she worked on include Efik (1933), Igbo (1936, 1941), Mende (1944), and Yoruba (published posthumously in 1952).[1]

Ida Ward was the eighth child of a Yorkshire wool merchant. After taking her B.Litt degree at Durham University, she taught in secondary schools in the north of England and in London. From 1919 to 1932 she worked at University College London with the famous phonetician Daniel Jones; in 1932 she moved on to the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, becoming a professor in 1944. In her books on African languages she gave a detailed account of the tones of the languages, and in her day was one of the leading authorities in the subject.[2]


  • Ward, Ida C. (1923) Defects of Speech: Their Nature and Their Cure. E.P. Dutton.
  • Armstrong, Lilias E. & Ward, Ida C. (1926) Handbook of English Intonation, B. G. Teubner, Leipzig, Germany
  • Westermann, Diedrich Hermann & Ward, Ida C. (1933) Practical phonetics for students of African languages. London: Oxford University Press for the International African Institute
  • Ward, Ida C. (1933) The phonetic and tonal structure of Efik. Cambridge: Heffer.
  • Ward, Ida C. (1936) An introduction to the Ibo language. Cambridge: Heffer.
  • Ward, Ida C. (1937) Practical suggestions for the learning of an African language in the field, Africa, supplement, vol. 10, no. 2. London.
  • Ward, Ida C. (1939) The Phonetics of English. Heffer, Cambridge.
  • Ward, Ida C. (1939) The Pronunciation of Twi. Heffer, Cambridge.
  • Ward, Ida C. (1941) Ibo dialects and the development of a common language. Cambridge: Heffer.
  • Ward, Ida C. (1944) 'A phonetic introduction to Mende', in Crosby, K.H., An introduction to the study of Mende. Cambridge: Heffer.
  • Ward, Ida C. (1952) An introduction to the Yoruba language. Cambridge: Heffer & Sons.


  1. ^ Westermann, Diedrich Hermann (1949) 'Professor Ida C. Ward', Phonetica, 3, 5-6, 386–388.
  2. ^ Collins, Beverley & Inger M. Mees (1999). The Real Professor Higgins: The Life and Career of Daniel Jones, Mouton de Gruyter, p. 257.

Further reading[edit]

  • Collins, B. S.; Mees, I. M. (2006). "Ward, Ida Caroline (1880–1950)". In Brown, Keith. Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics. 14 (2nd ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 520–521. doi:10.1016/B0-08-044854-2/02975-8. 
  • Green, M. M. (2004) [1959]. "Ward, Ida Caroline (1880–1949)". In Cannadine, David. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Rev. by D. W. Arnott. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36731. 
  • "Professor Ida Ward". The Times (51512). London. 14 October 1949. col E, p. 7. 
  • "Memorial Service: Professor Ida C. Ward". The Times (51523). London. 27 October 1949. col B, p. 7.