Ida C. Ward

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Ida Ward 1880-1949

Ida Caroline Ward, CBE (4 October 1880 – 10 October 1949) 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]

Born in Bradford, Ida Ward was the eighth child of a Yorkshire wool merchant. She studied for a B.Litt degree at Durham University, as a member of the then recently founded Women's Hostel, graduating in 1902.[2] Following this she taught as a secondary school teacher for 16 years before becoming an academic.[3] From 1919 to 1932 she worked in the phonetics department 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.[4]


  • 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. ^ "Ward, Ida Caroline (1880–1949)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  3. ^ "Ward, Ida Caroline (1880–1949)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
  4. ^ 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 (ed.). Encyclopedia of Language & Linguistics. 14 (2nd ed.). Amsterdam: Elsevier. pp. 520–521. doi:10.1016/B0-08-044854-2/02975-8.
  • Forde, Daryll (1950). "Ida Caroline Ward". Africa. 20 (1): 1. doi:10.1017/S0001972000012559. JSTOR 1156043.
  • Green, M. M. (2004) [1959]. "Ward, Ida Caroline (1880–1949)". In Cannadine, David (ed.). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Rev. by D. W. Arnott. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/36731.
  • Lasebikan, E. L. (1950). "Ida Ward". African Affairs. 49 (194): 30–32. doi:10.1093/oxfordjournals.afraf.a093781. JSTOR 719354.
  • Tucker, A. N. (1950). "Ida Caroline Ward". Obituaries. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. 13 (2): 542–547. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00083798. JSTOR 609308.
  • Westermann, D. (1950). "Ida Ward—An Appreciation". Africa. 20 (1): 2–4. doi:10.1017/S0001972000012560. JSTOR 1156044.
  • "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.\
  • "Ward, Ida Caroline". A Companion to Who's Who Containing the Biographies of Those Who Died During the Decade 1941–1950. Who Was Who. 4. London: Adam & Charles Black. 1952. p. 1200.