Dear Professor Wells:
I expected the dictionary to show the actual pronunciation of the entries. However, on checking a few examples, the dictionary did not live up to my expectations.
For example, I expected the word train begin with an affricated t and similarly, the word drain to begin with affricated d. There are many other aspects that do not reflect real English (American or British) pronunciation. EFL users of the dictionary do not have authentic pronunciation guide.
Professor XYZ (from an address in Jordan)
[I do find it a bit surprising that a professor, presumably of English, can send me a message with several grammatical errors:
• a dangling participle “on checking”;
• missing “to” before “begin”;
• the countable noun “guide” treated as a mass noun (cf. “guidance”).
If I were writing to a professor, a native speaker of a language I was teaching at university, particularly if I were writing to criticize his work, I would have my letter checked by a native speaker beforehand if there were any doubt at all in my mind. Personally, when I write even a short informal message in French, German, or Welsh, I check everything very carefully in dictionaries and grammars (and am mortified if I do nevertheless make a mistake). Why can’t EFL learners/experts do the same? In spoken communication the odd slip can be tolerated, but anything you write ought to be as far as possible error-free.]
Anyhow, here’s what I replied.
Dear Prof. XYZ,—a sentiment with which I hope you, my readers, agree.
I am sorry that you are disappointed. On page 465 of LPD (third edition) there is a clear statement that "in a consonant cluster after t or d, r is made FRICATIVE instead of approximant. The result is that tr and dr form AFFRICATES..."
In my view it is better to make general statements such as this rather than to clutter the transcription at each entry with allophonic diacritics to show frication, aspiration, clipping, etc.