[PW] ? the "Rainbow Passage"

Robert Hall bobhall61347 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 30 17:15:54 PDT 2018

There is a off-quoted text called “The Rainbow Passage”.  It has been used for a long time as a useful text for speech drills and measurements because it is supposedly both phonetically and phonemically balanced.


Everyone who cites it attributes it to Grant Fairbanks’ book “Voice and Articulation Drillbook” which seems to have first come out in 1937  --  although most people cite the 2nd edition, 1960.  Fairbanks includes “The Rainbow Passage” on page 127 of the second edition along with a footnote that only says it “has been used in many experiments”.  Since it is in the public domain (I suppose), Fairbanks didn’t provide any attribution.


So, what is the origin of this passage and has it ever been proven to be phonetically and phonemically balanced?



Bob Hallbobhall61347 at yahoo.com

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