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Re: [y] in English (was: David P's "month")

From:Matthew Bladen <matthew.bladen@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 13, 2002, 0:23
Tuesday, March 12, 2002, 7:31:32 PM, Jonathan Knibb wrote:


JK> Erp?!  I was just about to say that there are certainly accents of English
JK> (some Scottish accents for example) that use [y] routinely - but I've been
JK> neatly upstaged, it seems!  I myself was a student at Oxford between 1994
JK> and 2000, and I must say I never noticed [y] creeping into my speech, though
JK> I'm willing to believe I might have missed it in others.  Which phoneme did
JK> you hear it used for, Matthew, and in which group/subculture of students?

I definitely noticed it where I would've said 'oo' (so 'two'/'too' and 'you'
became [ty] and, er... [jy]? :) and it may even have cropped up as a
variant of long 'i', but I'm not so sure about that.
As for groups, I believe it was more prevalent in the 'posh' accents...
but even there, I noticed that it was a curious blend of Received
Pronunciation and the local Oxford accent, so 'I' came out as _oi_ where
I least expected it.
I'm tempted to tie it in with the phenomenon of rising tone at the end
of phrases that's emerging -- the 'oo' sound may have been altered
(fronted?) as a consequence of this. It was certainly quite enough to jar,
because this was the sound I'd painstakingly taught myself to pronounce from
descriptions in Old English primers with the help of a Norwegian friend,
coming right back at me in Oxford High Street!

(For reference, my own accent is a sort of muted South London-ese, in
which I'm 99% certain [y] does not occur; and I was in Oxford between
1998 and 2001)