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OT: YAEPT: English low vowels (was briefly: Re: Y/N variants (< OT: English and front rounded vowels))

From:T. A. McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 12, 2007, 5:08
Mark J. Reed wrote:
> On Dec 11, 2007 10:24 PM, T. A. McLeay <conlang@...> wrote: > >> [a?a]. You're wrong on that one. I have Anglophonic ears and I pronounce >> /V/ as (central) [a], and so use more-or-less that transcription. In >> England I think most people would hear [a] as /&/. > > > Dadgum Rightpondians, screwing up my otherwise perfectly good > generaliZations. :)
And that statement only works because apparently you realise that the correct orientation of maps is with south up the top, but make certain allowances when talking about the English :P
> [A]~[a] all sound like "ah" to me, tending toward "aw", but never "uh", > which is a noticeably higher sound (tongue-height-wise, not pitchwise). > > If the English hear [a] as /&/, what do they hear as /a/??
SEEE = South East English English, what's common between RP and various London Englishes. To a greater or lesser extent it also works for Australian, South African and New Zealand English. It's more accurate than "British English" which I'd originally written because the Scots are British and don't do any of this, and there's other dialect groups in England too that I don't know how they deal with this stuff. As for the Scots, though, (SSE = Standard Scottish English), SSE:/a/ corresponds to both AmE:/&/ and AmE:/a/ but Ame:/a/ corresponds to SSE:/O/ and SSE:/a/. Anyway, it depends on who you ask. Assuming you distinguish between cot and caught, then I think the usual transcription for the vowel you call AmE:/a/ varies between SEEE:/A:/ (if it's as in "father") and SEEE:/Q/ (if it's as in "bother"), but the relationship between SEEE:/A: Q O:/ and AmE:/A O/ is not simple even if we ignore words that differ by rhoticity. (AmE:/O/ sometimes corresponds to SEEE:/Q/ in much the same way as SEEE:/A:/ sometimes corresponds to AmE:/&/. Some of this complexity goes back to a change in English a few centuries ago where low vowels were lengthened before unvoiced fricatives, followed by changes of quality. In American English, the lengthening of /A > O/ became standard but /& > A/ did not; in SEEE, the lengthening of /& > A:/ became and remained standard but /Q > O:/ did/has not. Subsequently the conditioning environments have also diverged, so that AmE has lengthening in "long" but SEEE doesn't in "bang", and SEEE has lengthening in "can't" but AmE doesn't in "snot". (SEEE:/Q>O:/ lasted a lot longer than AmE:/&>A/, right up to the mid-20th century in the standard and in fact still survives in some non-standard variants. It's caricatured in text as "orf"="off" because of non-rhoticness.) [In that section I'm using the symbols that correspond to the equivalent modern vowel in respective dialects; of course, the phonetic vowel might've been completely different.] If you *don't* distinguish between cot and caught, then the answer becomes AmE:/a/ = SEEE:/A: Q O:/, but some cases of SEEE:/A:/ correspond either to AmE:/Ar/ or AmE:/&/. Yalp! Tables help. You might get one when I'm at home instead of at work, if you ask nicely/are sufficiently interested. -- Tristan.


R A Brown <ray@...>