Theiling Online    Sitemap    Conlang Mailing List HQ    Attic   

YAEPT: English diphthongs

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Tuesday, August 26, 2008, 0:06
On 26/08/08 08:05:26, Mark J. Reed wrote:
> In English, three of the so-called "long vowels" (FACE, PRICE, and > GOAT) are usually realized as diphthongs, but most speakers are > unaware of the fact. Meanwhile, there are at least two diphthongs > (CHOICE, MOUTH) that seem to be generally perceived as such. > What do we know about this perceptual distinction? Is it purely a > learned thing, or do even uneducated speakers think that there's a > qualitative difference between those sets of sounds?
This probably necessarily gets into nitty-gritty comments about particular realisations in different English dialects. For instance, in AusE they're all perceived as diphthongs and "ai"/"ay" for instance seems like a perfectly logical spelling for a sound that's obviously &+i in sequence. So I think the "Not" was a bit optimistic. It's worth noting that FACE PRICE GOAT are all pronounced as monophthongs in at least one American dialect; this might have some influence on the matter (at least on other Americans). I'm honestly surprised though that PRICE and MOUTH fall into separate categories for you; they usually behave similarly (e.g. Canadian rising, the nature of the allophones in the Scottish vowel length rule, my paragraph below, the diphthongisation from ME -> EMnE). But because subtle things in your dialect might correspond to larger difference in other dialect, a short AFMD (as for my dialect). In AusE I have two kinds of diphthongs: those which come from EMnE monophthongs (FACE, GOAT), and those that come from EMnE diphthongs (PRICE, CHOICE, MOUTH). The latter category do feel more obviously diphthongal than the former category. The difference between the two seems to be that the two targets of FACE and GOAT are equally significant i.e. the tongue moves smoothly and constantly from the start of the diphthong to the end of it. But with PRICE, CHOICE and MOUTH, the first target is more prominant i.e. the tongue stays around the first target for a disproportionate period of the diphthong and then glides off. I have sometimes considered transcribing the distinction as being FACE &i vs PRICE A(:)j. With that tho, I'm going NOMAIL for somewhere between a couple days and a couple months as I travel to the northern hemisphere again later today. Feel free to email me direct but don't necessarily expect a prompt response (this email address redirects to my main one, which I never deliberately give out, so it's fine). -- Tristan.


deinx nxtxr <deinx.nxtxr@...>