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"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

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To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Academic Paper


Title: F2 variation in Newcastle and Leeds English liquid systems
Author: John Local
Institution: University of York
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this paper we present a production study designed to explore the relationship between three observations which have previously been made about liquids in British English: first, that laterals have prosodically-determined 'clear' (syllable-initial) and 'dark' (syllable-final) variants; second, that some varieties of English have either clear [1] in all positions or dark [l] in all positions; third, that some varieties with clear [1] have dark [r] while some varieties with dark [1] have clear [r] (in broad phonetic transcription). We take F2 as an acoustic correlate of clearness/darkness and report on F2 variation in two representative varieties of British English, one which has clear initial [1] (Newcastle-upon-Tyne) and one with dark initial [1] (Leeds). We show that Newcastle English has higher F2 frequencies in [1] than in [r] and that the reverse pattern is found in Leeds English. These patterns can also be found in adjacent unstressed vowels but not in adjacent stressed vowels. Final [1] in both varieties has a lower F2 than initial [1]. In intervocalic contexts, these F2 distinctions in the liquids are observed in iambic words for both varieties. In trochaic words they are observed for Leeds only, though the vowel effects can be observed in both varieties. We discuss some phonological consequences of these findings.

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 37, Issue 2, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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