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Academic Paper

Title: Variation and change in the trap and strut vowels of RP: a real time comparison of five acoustic data sets
Author: Anne H Fabricius
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: Roskilde University
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: The present study examines evidence for change in real time within the short vowel subsystem of the RP accent of English over the course of the twentieth century. It compares plots of average formant positions for the short vowels, stemming from several data corpora. It furthermore describes a change over time in the juxtaposition of the trap and strut vowels as captured in the calculated angle and distance between the two, using as a fixed point. This representation of a relationship in a single measurement by means of angle calculation is a methodological innovation for the sociophonetic enterprise. A value specifying the geometric relationship between two vowel positions is precise and replicable, as well as abstract enough to be comparable across data sets. Differences between ‘phonetic’ and ‘sociolinguistic’ stances on the interpretation of acoustic vowel data in formant plots and the issue of suitable vowel normalisation procedures for sociophonetics will also be discussed.


This article appears IN Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 37, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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