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Academic Paper

Title: What exactly is a front rounded vowel? An acoustic and articulatory investigation of the vowel in South Wales English
Author: Robert A May
Email: click here TO access email
Institution: University of California, Irvine
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Descriptive reports of South Wales English indicate front rounded realizations of the vowel (e.g. Wells 1982; Collins & Mees 1990; Mees & Collins 1999; Walters 1999, 2001). However, the specific phonetic properties of the vowel are not depicted uniformly in these studies. In addition, they have relied entirely on auditory descriptions, rather than instrumental measurements. The study presented here is the first to provide a systematic acoustic and articulatory investigation of the vowel in South Wales English, and to explore its relationship to realizations of Standard Southern British English /ɜː/ and Standard German /øː/. The results indicate systematic differences between the three vowels, with the South Wales English vowel produced with an open rounded lip posture, yet the acoustic characteristics of an unrounded front vowel. Implications for the notion of ‘front-rounding’ are discussed.


This article appears IN Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 40, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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