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Academic Paper


Title: En[dj]uring [ʧ]unes or ma[tj]ure [ʤ]ukes? Yod-coalescence and yod-dropping in the Eighteenth-Century English Phonology Database
Author: Joan Beal
Author: Ranjan Sen
Author: Nuria Yáñez-Bouza
Author: Christine Wallis
Linguistic Field: Historical Linguistics; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: Yod-coalescence involving alveolar consonants before Late Modern English /uː/ from earlier /iu > juː/ is still variable and diffusing in Present-day English. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) gives both (/tj dj/) and (/ʧ ʤ/) British English pronunciations for tune (/tjuːn/, /tʃuːn/), mature (/mǝˈtjʊǝ/, /mǝˈʧʊǝ/), duke (/djuːk/, /dʒuːk/) and endure (/ᵻnˈdjʊə/, /ɛnˈdjʊə/, /ᵻnˈdʒʊə/, /ɛnˈdʒʊə/, /ᵻnˈdjɔː/, /ɛnˈdjɔː/, /ᵻnˈdʒɔː/, /ɛnˈdʒɔː/). Extensive variability in yod-coalescence and yod-dropping is not recent in origin, and we can already detect relevant patterns in the eighteenth century from the evidence of a range of pronouncing dictionaries. Beal (1996, 1999) notes a tendency for northern English and Scottish authors to be more conservative with regard to yod-coalescence. She concludes that we require ‘a comprehensive survey of the many pronouncing dictionaries and other works on pronunciation’ (1996: 379) to gain more insight into the historical variation patterns underlying Present-day English.

This article presents some results from such a ‘comprehensive survey’: the Eighteenth-Century English Phonology Database (ECEP). Transcriptions of all relevant words located are compared across a range of eighteenth-century sources in order to determine the chronology of yod-coalescence and yod-dropping as well as internal (e.g. stress, phoneme type, presence of a following /r/) and external (e.g. prescriptive, geographical, social) motivations for these developments.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 24, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .

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