Author Archives: swphonetics

150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 3

Feeling tongue positions Just ten years after A. M. Bell introduced his vowel model in 1867, Henry Sweet (1877, A Handbook of Phonetics, Oxford, p. 18) wrote “After a time the student will be able to recognise each vowel solely … Continue reading

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150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 2

The double-resonance theory The single-resonance theory was the standard for a couple of hundred years until the end of the 19th century, expressing the belief that a typical vowel tone arose in an anterior (mouth) cavity whose dimensions determined the … Continue reading

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150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 1

Tongue height and backness This month sees the 150th anniversary of Alexander Melville Bell’s vowel model, with its unique innovation of tongue locations between front and back, what he actually called the location of a configurative aperture between the tongue … Continue reading

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New article

A spectrographic study of sound changes in nineteenth century Kent. 2017. In Tsudzuki, Masaki & Masaki Taniguchi (eds), A Festschrift for Jack Windsor Lewis on the occasion of his 90th Birthday 215-246, Journal of the English Phonetic Society of Japan … Continue reading

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19th century sound change in Kent: LOT

The distribution of LOT pronunciations by the seven informants. Most still had [a~ɑ]-like earlier pronunciations (O). Only two had as yet acquired the new pronunciation [ɔ] (N). The earlier 19th century popular pronunciation in Kent for LOT was [a~ɑ]. The … Continue reading

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19th century sound change in Kent: MOUTH

The distribution of MOUTH pronunciations by the eight informants. Four informants had acquired the new pronunciation [æɒ], [æ:] (N) or the partially new form [æʉ] (P). Four informants still had the earlier pronunciation [ɛʉ] (O). Alexander Ellis (1889, On Early … Continue reading

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19th century sound change in Kent: rhoticity

The distribution of rhoticity by the eight informants: four had the earlier fully rhotic pronunciation (O), one was partially rhotic (P), while three had acquired the new non-rhotic pronunciation (N). The map shows that four informants still had the older … Continue reading

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19th century sound change in Kent: THOUGHT

The distribution of  THOUGHT by the eight informants: three had the earlier (O) pronunciation, while five had the new (N) pronunciation. THOUGHT subsumes NORTH and FORCE. The map shows that three informants still had the older [ɔ:]-like pronunciation, while five … Continue reading

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19th century sound change in Kent: TRAP

The distribution of the [æ]-like TRAP vowel by the eight informants: this is either the earlier timbre close to DRESS (O), or it is the new open timbre (N). Two informants still had the earlier pronunciation. The map shows that … Continue reading

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19th century sound change in Kent: STRUT

The pronunciations of STRUT. Six informants spread over most of the county had the new [a]-like pronunciation, while two in East Kent still had the older [ʌ]-like pronunciation. The map shows that the new [a]-like pronunciation dominated most of Kent, … Continue reading

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