Category Archives: Vowels

Received pronunciation

Traditionally, Received Pronunciation is seen as the accent of authority, with a long line of RP-speaking prime ministers through much of the 20th century such as Baldwin, Chamberlain, Churchill, Attlee, Eden, MacMillan. But that’s not a watertight definition, there have … Continue reading

Posted in Accents, Articulation, Dialects, English, Kent, Pronunciation, RP, sound change, Vowels

Sound change in 19th century RP: MOUTH

Seven speakers of RP born in the latter half of the 19th century are examined for signs of any sound changes in RP MOUTH. They are described here. Data is presented for five of the seven informants (there was no … Continue reading

Posted in Accents, Articulation, English, Pronunciation, RP, sound change, Vowels

Sound change in 20th century RP: monophthongs 1901-1930

Postscript 27 Aug 2018: Added RP09. Eight examples of 20th century RP (born 1901-1930) are examined for signs of some reported sound changes to RP monophthongs. This post follows on from the similar study for 19th century RP. All the … Continue reading

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Sound change in 19th century RP: FACE and GOAT

This post follows on from Sound change in 19th century RP: Monophthongs and deals with the diphthongs FACE and GOAT. Earlier RP FACE was [eː] or [ei]. Jones (1932) described [ei], noting that diphthongs starting with cardinal [ɛ] were regional. … Continue reading

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Sound change in 19th century RP: Monophthongs

Seven examples of 19th century RP (the RP accent of people born in the 19th century) are examined for signs of some reported sound changes. This first post considers monophthongs. The examples, ordered by birth year, are: RP12: Robert Baden-Powel … Continue reading

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Perturbation theory

150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 5 September 2017 saw the 150th anniversary of Alexander Melville Bell’s vowel model. However innovative it may have seemed, his notion of continuous backness and the class of central vowels were purely hypothetical … Continue reading

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Is cardinal 4 front or central?

150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 4 September 2017 saw the 150th anniversary of Alexander Melville Bell’s vowel model.  Daniel Jones’ cardinal vowel system was a modification of Bell’s model, especially reducing Bell’s three low vowels to two. Was … Continue reading

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Feeling tongue positions

150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 3 September 2017 saw the 150th anniversary of Alexander Melville Bell’s vowel model. Within ten years, it was claimed that Bell’s tongue positions could be felt by muscular sensations. Just ten years after … Continue reading

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The double-resonance theory

150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 2 September 2017 saw the 150th anniversary of Alexander Melville Bell’s vowel model, that was briefly explained by the double-resonance theory in the 1930s. The single-resonance theory was the standard for a couple … Continue reading

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Tongue height and backness

150th Anniversary of the Bell Vowel Model 1 September 2017 saw 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 … Continue reading

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