11th Feb 2015 4:30pm
E513, Checkland Building Falmer Campus
Professor Ray Hickey: University of Duisberg and Essen
This paper considers the most recent developments in emerging varieties of advanced non-local Dublin English (Hickey 1999, 2005). The purpose is to track the innovations in the short front vowel system, specifically in the KIT, DRESS and TRAP lexical sets. In the past few years short front vowels have been showing increasingly lowered realisations among young females, going on annual recordings made by the author from 2010-2014. The vowels most affected are DRESS and TRAP which show realisations close to [æ] and [a] respectively. The lowering is clearest in the environment of liquids. e.g. dress, left; trap, rat but is attested in other contexts, notably before velars, e.g. beg, check with [æ] and bag, back with [a], and before voiceless fricatives, e.g. yes, west, definitely, all with [æ]. The KIT vowel seems unaffected by the lowering, unless in the environment of [r], e.g. riddle with [e]. These observations would imply that the lowering affected mid to low front vowels first and primarily in the environments of liquids. The lowering in the context of /r/ is understandable given the general lowering affect of this sound on adjacent vowels (Hickey 2014). As syllable-final /l/ in non-local Dublin English is pharygealised, the lowering in the context of liquids, at least for the DRESS vowel, can be traced to this environment (Hickey 2013). As yet, short front vowel lowering does not seem to affect the positions of the LOT and STRUT sets in the vowel space of Dublin English. The LOT vowel is still a relatively low back vowel, i.e. [l>t], but with rounding while the STRUT vowel is centralised, perhaps with a degree of rounding (Hickey 1999, 2005). An important additional focus of this paper will be to compare short front vowel lowering in Dublin English with the situation in New World varieties, specifically California and Canada, but also the Midland region.