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Quality and quantity in New Zealand English vowel contrasts

  • Paul Warren (a1)
Abstract

Acoustic analysis of word-list and sentence data from a database of spoken New Zealand English is used to address the suggestion that a number of vowel contrasts in this variety are moving towards a quantity-based distinction. Data from 73 speakers across three age groups and two sexes are analysed, for a total of almost 6,000 vowel tokens. The move to a quantity distinction is confirmed for the strutstart contrast. In the case of dress and fleece, younger and female speakers show greater overlap of the two vowels but also stronger diphthongisation of fleece. The data also confirm the fronting of foot away from thought and towards goose, but with no evident adjustment in durational contrasts or in the diphthongisation of either long vowel. Kit is becoming increasingly centralised, especially in the speech of young women, and is as a consequence becoming more distinct from nurse. The findings are discussed in the context of the system of vowel contrasts in this variety.

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References
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Journal of the International Phonetic Association
  • ISSN: 0025-1003
  • EISSN: 1475-3502
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