Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Dressing down up north: DRESS-lowering and /l/ allophony in a Scottish dialect

  • Sophie Holmes-Elliott (a1) and Jennifer Smith (a2)

Abstract

This study reports on a sociophonetic investigation of dress-lowering in a rural dialect in northeast Scotland. Previous analyses have indicated that this change is ongoing in a number of varieties worldwide, propelled by a combination of linguistic constraints and favorable associations with Anglo urban Californian varieties. In this paper we examine whether these influences play out in a relic dialect previously resistant to more supralocal changes. Through an analysis of a range of acoustic correlates, we track the progress of this change across three generations of speakers. Analysis of the constraints suggests that in this variety the change is driven by internal pressures, where it is significantly constrained by phonetic environment, specifically, following laterals. Further analysis of this environment reveals increasing distinction on the F2-F1 spectrum, where /l/s have become lighter in onsets and darker in codas. Our analyses reveal that these changes may be viewed as complementary, as they share the same acoustic correlates, suggesting that system-internal pressures are the primary driving force of dress-lowering in this variety.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Dressing down up north: DRESS-lowering and /l/ allophony in a Scottish dialect
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Dressing down up north: DRESS-lowering and /l/ allophony in a Scottish dialect
      Available formats
      ×

      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Dressing down up north: DRESS-lowering and /l/ allophony in a Scottish dialect
      Available formats
      ×

Copyright

References

Hide All
Bates, Douglas, Maechler, Martin, Bolker, Ben, & Walker, Steve. (2015). Fitting linear mixed-effects models using lme4. Journal of Statistical Software 67(1):148.
Beddor, Patrice Speeter. (2009). A coarticulatory path to sound change. Language 85(4):785821.
Bladon, Richard A. W., & Al-Bamerni, Ameen. (1976). Coarticulation resistance in English /l/. Journal of Phonetics 4:137150.
Bladon, Richard A. W., & Nolan, Francis. (1977). A video-fluorographic investigation of tip and blade alveolars in English. Journal of Phonetics 5:185193.
Blevins, Juliette. (2004). Evolutionary phonology: The emergence of sound patterns. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Boberg, Charles. (2005). The Canadian shift in Montreal. Language Variation and Change 17(2):133154.
Boberg, Charles (2008) Regional phonetic differentiation in standard Canadian English. Journal of English Linguistics 36(2):129154.
Boberg, Charles (2010) The English language in Canada: Status, history, and comparative analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Boersma, Paul, & Hayes, Bruce. (2001). Empirical tests of the gradual learning algorithm. Linguistic Inquiry 32(1):4586.
Boudahmane, Karim, Manta, Mathieu, Antoine, Fabien, Galliano, Sylvain, & Barras, Claude. (2008). Transcriber [Computer program] version 1.5.1. Available at: http://trans.sourceforge.net. Accessed January 15, 2014.
Carter, Paul. (2003). Extrinsic phonetic interpretation: spectral variation in English liquids. In Local, J., Ogden, R., & Temple, R. (eds.), Phonetic interpretation: Papers in laboratory phonology VI. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 237252.
Carter, Paul, & Local, John. (2007). F2 variation in Newcastle and Leeds English liquid systems. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 37:183199.
Chomsky, Noam, & Halle, Morris. (1968) The sound pattern of English. New York: Harper & Row.
Clarke, Sandra, Elms, Ford, & Youssef, Amani. (1995). The third dialect of English: Some Canadian evidence. Language Variation and Change 7(2):209228.
Cox, Felicity. (1996). Vowel change in Australian English. Phonetica 56:127.
Cox, Felicity, & Palethorpe, Sallyanne. (2008). Reversal of short front vowel raising in Australian English. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association, INTERSPEECH 1:342345.
Dalston, Roger M. (1975). Acoustic characteristics of English /w,r,l/ spoken correctly by young children and adults. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 57:462469.
D'Arcy, Alexandra. (2005). The development of linguistic constraints: Phonological innovations in St. John's English. Language Variation and Change 17:327355.
De Decker, Paul, & Mackenzie, Sara. (2000). Slept through the ice: A further look at lax vowel lowering in Canadian English. Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics 25:111.
de Jong, Kenneth. (1995). The supraglottal articulation of prominence in English: Linguistic stress as localized hyperarticulation. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 91:491501.
Espy-Wilson, Carol Y. (1992). Acoustic measure for linguistic features distinguishing the semivowels /wjrl/ in American English. Journal of the Acoustic Society of America 92:736757.
Esling, John H., & Warkentyne, Henry J. (1993). Retracting of /æ/ in Vancouver English. In Clarke, S. (ed.), Focus on Canada. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 229246.
Flynn, Nicholas. (2011) Comparing vowel formant normalisation procedures. York Working Papers in Linguistics (Series 2) 11:128.
Giles, Stephen B., & Moll, Kenneth L. (1975). Cinefluorographic study of selected allophones of English /l/. Phonetica 31:206227.
Goodnight, James, & Harvey, Walter. (1978). Least squares means in the fixed effects general linear model. Technical report no. R-103. Raleigh: SAS Institute.
Harrington, Jonathan, Kleber, Felicitas, & Reubold, Ulrich. (2008). Compensation for coarticulation, /u/-fronting, and sound change in standard southern British: An acoustic and perceptual study. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 123(5):28252835.
Hayes, Bruce. (2000). Gradient well-formedness in Optimality Theory. In Dekkers, J., van der Leeuw, F., & van de Weijer, J. (eds.), Optimality Theory: phonology, syntax, and acquisition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 88120.
Heid, Sebastian, & Hawkins, Sarah. (2000). An acoustical study of long-domain /r/ and /l/ coarticulation. In Proceedings of the 5th seminar on Speech Production: Models and Data (ISCA), Vol. 1, 7780.
Hickey, Raymond. (2013). Current innovations in advanced Dublin English. Available at: https://www.uni-due.de/VCDE/VCDE_Most_Recent_Changes.htm. Accessed January 19, 2015.
Hickey, Raymond (2016). English in Ireland: Development and varieties. In Hickey, R. (ed.), Sociolinguistics in Ireland. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 340.
Hickey, Raymond (2017). ‘Yes, that's the best’: Short front vowel lowering in English today: Young people across the anglophone world are changing their pronunciation of vowels according to a change which started in North America. English Today, 18. doi:10.1017/S0266078417000487.
Hinton, Leanne, Moonwomon, Birch, Bremner, Sue, Luthin, Herb, Van Clay, Mary, Lerner, Jean, & Corcoran, Hazel. (1987). It's not just the Valley girls: A study of California English. Proceedings of the thirteenth annual meeting, Berkeley Linguistics Society. Berkeley: University of California Press. 117128.
Hockett, Charles. (1958). A course in modern linguistics. New York: Macmillan.
Hofmann, Matthias. (2014). Mainland Canadian English in Newfoundland: The Canadian shift in urban middle-class St. John's. Ph.D. dissertation, Chemnitz University of Technology.
Hollett, Pauline. (2006). Investigating St. John's English: Real- and apparent-time perspectives. Canadian Journal of Linguistics/La Revue Canadienne de Linguistique 51(2/3):143160.
Huffman, Marie K. (1997). Phonetic variation in intervocalic onset /l/’s in English. Journal of Phonetics 25:115141.
Johnson, Keith. (2011). Acoustic and auditory phonetics. 3rd ed. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Jones, Daniel. (1909). The pronunciation of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kerswill, Paul. (2003). Dialect levelling and geographical diffusion in British English. In Britain, D., & Cheshire, J. (eds.), Social dialectology, in honour of Peter Trudgill. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 223244.
Krakow, Rena, Beddor, Patricia, Goldstein, Louis, & Fowler, Carol. (1988). Coarticulatory influences on the perceived height of nasal vowels. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 83(3):11461158.
Kuznetsova, Alexandra, Brockhoff, Per Bruun, & Christensen, Rune H. B. (2016). LmerTest: Tests for random and fixed effects for linear mixed effect models (lmer objects of lme4 package). Available at: https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/lmerTest. Accessed October 30, 2017.
Labov, William (1980). The social origins of sound change. In Labov, W. & Sankoff, D. (eds.), Locating language in time and space. Quantitative Analyses of Linguistic Structure 1. New York: Academic Press. 251266.
Labov, William (1984). Field methods on the project on linguistic change and variation. In Baugh, J. & Sherzer, J. (eds.), Language in use: Readings in sociolinguistics. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall. 2853.
Labov, William (1992). Regular sound change in English dialect geography. In Rissanen, M. et al. (eds.), History of Englishes: New methods and interpretations in historical linguistics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 4272.
Labov, William (1994). Principles of linguistic change. Vol. 1: Internal factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
Labov, William (2007). Transmission and diffusion. Language 83:344387.
Labov, William, Ash, Sharon, & Boberg, Charles. (2006). Atlas of North American English: Phonetics, phonology, and sound change. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Lawrance, Erika. (2002). A shift in focus: A new geolinguistic perspective on the Canadian Shift (and old questions revisited). Master's paper, McGill University.
Lee-Kim, Sang-Im, Davidson, Lisa, & Hwang, Sangjin. (2013). Morphological effects on the darkness of English intervocalic /l/. Laboratory Phonology 4:475511.
Lenth, Russell V. (2017). Using lsmeans. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Available at: https://cran.r-project.org/web/packages/lsmeans/vignettes/using-lsmeans.pdf. Accessed October 30, 2017.
Lobanov, Boris M. (1971). Classification of Russian vowels spoken by different listeners. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 49:606608.
Ohala, John J. (1981). The listener as a source of sound change. In Masek, C. S., Hendrick, R. A., & Miller, M. F. (eds.), Papers from the Parasession on Language and Behavior. Chicago: Chicago Linguistic Society. 178203.
Oxley, Judith, Buckingham, Hugh, Roussel, Nancy, & Daniloff, Raymond (2006). Metrical/syllabic factors in English allophony: Dark /l/. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 20:109117.
Oxley, Judith, Roussel, Nancy, & Buckingham, Hugh. (2007). Contextual variability in American English dark-l. Clinical Linguistics & Phonetics 21:523542.
R Core Team. (2013). R: A language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing. Available at: http://www.R-project.org/. Accessed October 30, 2017.
Ramsammy, Michael, & Turton, Danielle. (2012). Higher or lower? Unstressed vowel variation in Mancunian English. Paper presented at the Manchester and Salford New Researchers Forum in Linguistics, University of Manchester, November 2–3.
Recasens, Daniel. (2004). Darkness in [l] as a scalar phonetic property: implications for phonology and articulatory control. Clinical Linguistics and Phonetics 18:593603.
Recasens, Daniel (2012). A cross-language acoustic study of initial and final allophones of /l/. Speech Communication 54:368383.
Roeder, Rebecca, & Jarmasz, Lidia-Gabriela. (2010). The Canadian Shift in Toronto. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 55:387404.
Rosenfelder, Ingrid, Fruehwald, Josef, Evanini, Keelan, & Jiahong, Yuan. (2011). FAVE (forced alignment and vowel extraction) program suite. Available at: http://fave.ling.upenn.edu. Accessed April 10, 2015.
Sadlier-Brown, Emily, & Tamminga, Meredith. (2008). The Canadian Shift: Coast to coast. In Jones, S. (ed.), Proceedings of the 2008 Annual Conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association. Vancouver: University of British Columbia. 114.
Scobbie, James, Turk, Alice, & Hewlett, Nigel. (1999). Morphemes, phonetics and lexical items: The case of the Scottish vowel length rule. Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences 2:16171620.
Shockey, Linda. (2003). Sound patterns of spoken English. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
Smith, Jennifer. (2001a). Negative concord in the Old and New World: Evidence from Scotland. Language Variation and Change 13(2):109134.
Smith, Jennifer (2001b). Ye ø na hear that kind o’ things: Negative do in Buckie. English World-Wide 21(2):231259.
Smith, Jennifer (2004). Accounting for vernacular features in a Scottish dialect: Relic, innovation, analogy and drift. In Kay, C., Horobin, S., & Smith, J. (eds.), New perspectives on English historical linguistics. Vol. 1: Syntax and morphology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 173193.
Smith, Jennifer (2005). The sociolinguistics of contemporary Scots: Evidence from one dialect. In Kirk, J. M. & Ó Baoill, D. (eds.), Legislation, literature and sociolinguistics: Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, and Scotland. Belfast: Cló Ollscoil na Banríona. 112125.
Smith, Jennifer (2013–2016). One speaker two dialects: Bidialectalism across the generations in a Scottish community, Economic and Social Research Council Grant Award: ES/K000861/1. Available at: http://www.researchcatalogue.esrc.ac.uk/grants/ES.K000861.1/read. Accessed October 30, 2017.
Smith, Jennifer, & Holmes-Elliott, Sophie. (2017). The unstoppable glottal: Tracking rapid change in an iconic British variable. English Language and Linguistics 21:133.
Sproat, Richard, & Fujimura, Osamu. (1993). Allophonic variation in English /l/ and its implications for phonetic implementation. Journal of Phonetics 21:291311.
Stuart-Smith, Jane, Macdonald, Rachel, José, Brian, & Sóskuthy, Marton. (2015). A dynamic acoustic view of real-time change in word-final liquids in spontaneous Glaswegian. In The Scottish Consortium for ICPhS 2015 (ed.), Proceedings of the 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Glasgow, UK: University of Glasgow. 1028.15.
Strycharczuk, Patrycja, & Scobbie, James. (2017). Whence the fuzziness? Morphological effects in interacting sound changes in Southern British English. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology 8(1):121.
Sweet, Henry. (1908). The sounds of spoken English. Oxford: Clarendon.
Tollfree, Laura. (1999). South East London English: Discrete versus continuous modelling of consonantal reduction. In Foulkes, P. & Docherty, G. (eds.), Urban voices: Accent studies in the British Isles. London: Arnold. 163184.
Torgersen, Eivind, Kerswill, Paul, & Fox, Sue. (2006). Ethnicity as a source of changes in the London vowel system. In Hinskens, F. L. (ed.), Language variation—European perspectives. Selected Papers from the Third International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE3). Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 249263.
Turton, Danielle. (2014). Variation in English /l/: Synchronic reflections of the life cycle of phonological processes. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Manchester.
Turton, Danielle (2017). Categorical or gradient? An ultrasound investigation of /l/-darkening and vocalization in varieties of English. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology 8(1):131.
Van Hofwegen, Janneke. (2011). Evolution of /l/ in one African American community. Language Variation and Change 22:373396.
Watt, Dominic, & Fabricius, Anne. (2002). Evaluation of a technique for improving the mapping of multiple speakers' vowel spaces in the F1 ~ F2 plane. Leeds Working Papers in Linguistics and Phonetics 9:159173.
Wells, John C. (1982). Accents of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wright, James (1986). The behavior of nasalized vowels in the perceptual vowel space. In Ohala, J. J. & Jaeger, J. J. (eds.), Experimental phonology. Orlando: Academic. 4567.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed