more vowel weirdness

Mark A. Mandel Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Mon Nov 6 18:12:31 UTC 2000

Dale Coye wrote:
>If this is the feature I think you mean, I've noticed it from private
>grads (Exeter, Andover, Lawrenceville, and others) as far back as the late
>70s.   A fronted first element-- almost as in RP. I always wondered how
>widespread it was.

dInIs aens at rd:
Careful of its widespreadedness. Its source at the yuppie places you
mention is almost certainly RP (although I'd be happy to hear of other
theories), but back-vowel fronting is rampant in the American South and,
with slightly different pohonetic details, "Valley Girl," the latter
spreading like wildfire to the East. All these similar shifts may be
bumping heads in some places.

As I've read RP described, and heard it, the first element of the diphthong
in "hope" is not a fronted [o] but its opposite, a backed [e] or
*unrounded* [o], with the IPA symbol called "ram's horns" or "baby gamma".

-- Mark

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