more vowel weirdness

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Nov 6 06:09:27 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
Exactly.  You've put your finger on what I found unsatisfactory in
the previous invocations of RP, which Ainsley's vowel didn't strike
me as being at all reminiscent of.  Her vowel is indeed fronted,
although I'm still not sure whether it's a symptom of southernness,
private school pretentiousness, both, or neither.    RP I'm pretty
sure it's not.


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