English diphthongs /eɪ/, /aɪ/, /ɔɪ/ and diphthongization of /i:/

Discussion in 'Etymology, History of languages and Linguistics (EHL)' started by merquiades, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Moderator note: Side discussion split from here.

    By the way, Australia is recognizable. There is a sort of vowel shift occurring there too: Spain pronounced as spine, buy pronounced as boy, free as fray.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  2. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    More accurately, I would say, "Spain" pronounced in such a way that Americans (and others) perceive it as being somewhat (not exactly) like our "spine"; the "buy" diphthong being "off" in the direction of our "boy" (but certainly not the same as our "boy").

    Also, saying that "'Spain' is pronounced as 'spine'" (etc) could be interpreted as meaning that Australians pronounce "Spain" and "spine" alike. (Compare saying, "In Los Angeles, "marry" is pronounced as "Mary", which does in fact mean that residents pronounce these words identically.) The "Spain" and "spine" word classes have certainly not merged in Australia (as I realize you know, but I think it's worth saying for the record).

    Yes, Australian English is recognizable, but some of these characteristic Australian diphthongs seem similar to Americans (and maybe others) to some varieties of London speech.
     
  3. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    Agreed that /baɪ/ hasn't quite made it to /bɔɪ/ yet, but unless my ear is totally off /speɪn/ does sound like it has become /spaɪn/ at least in the speech of the prime minister. See her interview in the Guardian on 22 October 2012 (Julia Gillard poll bounce following misogyny speech): minute 1:24 table, 2:01 every day, 2:03 every way. That does not mean "Spain" and "spine" are pronounced alike in their accent. I said there is a vowel shift not a merger.
     
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2012
  4. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    I think that if I hear Spain pronounced close to spine, I would perceive it as an heavy Australian accent, and so I will recognize it as Australian.
    I was talking about Australians with a lighter accent, like the actor of Thor.

    <...>
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  5. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    He's trying to sound American. Nicole Kidman does it too in her films. Many Australian actors do not have their accent in films. I've heard Kate Blanchett put on any number of accents, British or American. Maybe it's required for their roles....
     
  6. Dan2

    Dan2 Senior Member

    US
    US English
    To see the main point I was making, delete, for the moment, my "somewhat (not exactly)". I was objecting to your saying that Australians pronounce "Spain" as "spine". As whose "spine"? If you told the PM that she pronounced "Spain" as "spine" she'd tell you that her "spine" is completely different. Many Londoners would also object that the way she says "Spain" doesn't sound like "spine" (their "spine"). We have a world-wide audience here. If you want to say that the PM's "Spain" sounds like [spaIn] (as you do in your later post), that's fine, since what appears in brackets is assumed to be an absolute representation in terms of IPA. As an alternative to using IPA, I wrote above "our "spine"" (the "spine" of you and me as Americans).

    (In fact, even "American spine" is not unambiguous. Compare New York, Chicago, and Alabama...)

    Returning to the question of how close the Australian "day" vowel comes to typical American pronunciations of the "die" vowel: This isn't the first time that I've seen reference to the pronunciation of PM Gillard, and I admit that when I listen "categorically" (is it X or Y) to her speech, I hear many or most of her "day" vowels as my "die" vowel. I take that to mean simply that in these cases, her "day" is closer to my "image" of "die" than to my image of "day"; it doesn't mean it's the same, that "Spain is said as spine" (even my "spine").

    However, even for PM Gillard, I perceive many of her "day" vowels correctly. For ex., in this famous misogyny speech, there are several occurrences of "Australia" in which I perceive the stressed syllable as my "stray" rather than as having the "die" vowel.

    Every dialect has variability. (We tend not hear our own variability.) Based on the above sort of observations, I conclude that the Australian "day" vowel resides near the boundary of my (note my, tho I think many other non-Australians perceive it similarly) "day" and "die" vowels. As a result of natural variation (from utterance to utterance for a given speaker, and from speaker to speaker (PM Gillard seems to be "advanced" compared to the previous PM and to Australian broadcast news readers)), the Australian "day" vowel sometimes falls on one side of my boundary, sometimes on the other.

    Sorry to be so wordy, but I think more precision would often be useful in our EHL discussions.
     
  7. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    To my knowledge, the realization of the diphthongs /eɪ/ and /aɪ/ are approximately as in Cockney which is: /eɪ/>/ʌɪ/* and /aɪ/>/ɒɪ/.

    * The rain in Spain stays mainly in the plain.

    It should also be noted that the London /ʌ/ is more forward than is most other varieties of English an is very close to /a/, just a bit higher, about like the German short "a". This explains the "somewhat but not exactly".
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  8. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    According to Wikipedia:
    /iː/ → [əi~ɐi]:[40][41] [bəiʔ] "beet"
    /eɪ/ → [æɪ~aɪ]:[42] [bæɪʔ] "bait"
    /aɪ/ → [ɑɪ] or even [ɒɪ]

    Buy [bɒɪ] would sound pretty close to American boy. Innit?

    Then trascriptions can also differ.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  9. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    It is almost exactly the vowel of but in London accent which is a raised [a], i.e. [ɐ]. I suppose you could describe it as a sound in between [æ] and [a]. But since this is the realization of the London /ʌ/, I prefer the transcription /ʌɪ/.

    Listen how Freddy pronounces the word governor here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  10. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    I think you are transcribing phonemically, while Wikipedia phonetically.
    Maybe [ɐɪ] would be a more accurate phonetic transcription?
     
  11. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    In my view, yes.

    PS: Given the fact that it is a bit on the front side of [ɐ], I could relate to [ɐɪ]~[æɪ] as well.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  12. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast


    Yes, love it. It's the the classical comical scene from [My Fair Lady - The rain in Spain (wrong)]. This is probably the origin of the Australian pronunciation as with J.G. Nineteenth century migrations. I'm not sure if it was exaggerated here just for the comic effect of the film/musical.

    I just realized it's true the people in Southeast England pronounce their /ʌ/ closer to /ɐ/: It can sound close to /a/: /batter ap the ban/, /kap av ti:/. There is a similar vowel in Portuguese and I recognize it. I've also heard Brits, not just Cockney speakers, say /tu:-'dɐI), yet still it seems to me that (many, most) Australians go further and do say /ai/. See my other post.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2012
  13. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    No, that's indeed how real East End Cockney sounds.
     
  14. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    To my experience, some Australians, especially those from Sydney, speak natively with a more Americanized accent in daily life, and many of them don't even lower the /ei/ diphthong.
     
  15. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    I did a bit of research. It appears there are three accent types in Australia: posh, broad and something in the middle. You can find them everywhere but in some regions there is a tendency towards one or another. The posh one tries to approximate RP British speech a little bit, so they'd say something close to /Speɪn/. Then the broad accent (Julia Gillard is given as an example) is the strongest: /Spaɪn/ and other very typical Australian pronunciations. Finally, there's the one in the middle: /Spæɪn/. It depends on how much the vowels have shifted. I guess some people in the south of the US, not sure exactly which state(s), might say /Spæɪn/.
     
  16. aprendiendo argento

    aprendiendo argento Senior Member

    Premantura - Croatia
    Croatian (Chakavian)
    According to OED (Oxford Dictionary of English)

    some /sʌm, s(ə)m/
    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/some?q=some
    Sam /sam/
    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Sam+Browne
    /sɒm/ is a river in France (Somme)
    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/Somme?q=somme

    --
    flush /flʌʃ/
    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/flush?q=flush

    flash /flaʃ/
    http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/flash?q=flash


    In the contemporary RP (as well as in Cambridge and Oxford accents) /ʌ/ is indeed [ɐ], but it is never [a], since [a] is the value of old-RP /æ/ [æ] (which is now /æ/ [a]).

    It is a bit of paradox that in London [flaʃ] can mean both flush and flash, depending on the accent: flush in the low class accent and Cockney dialect and flash in the middle and upper class accents, and contemporary RP.

    [flaʃ] is how FLUSH is pronounced in Australia and in the Cockney dialect, but it's how FLASH is pronounced in contemporary RP.

    Newer dictionaries published by Oxford University Press use [a] for the old(er) [æ] (trap vowel), this is called Upton-revised IPA.


    flash / flesh confusion is possible between the modern RP / shifted Canadian/Californian ~ Kiwi / shifted Inland North (Chicago, Detroit)
    flash / flush confusion is possible between the modern RP / shifted Canadian/Californian ~ Cockney / Australian
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2012
  17. Youngfun

    Youngfun Senior Member

    Pekino, Ĉinujo
    Chinese/Italian - bilingual
    Hi, aprendiendo!
    That's interesting.
    As a non native speaker, I think that when I'm more careful to pronunciation, I would pronounce flash as /flæʃ/, and flush as something close to /flʌʃ/.
    But when I don't a attention in casual talking, I would pronounce flash as /flɛʃ/, and flush as /flaʃ/.
    So am I a mix between Kiwi / shifted North Inland and Cockney / Australian?
    P.S. Here we were talking about diphtongs, not simple vowels. ;)

    I think /Spein/ is possible too in "the one in the middle", and that American English has actually more influence on young people than British.
    But perhaps my Australian friends are not good example of "genuine" Australian since they are raised in Australia, but one has Chinese origin, and the other has Filipino origins.
    Maybe the RP-ish posh accent must be really old-fashioned in Australia, if even the Prime Minister speaks with the broad accent.

    Since this thread is also about the diphthongization of /i:/...
    I've listened to the pronunciation of the word exactly in the WR dictionary, and to me the UK pronunciation sounds very close to [ɪg'zakʔlej].
    I also feel that British /gz/ is less voiced than American.
     
  18. berndf Moderator

    Geneva
    German (Germany)
    I disagree. The London /ʌ/ still stays above the [ɐ]/[a] divide. Even if flash is realized with a central [a] as in Northern Accents, the distinguishably between flush and flash is not impaired.

     
  19. merquiades

    merquiades Senior Member

    France
    USA Northeast
    For those of you wanting to check out and compare Australian accents here's a good link
     
  20. aprendiendo argento

    aprendiendo argento Senior Member

    Premantura - Croatia
    Croatian (Chakavian)

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