/ʌ/ and /ɑː/ with the same quality (F1/F2) in London accent

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Nino83

Senior Member
Italian
Hello everyone.

I'm reading on some paper of Cheshire about what is called "London Multicultural Accent", which is replacing the old Cockney accent in London.
In this paper, Jenny Cheshire, Sue Fox, Paul Kerswill & Eivind Torgersen say that in this accent /ʌ/ and /ɑː/ have the same quality and are distinguished only by length (see the figure 2 at page 8).

The /æ/ of the old Cockney is now lower and backer, [ɛ] > [a ̴ ä]. The same for the /ʌ/, [ä ̴ ɐ̞] > [ɑ̝].
At the same time, the diphthongs are more like RP ([eɪ äɪ ɔɪ äʊ oʊ] instead of [æɪ ɒɪ oɪ æː oʊ] for "day, price, boy, mouth, boat").

Do you all agree with this (and other) papers, i.e do you hear a merger in quality between /ʌ/ and /ɑː/ in the speech of younger people in London?

And how much is this accent spread in Southern England?
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    This particular merger happened quite a while ago. Traditional RP, as first described a century ago, had a back [ɑ:], but it has moved forward to [ä], which is what I have. The traditional back-ish [ʌ] also moved forward. For many middle-class speakers they are now the same except for length. However, in Cockney today the [ɑ:] can be very back indeed, partly rounded, so it's quite different from the Cockney front-ish /ʌ/. The new London accent you are reading about may be merging them again. It's certainly a radically different accent in other respects.
     

    Nino83

    Senior Member
    Italian
    Thank you, entangledbank.

    So we can say that both in Southeastern British English and in Australian and New Zealand English, these vowels are merged in quality.
    And what about Midlands and Northern England (where the /ʌ/ is not "native")?
    It seems that they use the [ɜ] or (alternatively) the [ə] sound for the /ʌ/, is it right?


     
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