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Impressionistic Transcriptions of the Stressed Vowels

The stressed tokens of all non-rhotic vowels were listened to 3 times each and transcribed impressionistically. The distinct phonetic characterizations found are presented in Table [*].

Table: Impressionistic transcriptions of stressed vowels
/I/: [ , I, eI, I, Ii, i, e, I, I, Ii, I/_, eI, Ii, e, I, ]
/U/: [ I, , , U, UU, , ]
//: [ , eI, I, I, , U, , , , e, I, , I, I/_, , ]
//: [ U, , o, , U, , , , , , , IU, , I ]
/æ/: [ , , æ, , , , I, æI, I, , I, , I eI ]
//: [ , , ]
/iy/: [Ii, Ii, Ii, ii, Ii:, i,i,i,i:, i, iI, I, i, Ii, i:i, i/_l, i/_l, Ii, ii, i, Ii]
/ey/: [ ei, eI, eiI, i, I, I, I, i:, I ]
/uw/: [I, , I, I/y_, I, Ii, U, , I, U, U, I, IU ]
/ow/: [ U, U, , ou, U, U, o, o, oU, oU, U, U, eU:, oU, U, ou, u, U: ]
/ay/: [ , , aI, I, :, , a, a, æ, æ, I, a, æ, I, , a ]
/aw/: [ æU, æ, æ, æo, æ, æ, æ, æ, æo, eU, e, eo,
  e, eo, eio, o, æeo, o:, o, U, o, U, I ]
/y/: [ oUI ]
/w/: [ oU, ou, U, o:, oU, :, U, o, o, U:, ou, o ]

These transcriptions show a number of important phonetic facts about this Alabama dialect, some of which will be pointed out here, and some discussed in conjunction with the acoustic measurements discussed below. The nuclei of /uw, , ow/ (Wells' GOOSE, FOOT, GOAT sets) are very fronted, especially /uw/. /ay/ is variably monophthongized, unlike in Foley's data. The nucleus of /aw/ is fronted and raised to varying degrees, and its offglide is sometimes a back or even back-and-downward glide, as noticed elsewhere. // is often a mid-back diphthong with a high-back glide. The single token of /oy/ is consistent with an analysis of /oy/ as a two-syllable sequence beginning with //. The short vowels /, / and sometimes /, æ/ have inglides.

This is one of the main phonetic facts of this dialect: the ingliding of short vowels /, , , , æ, / in stressed monosyllables, documented for all six vowels separately by Foley. Ingliding among the front vowels alone is discussed in C.-J. Bailey (1969). The breaking and gliding of /æ/ to [æ, æI, æI] is discussed in Feagin (in press).

What is the correct formal phonological treatment of this ingliding pattern? One rather abstract analysis that might be proposed is an extension of the Reference American principle, ``Stressed rhymes branch'' (discussed above on page [*]). In this variety, the related principle is:

In monosyllables, stressed nuclei branch.

In order to satisfy this principle, short vowels in monosyllables must have an extra timing slot added to them, which may be filled in as the null vowel, or schwa, thereby deriving an inglide on short vowels in stressed monosyllables.

next up previous
Next: Instrumental Evidence for Sound Up: Alabama English Previous: The Shape of Vowel
Thomas Veatch 2005-01-25