Territorial varieties of English pronunciation — страница 5

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a sound results in the coexistence of free variants in the realization of a phoneme. The choice between permissible variants of [w] or [М] in words is an illustration of what is meant by the process of variability and free variants. In Russian we observe free variants of the pronunciation of the words of энергия, темп type: non-palatalized and palatalized vertions of [H] – [H'] and [T] – [T']. The degrees of variability are different. The most perceptible and stable changes are described in the works of British linguists and have been investigated by Soviet phoneticians. The RP of recent years is characterized by a greater amount of permissible variants compared to the «classical» type of RP described by D. Jones, L. Armstrong, I. Word. The phenomenon is

significant both from the theoretical and practical viewpoint. The variability concerns mainly vowels. Most of English vowels have undergone definite qualitative changes. The newly appeared variants exhibit different stability and range. The qualitative distinctions manifest new allophonic realizations of the vowel phonemes. Ch. Barber comes to the conclusion that a definite trend towards centralization is observed in the quality of English vowels at present. (44) Changes of Vowel Quality 1. According to the stability of articulation. 1) It is generally acknowledged that two historically long vowels [i], [u:] have become diphthongized and are often called diphthongoids; the organs of speech slightly change their articulation by the very end of pronunciation, becoming more

fronted. Ch. Barber tries to draw a parallel with the Great Vowel Shift which took place in Middle English, where diphthongization was just one part of a complete change of pattern in the long vowels. He claims that there is some resemblance to this process today and other phonemes may move up to fill the places left vacant. 2) There is a tendency for some of the existing diphthongs to be smoothed out, to become shorter, so that they are more like pure vowels. a) This is very often the case with [ei], particularly in the word final position, where the glide is very slight: [ta'dei], [sei], [mei]. b) Diphthongs [ai], [au] are subject to a smoothing process where they are followed by the neutral sound [ə]: Conservative RP: [tauə], [faiə] General RP: [taə], [faə] Advanced RP:

[tα:], [fα:] c) Also diphthongs [oə], [uə] tend to be leveled to [o:]. Thus the pronunciation of the words pore, poor is varied like this: older speakers: [poə], [puə] middle-aged speakers: [po:], [puə] younger speakers: [po:], [po:] It should be mentioned, however, that this tendency does not concern the diphthong [iə] when it is final. The prominence and length shift to the glide, this final quality often being near to []; dear [diə] – [di]. 2. According to the horizontal and vertical movements of the tongue. Very striking changes occur in the vowel quality affected by the horizontal movements of the tongue. In fact the general tendency is marked by the centering of both front and back vowels: a) the nuclei of [ai], [au] tend to be more back, especially in the

male variant of the pronunciation; b) the vowel phoneme is often replaced by [a] by younger speakers: [hv] – [hav], [nd] – [and]; c) the nucleus of the diphthong [] varies considerably, ranging from [o] among conservative speakers to [] among advanced ones: Conservative RP: [so], [fon], [not]; Advanced RP: [s], [fn], [nt]. This tendency is so stronp that the transcription symbol has been recently changed in many British books: [o] – []. d) Back-advanced vowels [], [] are considerably fronted in the advanced RP: but [bt] – [bət], good [gd] – [gəd]. It should be mentioned here that there is a tendency for all short vowels to be made nearer the centre of the mouth, that is to move towards [ə], especially in unstressed

position: honest [αnist] – [αnəst]. Thus the horizontal changes in vowel quality may be listed like this: Centering of short vowels: More back pronunciation of the nuclei of diphthongs: [ai] –» [ai], – [a] – [a] More advanced pronunciation of the diphthong: [o] – []. More fronted pronunciation of the diphthongoids: [i] – [i(j)], [u] – [u(w)]. Vertical changes in vowels may be traced in [e] and [o:] which tend to be closer in advanced RP. It has also been stated above that the nuclei of diphthongs [ei], [ea], [oa], [ua] become more open when these phonemes are being leveled, particularly the diphthong [ea] which is characterized by a great opening of the first element: careful [kəfl] – ['k:fl]. The first element of the diphthong