Large-scale Acoustic Analysis of Dialectal and Social Factors in English /s/-retraction

Stuart-Smith, J. , Sonderegger, M., Macdonald, R., Mielke, J., McAuliffe, M. and Thomas, E. (2019) Large-scale Acoustic Analysis of Dialectal and Social Factors in English /s/-retraction. In: International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2019), Melbourne, Australia, 5-9 Aug 2019, pp. 1273-1277. ISBN 9780646800691

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The retraction of /s/ in /str/, eg street, is a sound change found in certain English dialects. Previous work suggests that /s/-retraction arises from lower spectral frequency /s/ in /str/. The extent to which /s/-retraction differs across English dialects is unclear. This paper presents results from a large-scale, acoustic phonetic study of sibilants in 420 speakers, from 6 spontaneous speech corpora (9 dialects) of North American and Scottish English. Spectral Centre of Gravity was modelled from automatic measures of word-initial sibilants. Female speakers show higher frequency sibilants than males, but more so for /s/ than /S/; /s/ is also higher in American than Canadian/Scottish dialects; /S/ is surprisingly variable. /s/-retraction, modelled as retraction ratios, is generally greater for /str/ than /spr skr/, but varies by dialect; females show more retraction in /str/ than males. Dialectal and social factors clearly influence /s/-retraction in English clusters /sp st sk/, /spr skr/, and /str/.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Macdonald, Dr Rachel and Stuart-Smith, Professor Jane
Authors: Stuart-Smith, J., Sonderegger, M., Macdonald, R., Mielke, J., McAuliffe, M., and Thomas, E.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association Inc.
First Published:First published in Sasha Calhoun, Paola Escudero, Marija Tabain & Paul Warren (eds.) Proceedings of the 19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne, Australia 2019 pp. 1273-1277
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
3001610SPeech Across Dialects of English (SPADE): large-scale digital analysis of a spoken language across space and timeJane Stuart-SmithEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ES/R003963/1Arts - English Language and Linguistics