Lenition and fortition of /r/ in utterance-final position, an ultrasound tongue imaging study of lingual gesture timing in spontaneous speech

Lawson, E. and Stuart-Smith, J. (2021) Lenition and fortition of /r/ in utterance-final position, an ultrasound tongue imaging study of lingual gesture timing in spontaneous speech. Journal of Phonetics, 86, 101053. (doi: 10.1016/j.wocn.2021.101053)

[img] Text
237460.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.



The most fundamental division in English dialects is the rhotic/non-rhotic division. The mechanisms of historical /r/-loss sound change are not well understood, but studying a contemporary /r/-loss sound change in a rhotic variety of English can provide new insights. We know that /r/ weakening in contemporary Scottish English is a gesture-timing based phenomenon and that it is socially indexical, but we have no phonetic explanation for the predominance of weak /r/ variants in utterance-final position. Using a socially-stratified conversational ultrasound tongue imaging speech corpus, this study investigates the effects of boundary context, along with other linguistic and social factors such as syllable stress, following-consonant place and social class, on lingual gesture timing in /r/ and strength of rhoticity. Mixed-effects modelling identified that utterance-final context conditions greater anterior lingual gesture delay in /r/ and weaker-sounding /r/s, but only in working-class speech. Middle-class speech shows no anterior lingual gesture delay for /r/ in utterance-final position and /r/ is audibly strengthened in this position. It is unclear whether this divergence is due to variation in underlying tongue shape for /r/ in these social-class communities, or whether utterance-final position provides a key location for the performance of social class using salient variants of /r/.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stuart-Smith, Professor Jane and Lawson, Dr Eleanor
Creator Roles:
Lawson, E.Conceptualization, Methodology, Formal analysis, Writing – original draft
Stuart-Smith, J.Formal analysis, Writing – review and editing
Authors: Lawson, E., and Stuart-Smith, J.
Subjects:P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Language and Linguistics
Journal Name:Journal of Phonetics
Journal Abbr.:JPhon
ISSN (Online):1095-8576
Published Online:15 April 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Elsevier
First Published:First published in Journal of Phonetics 86:101053
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record

Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
173403Changes in shape, space and time: the impact of position on the spatiotemporal and configurational articulatory properties of liquid consonants.Jane Stuart-SmithEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)ID.1016_6305RA53Arts - English Language and Linguistics
166170Seeing the Links in the Speaker-Hearer Chain: An investigation of the transmission of articulatory variation using Ultrasound Tongue ImagingJane Stuart-SmithEconomic and Social Research Council (ESRC)SLSRP01 1302RA50Arts - English Language and Linguistics