Multidimensional Acoustic Variation in Vowels Across English Dialects

Tanner, J., Sonderegger, M. and Stuart-Smith, J. (2022) Multidimensional Acoustic Variation in Vowels Across English Dialects. In: 19th SIGMORPHON Workshop on Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology, Seattle, 14 July 2022, pp. 72-82. (doi: 10.18653/v1/2022.sigmorphon-1.8)

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Abstract

Vowels are typically characterized in terms of their static position in formant space, though vowels have also been long-known to undergo dynamic formant change over their timecourse. Recent studies have demonstrated that this change is highly informative for distinguishing vowels within a system, as well as providing additional resolution in characterizing differences between dialects. It remains unclear, however, how both static and dynamic representations capture the main dimensions of vowel variation across a large number of dialects. This study examines the role of static, dynamic, and duration information for 5 vowels across 21 British and North American English dialects, and observes that vowels exhibit highly structured variation across dialects, with dialects displaying similar patterns within a given vowel, broadly corresponding to a spectrum between traditional ‘monophthong’ and ‘diphthong’ characterizations. These findings highlight the importance of dynamic and duration information in capturing how vowels can systematically vary across a large number of dialects, and provide the first large-scale description of formant dynamics across many dialects of a single language.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Stuart-Smith, Professor Jane and Sonderegger, Professor Morgan and Tanner, Mr James
Authors: Tanner, J., Sonderegger, M., 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

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
300161SPeech 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