The vowel does not fit the vowel chart, because it cannot be described in terms of the features high-low, front-back or rounded/unrounded. It involves another feature called rhotacization.
Rhotacized vowels are often called retroflex vowels.
In saying the vowel is rhotacized, we are describing the auditory quality of the vowel – we say what it sounds like.
Most speakers have the tip of the tongue raised, as in a retroflex consonant, but others keep the tip down and produce a high bunched tongue position. Both gestures produce a very similar auditory effect.
Accents that permit [r] after a vowel are called rhotic accents.
Rhotic accents occur in:
most of the North America. (except for some areas in New England and parts of the South in the US)
Standard BBC English is not rhotic and has a diphthong ending in shwa, „here, there”
...are sounds which consist of a movement or glide from one vowel to another
A vowel which remains constant and does not glide is called a pure vowel
Classification of diphthongs
- movement of the tongue
There are 8 diphthongs in English. It’s the easiest to remember them is in terms of three groups:
CENTRING DIPHTHONGS –
glide from more peripheral vowels towards the shwa /∂/
glide from /∂/ towards a closer vowel e.g. /I/
CLOSING DIPHTHONGS – gliding from /∂/ towards /υ – as in „good”/
Classification of diphthongs
– prominence of the vowel
In the 8 diphthongs above the mostprominent part is the first vowel. The second vowel is very brief and transitory; sometimes it’s even difficult to determine its exact quality, e.g. /eI/ - a glide towards /I/
[ju] as in „cue – the most prominent vowel is the second one – many books in phonetics don’t consider it as a diphthong, but as a sequence of /j+u/
„pew, beauty, cue, spew, skew, also (BrE): tune, dune, Sue, Zeus, new, lieu, stew” – a lot of consonant clusters occur only before /u/; there is no /pje, kje/ etc. (Ladefoged 77)
- a glide from one vowel to another and to the third
- five closing diphthongs + shwa
Sounds belonging to one word can cause changes to sounds belonging to another word
Assuming we know how a phoneme is produced in isolation, when we find the phoneme realized differently as a result of being near some other phoneme belonging to a neighboring word, we call this an instance of assimilation.
Assimilation varies in extent according to speaking rate and style; it’s more likely to occur in rapid, casual speech than in slow, careful speech. Sometimes the difference is barely noticable, sometimes it’s big.
the change is usually for the „easier” consonant – one which makes less obstruction to the air flow
Assimilation of manner
A plosive, a fricative or nasal
„thatside” / ðæssaId/
?regressive or progressive?
A word-initial /ð/ follows a plosive or nasal at the end of the preceding word, it becomes identical in manner to the Cf, but with dental place of articulation
? regressive or progressive?
Assimilation of voice
Only regressive assimilation is found across word boundaries
If Cf is lenis („voiced”) and Ci is fortis („voiceless”), the lenis consonant has no voicing, e.g. „please stop” /z? s/ (It is not very noticable, as initial or final voiced consonants have little or no voicing anyway. )
When Cf is fortis (voiceless) and Ci lenis (voiced) assimilation of voice NEVER takes place, e.g. „that black dog” (/k/ doesn’t change to /g/)
Across-morpheme and within-morpheme assimilation
Across morpheme: progressive assimilation of voice for –s suffixes
„cats” /kæts/; „dogs” /dogz/
Within the morpheme: a place of articulation of a nasal is determined by the place of articulation of the following consonant, e.g. „ bump, tenth, bank, hunt” /bΛmp, tenӨ, bæŋk, hΛnt/ - it’s become a fixed phonological rule
... under certain circumstances sounds disappear; a phoneme may „be realized as zero”, or „have zero realization”, or be deleted.