School of Languages and Linguistics - Research Publications

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    New insights into /el/-/AE l/ merging in Australian English
    Schmidt, P ; Diskin-Holdaway, C ; Loakes, D (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-04-21)
    A merger exists in Australian English in which /el/ is realized as [æl] for a number of speakers, particularly in Victoria. There have also been some observations of /æl/ raising to [el], termed “transposition”. Although thought to be characteristic of older speakers, empirical evidence for transposition is scant. Here we report the discovery of substantive degrees of merging in thirteen older speakers, aged between 51 and 80, from Ocean Grove, Victoria. Auditory and acoustic methods showed bidirectional vowel movement, with speakers converging on both the /æ/ and /e/ phonemes. Increasing velarization of the lateral has been posited as a factor in the development of the merger in Victoria, and thus /l/ quality was also investigated, with null results in terms of direct factors. The lateral, however, was shown to be dark in both syllable onset and coda positions, with evidence for /l/ being clearer in this age group when compared with younger speakers. Lexical frequency and orthography were also investigated as factors, the latter showing a significant effect and suggesting a role for velarization as a contrast maintenance strategy.
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    Attitudes towards Indian English among young urban professionals in Hyderabad, India
    Maxwell, O ; Diskin-Holdaway, C ; Loakes, D (WILEY, 2021-04-01)
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    A sociophonetic analysis of vowels produced by female Irish migrants: Investigating second dialect contact in Melbourne
    Diskin, C ; Loakes, D ; Clothier, J ; Volchok, B ; Calhoun, S ; Escudero, P ; TABAIN, MARIJA ; Warren, P (Australian Speech Science and Technology Association, 2019-08)
    We present preliminary results of an acoustic analysis of monophthongal vowels produced by five female Irish migrants in Melbourne, with lengths of residence in Australia between 1.5 and 9.5 years. This sample is compared with five female Australian English (AusE) participants. Results show greater overall variability within the Irish group compared to the AusE group for the majority of vowels. Sociophonetic variability also emerged, for example with only two migrants producing an expected Irish English FOOT-STRUT merger. One ‘non-merger’ with the longest length of residence, and a social network comprised exclusively of Australians, also displayed initial signs of movement towards other AusE vowel targets, such as a fronted /ʉ:/. This research contributes to our understanding of the dynamics of dialect contact, indicating movement in the direction of AusE after approximately ten years of exposure.
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    The /el/-/æl/ merger in Australian English: Acoustic and articulatory insights
    Diskin, C ; Loakes, D ; Billington, R ; Stoakes, H ; Gonzalez, S ; Kirkham, S ; Calhoun, S ; Escudero, P ; Tabain, M ; Warren, P (Australasian Speech Science and Technology Association, 2019)
    This paper investigates a merger-in-progress of /e/-/æ/ in prelateral contexts for speakers of Australian English in Victoria. Twelve participants (7F, 5M) were recorded producing a wordlist resulting in acoustic and concurrent articulatory data via stabilised mid-sagittal ultrasound tongue imaging. Focusing on a subset of the data comprising short front vowels /ɪ, e, æ/ in /hVt/ and /hVl/ contexts, findings show that there are robust acoustic differences between /e/ and /æ/ preceding /t/, as anticipated. However, individual differences emerge for /e/ and /æ/ preceding /l/, with highly gradient production patterns across the speakers, ranging from speakers who exhibit merger behaviour to those who maintain categorical distinctions. The evidence for merging behaviour across speakers is similar, but does not map directly, across both the acoustic and articulatory data, and illustrates the value of incorporating a range of data types in investigating a merger-in-progress.
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    Varietal differences in categorisation of /ɪ e æ/: A case study of Irish and Australian English listeners in Melbourne
    Diskin, C ; Loakes, D ; Clothier, J ; Epps, J ; Wolfe, J ; Smith, J ; Jones, C (ASSTA, 2018)
    This paper presents results of a vowel categorisation task of front lax vowels in /hVt/, /hVl/ and /mVl/ contexts, by 12 native Australian English speakers and 10 Irish migrants residing in Melbourne. Results show significant differences in how listeners categorise these vowels, in five out of six phonetic contexts. Vowels suggested to be undergoing merger in Victoria, specifically /el-æl/, are not perceived as merged, indicating this phenomenon may be stratified and/or more age-graded than previously reported. Results show clear differences between listeners sharing an L1 but speaking different dialects, even when these dialects are in direct contact due to migration.