Chapter published in:Language Variation – European Perspectives VIII: Selected papers from the Tenth International Conference on Language Variation in Europe (ICLaVE 10), Leeuwarden, June 2019
Edited by Hans Van de Velde, Nanna Haug Hilton and Remco Knooihuizen
[Studies in Language Variation 25] 2021
► pp. 54–77
Revisiting the vowel mergers of East Anglia
Correlations of moan, mown and goose
This study revisits the longstanding distinction between /u:/ (moan) and /ʌu/ (mown) in East Anglia, where the Long Mid Mergers that resulted in a single goat vowel did not take place. Words such as ‘road’ and ‘rowed’ are therefore not homophonous. Recently, however, this distinction has started to break down. Acoustic analysis of 24 speakers indicates change in apparent time, where a merger by approximation of moan and mown is taking place in Lowestoft (northern East Anglia) for working-class speakers. Findings further suggest that a previously reported ongoing merger between moan and goose, which occurred as a result of a chain shift, was not completed but may have had a hand in deferring the moan/mown merger in East Anglia over many years. goose fronting is also reported as a change in apparent time.
Keywords: language variation and change, vowel mergers, sociophonetics, British English, levelling, dialectology
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