for standardized phonetics of Estuary English
J.C. Wells, University College London
From a talk given in Heidelberg, November 1994
Transcribe EE as RP, including
- /i/ for the final/prevocalic vowel in weak syllables, previously written /I/ in RP, thus /"hæpi/ happy, /"ve@ri@s/ various;
- /u/ for the final/prevocalic vowel in weak syllables, previously written /U/ in RP, thus /"TæNkju/ thank you, /%grædZu"eIS@n/ graduation;
but with the following changes:
- EE /AI/ for RP /aI/, thus /prAIs/ price;
- EE /æU/ for RP /aU/, thus /mæUT/ mouth (cf. Cockney [mæ:f]);
- EE /o/ for final/preconsonantal /l/, thus /mIok/ milk, /"mIdo/ middle;
- EE /?/ for /t/ when syllable-final and preceded by a sonorant:
- within a word, when followed by a consonant other than /r/, thus /"fU?bO:o/ football, /"dZen?li/ gently;
- word-finally, optionally at the end of a stressed syllable, categorically at the end of an unstressed syllable: thus /beot/ or /beo?/ belt, /"tIkI? %QfIs/ ticket office, /If I? "Iz/ if it is;
- EE /tS, dZ/ for RP /tj, dj/, thus /"tSu:zdeI/ Tuesday, /rI"dZu:s/ reduce.
In regard to the lexical incidence of phonemes,
- the participle/gerund ending -ing fluctuates stylistically between /In/ and /IN/, thus /"rVnIn/ or /"rVnIN/ running;
- the suffix -thing is usually /TINk/ rather than /TIN/, thus /"eniTINk/ anything;
- EE usually has /n/ for RP /nt/ in the items /"tweni/ twenty and /"pleni/ plenty, and for want and went when prevocalic, thus /"wQnId/ wanted, /wen "æU?/ went out - but note that there is no American-style nt-reduction in other items, e.g. winter remains /"wInt@/;
- EE prefers /@n/ in various environments where RP would prefer syllabic /n/, thus /"steIS@n/ station.
Posted 1998 11 18. John Wells.
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