Variation in Norm
2 The conservative American vowel system
Figure I displays the vocalic inventory of the first of the four systems to be estab lished for English.2 For convenience, key words have been added illustrating sig nificant distributional properties of the vowels. i u ɪ ʊ e o ə ɛ ↖ɔɪ ɔ æ ↖aɪ aʊ↗ ɑ i sea, peat u blue, boost ɪ sit; peer, beard, fierce, mirror, nearer ʊ put, soot, pull; sure, cure, fury, boorish e bay, bait o low, coat (door, force, hoarse, court, story) ɛ bet; care, scarce, very, vary, merry, Mary ɔ law, dog, office; horse, orange (hoarse etc.) æ cat, bad, bath; arrow, carry, marry aɪ tie, tide; fire, tired, tyrant ɑ spa, palm, father, pot, bother; bar, start aʊ brow, doubt; sour, power, showery ə cup, sofa; fur, dirt, hurry, squirrel, expert ɔɪ boy, noise; coir Figure I: The vowels and true diphthongs of the conservative American system and illustration of their lexical incidence Before discussing the specific aspects and defining characteristics of the con servative accent a number of points relating to vowel height and its descriptive expression by means of feature analysis need to be clarified. The vowel system in Figure I is assumed to comprise five degrees of phonologically relevant vowel height, both in the front and the back dimension. The phoneme /æ/, which is pho netically realized as a nearopen front vowel, is in the diagram positioned at the 2 For vowel systems generally and for the four English standard varieties to be posited here, see Lass 1984b, Wells 1982, Giegerich 1992 (esp. chap. 2 and 3), Cruttenden 62001, Roach 2004,...
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