In this chapter you will be introduced to the technique for conducting a broad transcription of AusE. This type of transcription provides a general representation of the phonemes in spoken language. By convention, the broad transcription also includes the characteristic features of connected speech such as elision, assimilation, use of intrusive/linking /ɹ/, and reduced vowels, among other features to be described below.
Broad transcription does not attempt to record allophonic variation that occurs in speech, nor does it attempt to describe the complexity of a speaker's idiolect, which instead requires detailed narrow transcription (to be discussed in Chapter 5). In contrast, broad transcription represents the broad classes of speech sounds – in other words, the phonemes used to differentiate words. Some contextual variation is transcribed but only if the context promotes the substitution of one phoneme for another. For instance, a word like uncool may be perceived to contain an /n/ or an /ŋ/ depending on how much the tongue dorsum gesture for /k/ in cool overlaps with the tongue tip gesture for the preceding nasal consonant in un. If the modification to a sound does not involve a substitution of this kind, the shades of variation are ignored in broad transcription as only symbols for phonemes can be used. For instance, in the word triumph the nasal /m/ is typically produced as a labiodental [ɱ] in anticipation of the following labiodental fricative /f/. It is not necessary to capture this detail in the broad transcription but it is required in the narrow transcription (see Section 5.2.6).
It is very important to be aware that coarticulation (the influence of speech sounds on each other) is fundamental to the speech-production process. The extent and degree of coarticulation is determined by many factors, including rate of articulation, prosodic context, requirements of the specific communicative context, the tolerance of the dialect to particular processes, and individual speaker preference. Stylistic factors, such as the speaker's judgement about the formality of the interaction or perception of the listener's ability to comprehend, also fundamentally affect the nature of the connected speech processes. In natural unguarded speech, the speaker embraces connected speech processes to produce an efficient and effective spoken output. Such speech-production strategies are essential for natural speech and should never be considered as laziness.