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On the recent history of low vowels in English

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2020

RAYMOND HICKEY
Affiliation:
Department of Anglophone Studies, University of Duisburg-Essen, Universitätstr. 2, 45141Essen, Germanyraymond.hickey@uni-due.de
Corresponding
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Abstract

The development of low vowels in the history of English is one which shows continuous movement, usually upwards along earlier back and later front trajectories. In addition, low vowels have been subject to lengthening processes which have compensated for the loss of earlier instances of long low vowels. Shifts along a horizontal axis, from low front to low back, can also be discerned throughout the history of English. The present study begins by examining the situation in late eighteenth-century English, using the Eighteenth-Century English Phonology Database and the works of various prescriptivist writers, to determine the outset for later developments in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It also scrutinises realisations of low vowels in these varieties in order to offer a possible chronology for the overall development of low vowels in the past two centuries.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press

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