Daniel Williams (Universität Potsdam): "What's in a vowel and does it matter?", 15 October 2015
When: 5pm, 15 October 2015
Where: Coombs Extension 1.13
Individuals working in the description of the sounds of the world's languages are likely to agree that trying to pin down the phonetic quality of vowels is generally more troublesome than for consonants, as the former are physically quite fluid while the latter are more abrupt. Part of the trouble might be to do with the conventional tools used for analysing vowels which force the individual to make judgements of vowel quality as something static rather than dynamic. Crucially, taking such a static approach to vowels may lead to important phonetic variation being misidentified or not even overlooked. In this talk, I outline some different approaches to the analysis of vowel sounds with examples from Dutch, British English and Australian English. I demonstrate that a dynamic approach is generally more appealing, especially for capturing phonetic variation, such as between speakers and dialects.