14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Vowel Duration In Scottish English Speaking Children

Nigel Hewlett, Ben Matthews, James M. Scobbie

Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh, UK

In most English accents vowel length is approximately 50% greater before a voiced consonant than before its voiceless cognate (the ‘Voicing Effect’). In Scottish English it is conditioned by the ‘Scottish Vowel Length Rule’. The lengthening environments of this rule overlap with those of the Voicing Effect. The phonetic details of the Scottish Vowel Length Rule and its relationship with the Voicing Effect are uncertain. Its influence on the speech of younger speakers is also not known. In this study, tokens of /i/ and /ʉ/ were measured in minimal pairs produced by seven Scottish English speaking children aged 6-9 years. Some pairs tested for a Voicing Effect, others for a Scottish Vowel Length effect. Results suggested a robust Scottish Vowel Length pattern for four of the subjects, with a minimal Voicing Effect. However, in children with two non-Scottish English speaking parents this pattern was either absent or less definite.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Hewlett, Nigel / Matthews, Ben / Scobbie, James M. (1999): "Vowel duration in Scottish English speaking children", In ICPhS-14, 2157-2160.