15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

Perception of Diphthongized Vowels in Rhode Island English

Harriet S. Magen

Haskins Laboratories, USA

Dialects of American English vary in extent of diphthongization. The Rhode Island dialect includes the usual mid-height /eɪ/and /oʊ/ and also diphthongizes /ɪ/ and /ɔ/. To examine whether one portion of the diphthong is perceptually dominant, we compared production and perception of 10 RI speakers on vowel pairs (/ɪ/ /eɪ/) and (/oʊ/ /ɔ/). Vowel formants were measured at three points and interpolated, yielding two pairs of trajectories roughly parallel in F1. In a perceptual study, listeners identified the best exemplar from a range of steady-state synthetic vowels. Perceptions varied: closer to the onset for /eɪ/, to the midpoint for /oʊ/ and /ɪ/; and to the glide for /ɔ/. Results indicate that for diphthongized vowels the perceptually dominant portion of the diphthong is variable. The heavier weighting of the offglide for /ɔ/ places it in a part of the vowel space more typical of other dialects.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Magen, Harriet S. (2003): "Perception of diphthongized vowels in Rhode Island English", In ICPhS-15, 1453-1456.