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