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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:06 pm 
Sumerul
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Conventionally, the NURSE vowel in RP is transcribed using [ɜ]. At the same time, the backed DRESS vowel found in my own dialect is probably best transcribed with [ɜ]. However, the two sound absolutely nothing alike, and to my ears the RP NURSE vowel sounds much more like [œ] while my DRESS vowel sounds essentially just like a centralized [ɛ]. And indeed, I have seen [œ] used to transcribe the NURSE vowel in some transcriptions of some English dialects (e.g. Australian ones and some non-standard English English ones). So if the RP NURSE vowel is actually [ɜ] and not [œ], what is going on with it that makes it sound so different from my own [ɜ]?

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Last edited by Travis B. on Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:28 pm 
Smeric
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May be relevant:
English English and RP are often confused for one another, as a RP is to English English what General American is for American English. Many people talk in something between a local dialect and a standard dialect.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:32 pm 
Sumerul
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mèþru wrote:
May be relevant:
English English and RP are often confused for one another, as a RP is to English English what General American is for American English. Many people talk in something between a local dialect and a standard dialect.

As if I were not aware of this. (As English English varieties go, I can tell apart RP from both dialectal southeastern English English varieties (e.g. Estuary) and northern English English varieties.)

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:37 pm 
Avisaru
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Travis B. wrote:
Conventionally, the NURSE vowel in RP is transcribed using [ɜ]. At the same time, the backed DRESS vowel found in my own dialect is probably best transcribed with [ɜ]. However, the two sound absolutely nothing alike, and to my ears the RP NURSE vowel sounds much more like [œ] while my DRESS vowel sounds essentially just like a centralized [ɛ]. And indeed, I have seen [œ] used to transcribe the NURSE vowel in some transcriptions of some English dialects (e.g. Australian ones and some dialectal English English ones). So if the RP DRESS vowel is actually [ɜ] and not [œ], what is going on with it that makes it sound so different from my own [ɜ]?
I think a lot of RP is still "BBC circa 1935", which is what it sounds like when I try and say it. RP is used, seemingly at random, to either refer to old timey TV and radio accents and Southern Standard British.

I was trying to find an example on YouTube, but instead I found a trailer for Carry On Nurse which is, from my memory, dreadful.

I also found this video of an old timey TV presenter talking about a nurse in the 1940s. That's definitely RP as-was. I'm torn as to whether it's an [ɜ] or an [œ].

I also found this video about dress in the 1940s. It doesn't really prove anything, but it's moderately interesting and has the DRESS vowel of the era in a lot.

I am aware this proves nothing and is moderately unhelpful, but I had a lovely time on YouTube and that's all that matters.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:38 pm 
Sumerul
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Gulliver wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
Conventionally, the NURSE vowel in RP is transcribed using [ɜ]. At the same time, the backed DRESS vowel found in my own dialect is probably best transcribed with [ɜ]. However, the two sound absolutely nothing alike, and to my ears the RP NURSE vowel sounds much more like [œ] while my DRESS vowel sounds essentially just like a centralized [ɛ]. And indeed, I have seen [œ] used to transcribe the NURSE vowel in some transcriptions of some English dialects (e.g. Australian ones and some dialectal English English ones). So if the RP DRESS vowel is actually [ɜ] and not [œ], what is going on with it that makes it sound so different from my own [ɜ]?
I think a lot of RP is still "BBC circa 1935", which is what it sounds like when I try and say it. RP is used, seemingly at random, to either refer to old timey TV and radio accents and Southern Standard British.

I was trying to find an example on YouTube, but instead I found a trailer for Carry On Nurse which is, from my memory, dreadful.

I also found this video of an old timey TV presenter talking about a nurse in the 1940s. That's definitely RP as-was. I'm torn as to whether it's an [ɜ] or an [œ].

I also found this video about dress in the 1940s. It doesn't really prove anything, but it's moderately interesting and has the DRESS vowel of the era in a lot.

I am aware this proves nothing and is moderately unhelpful, but I had a lovely time on YouTube and that's all that matters.


The last place where I wrote "DRESS" I really meant "NURSE", and I corrected it to "NURSE" after you quoted it.

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:40 pm 
Avisaru
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Travis B. wrote:
The last place where I wrote "DRESS" I really meant "NURSE", and I corrected it to "NURSE" after you quoted it.

Regardless, I had fun.

(But I realised that and carried on, I think. I can't remember. I've just taken a load of pain meds so I'm surprised I'm even moderately coherent.)


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:59 pm 
Lebom
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Travis B. wrote:
Conventionally, the NURSE vowel in RP is transcribed using [ɜ]. At the same time, the backed DRESS vowel found in my own dialect is probably best transcribed with [ɜ]. However, the two sound absolutely nothing alike, and to my ears the RP NURSE vowel sounds much more like [œ] while my DRESS vowel sounds essentially just like a centralized [ɛ]. And indeed, I have seen [œ] used to transcribe the NURSE vowel in some transcriptions of some English dialects (e.g. Australian ones and some non-standard English English ones). So if the RP NURSE vowel is actually [ɜ] and not [œ], what is going on with it that makes it sound so different from my own [ɜ]?


Are you referring to the Northern Cities Vowel Shift? Perhaps you're DRESS pronunciation more closely approaches [ɐ] than [ɜ]. I might be wrong, but I thought that the DRESS vowel was backed and lowered in this shift, which would be closer to [ɐ], whereas [ɜ] is just backing.

And for what it's worth, a while back I did some experiments on vowel perception and a lot of American English speakers interpreted (German) front rounded vowels as (English) central vowels /ə~ʌ ɚ/ (in CA, a /ʌ/ is often fronted and more central than back). Mind you, this was a minor experiment done for a class with too few participants but it might shed some light on why RP NURSE sounds like a front rounded vowel.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 6:46 pm 
Sanno
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My NURSE sounds similar to /2/ or /9/, yes, but it's nothing like it in production and the similar sound is a coincidence. It's certainly not a rounded front vowel in SSBE. For one thing, SSBE hates rounding anything. Instead, /3/ is sulcalised - and /E/ isn't. /3/ is also usually further back than /E/, though it's fronted in some dialects (in scouse it merges with /E:/). Which brings up another difference: /3/ is long, and /E/ is short. And /3/ is typically lower than /E/ (which is really partway between /E/ and /e/).

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:20 pm 
Sumerul
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spanick wrote:
Travis B. wrote:
Conventionally, the NURSE vowel in RP is transcribed using [ɜ]. At the same time, the backed DRESS vowel found in my own dialect is probably best transcribed with [ɜ]. However, the two sound absolutely nothing alike, and to my ears the RP NURSE vowel sounds much more like [œ] while my DRESS vowel sounds essentially just like a centralized [ɛ]. And indeed, I have seen [œ] used to transcribe the NURSE vowel in some transcriptions of some English dialects (e.g. Australian ones and some non-standard English English ones). So if the RP NURSE vowel is actually [ɜ] and not [œ], what is going on with it that makes it sound so different from my own [ɜ]?


Are you referring to the Northern Cities Vowel Shift? Perhaps you're DRESS pronunciation more closely approaches [ɐ] than [ɜ]. I might be wrong, but I thought that the DRESS vowel was backed and lowered in this shift, which would be closer to [ɐ], whereas [ɜ] is just backing.

The NCVS is not homogeneous in reality; e.g. Standard German [ɐ] is lower than my DRESS vowel.

spanick wrote:
And for what it's worth, a while back I did some experiments on vowel perception and a lot of American English speakers interpreted (German) front rounded vowels as (English) central vowels /ə~ʌ ɚ/ (in CA, a /ʌ/ is often fronted and more central than back). Mind you, this was a minor experiment done for a class with too few participants but it might shed some light on why RP NURSE sounds like a front rounded vowel.

To me, German open-mid and close-mid rounded front vowels sound rhoticized more than anything. They certainly do not sound like unrhoticized unrounded central vowels to my ears. This is consistent with how many NAE speakers imitate German open-mid and close-mid rounded front vowels with rhoticized central vowels. (This does not extend to German near-close and close rounded front vowels, it should be noted, which I do not intuitively distinguish well from near-close and close rounded back vowels, and I gather that very many English-speakers are the same as me here.)

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Dibotahamdn duthma jallni agaynni ra hgitn lakrhmi.
Amuhawr jalla vowa vta hlakrhi hdm duthmi xaja.
Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro. Irdro.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 7:45 pm 
Lebom
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Travis B. wrote:
spanick wrote:
And for what it's worth, a while back I did some experiments on vowel perception and a lot of American English speakers interpreted (German) front rounded vowels as (English) central vowels /ə~ʌ ɚ/ (in CA, a /ʌ/ is often fronted and more central than back). Mind you, this was a minor experiment done for a class with too few participants but it might shed some light on why RP NURSE sounds like a front rounded vowel.

To me, German open-mid and close-mid rounded front vowels sound rhoticized more than anything. They certainly do not sound like unrhoticized unrounded central vowels to my ears. This is consistent with how many NAE speakers imitate German open-mid and close-mid rounded front vowels with rhoticized central vowels.


I agree, (hence why I included the rhoticized schwa) but I did have a number of people report them as center vowels.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 11:08 pm 
Avisaru
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I'm more familiar with French than German; to my ears, French /ə/ and /œ/ sound most like my (Californian) English phoneme /ʊ/. I don't know what phonetic value I actually use for that though, aside from it being quite centralized and not low. Judging from how my lips look in a mirror when I say "Luke, look, leek," my /ʊ/ is not as rounded as my /u/, but it doesn't seem to be as clearly unrounded as my /i/ either. My "nurse" is rhotacized, but /ʊ/ is probably the non-rhotic vowel that is closest to it in quality (I merge /(j)ʊr/ into /(j)ɜr/; e.g. "cured" and "endured" rhyme with "curd"), so "nurse" is reasonably similar to /œ/. I don't think either French /ə/, /œ/ or my English /ʊ/, /ɜr/ sound particularly close to my "cut" vowel, which is something like [ɐ] (central-ish and fairly low).


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 07, 2016 3:08 pm 
Sanci
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I pronounce NURSE as [ɞ˞ː]. To my ears [œ˞] sounds more American or Bristolian. I find that some younger women in my area (Welsh Borders) pronounce it, as well as the start of the diphthong in GOAT, more towards [œ].


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 8:49 am 
Avisaru
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Travis B. wrote:
So if the RP NURSE vowel is actually [ɜ] and not [œ], what is going on with it that makes it sound so different from my own [ɜ]?

IPA [ɜ] (open-mid) should not be confused with RP [ɜ], which is approximately IPA [ɘ] (close-mid).


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 2:47 pm 
Sanci
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In my (admittedly quite posh) south England English dialect, which is very close to RP, I say our NURSE vowel as [ɜ], but I would agree that a lot of people do say it as [œ̠], especially in cities in the south. The reverse occurred in Swedish, where city dialects (mainly Stockholmska), where [œ] is pronounced unrounded and centralised. So what you think of as the RP NURSE sound may just be the most common 'proper' London dialect.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 03, 2016 5:50 pm 
Avisaru
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I was thinking of the height, but on rechecking the sources I see that in height the RP vowel /ɜː/ is midway between IPA [ɛ], [œ] and [ɜ] on one hand and IPA [e], [ø] and [ɘ] on the other. The more typical 'standard' British vowel is at the height of IPA [e], though I now see that J.D, O'Connor gives that as the Cockney pronunciation.


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