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zompist bboard • View topic - [ɜ] and [œ] in English for NURSE vowels

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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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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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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 2:38 pm 
Sumerul
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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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PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2016 5:59 pm 
Lebom
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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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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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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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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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