'Fax it up.' - 'Yes, it does rather.' The relationship between TRAP, STRUT, and START in Aberystwyth English

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This paper focuses on the relationship between the TRAP, STRUT, and START phonemes in English spoken in Aberystwyth, mid Wales. It concludes that, in general, whilst the three phonemes do not show a complete merger, they do overlap to a great extent regarding a number of acoustic properties considered. It is predominantly F1 (for TRAP and STRUT) and vowel duration (for TRAP and START, and STRUT and START) that serve as correlates of the contrasts rather than F2 and the breathiness of the vowel. However, TRAP and STRUT do show a high degree of overlap in F1.
Unimodality tests reveal that TRAP and STRUT are associated with two independent modes regarding the distribution of F1 only in one of the ten speakers analysed. This does not apply to F2, vowel duration, and breathiness, where separate modes do not emerge in the statistical analyses for any speakers. On the other hand, a random forest analysis suggests that F1 is the most important correlate of the TRAP-STRUT contrast on the whole.
Regaring the START-TRAP and START-STRUT contrasts, unimodality tests show that START is associated with an independent mode concerning vowel duration for three of the ten speakers. A random forest analysis corroborates that vowel duration is generally the most important correlate of these two contrasts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of FONETIK 2018 : The XXXth Swedish Phonetics Conference, Gothenburg, June 7-8
Number of pages6
PublisherUniversity of Gothenburg
Publication year2018
Pages27-32
StatePublished - 2018

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