The Diphthong System in English : Merger, Split, and Substitution

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Roh, KeunYoung
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Seoul National University Department of English Language and Literature
SNU Working Papers in English Language and Linguistics 7, 1-22
dipthong systemEnglish dialectsvariationmergersplitsubstitutionOptimality Theory
This paper attempts to investigate the diphthong phoneme systems of English dialects spoken in the British Isles. The study of diphthong systems can contribute to the delimitation of the phoneme system across English dialects. However, no previous studies have been done on the diphthong systmes of English while there are studies on the monophthong phonemes in English (Lee 1997, Roh 2001, Roh 2006). On the basis of the data in Wells (1982), English dialects were collected and compared in the papaer. It is found that eight kinds of systems appear across dialects, and this variation in systmes results from three phenomena: the PROCE-CHOICE merger, the PRICE split, and the substitution for the phonemes of Received Pronunciation (RP). Also, this paper gives a detailed analysis of the system, including the phoneme number, the target phonemes of the three phenomena, and new phonemes other than those attested in RP. Finally, an analysis of systesm in terms of Optimality Theory is offered.
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College of Humanities (인문대학)English Language and Literature (영어영문학과)SNU working papers in English language and linguisticsSNU working papers in English language and linguistics Vol.07 (2008)
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