Days vs Daze: The variation of /e/ in (London) Derry English using Ultrasound Tongue Imaging
(2017) Days vs Daze: The variation of /e/ in (London) Derry English using Ultrasound Tongue Imaging.
This study was an analytical pilot study, carried out on 3 participants with a (London) Derry English accent which examined how the /e/ vowel performed depending on 3 key contexts, open, tautomorphemic closed and heteromorphemic closed syllables. The study was motivated by Harris' days vs daze quasi-phonemic contrast (1990). The /e/ vowel has been a topic of interest due to its variation in the Northern Irish English accents (Hughes et al., 2012, McCafferty, 1999 and Wells, 1982ab) The tongue's movement was analysed using ultrasound tongue imaging technology. The data collected was quantitatively analysed with the dependent variable being the position of the tongue whilst the independent variable was the /e/ vowel. The results confirmed the variability of the FACE vowel /e/, showing differences between the 3 participants and within the 3 key contexts of each participant. Participants 1 and 2 performed as predicted in the literature where the open and heteromorphemic closed syllables are produced as a monophthong [e] whilst the tautomorphemic closed syllable is produced as a diphthong [iə]. Participant 3 however produced a monophthong variant [e] in all 3 key contexts similar to other accents of English. The study highlighted the diphthongisation of the /e/ vowel when it was produced as a monophthong. The data collected also enabled the duration of the vowel within each of the 3 key contexts to be analysed which resulted in the open syllable production 'day' being the longest whilst the tautomorphemic closed syllable 'daze' was the shortest. The results raise questions such as are [iə] and [e] different vowels rather than variants of /e/ or is coarticulation having an influence on the production of the /e/ vowel in the (London) Derry English accent.