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A drawl is a perceived feature of some varieties of spoken English, and generally indicates longer vowel sounds and diphthongs. Varieties of English which are said to feature pronounced drawls include Southern American English, Broad Australian English, and Broad New Zealand English.

The Southern Drawl, or the diphthongization or triphthongization, of the traditional short front vowels as in the words pat, pet, and pit: these develop a glide up from their original starting position to [j] and, in some cases, back down to schwa.

/æ/ → [æj(ə)]
/ɛ/ → [ɛj(ə)]
/ɪ/ → [ɪj(ə)]

The "cavalry drawl" was a phenomenon of English-speaking officers of England, noted around 1840. Officers in smart[clarification needed] cavalry regiments would talk affecting a drawling delivery, and lisping.[clarification needed][1]


  • Nagle Stephen, Sanders Sara L. (eds.) (2003). English in the Southern United States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. (pp)19, 26.


  1. ^ Lawrence James (2 December 2010). Warrior Race: A History of the British at War. Little, Brown Book Group. p. 190. ISBN 978-0-7481-2535-7.
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