Lexical set

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A lexical set is a group of words that share a similar phonological feature.

Wells Standard Lexical Sets for UK and US English

The Standard Lexical Sets for English introduced by John C. Wells in Accents of English are in wide usage. Wells defined each lexical set on the basis of the pronunciation of words in two reference accents, which he calls RP and GenAm.[1]

Wells classifies words of the English language into 24 lexical sets on the basis of the pronunciation of the vowel of their stressed syllable in the two reference accents. Each lexical set is named after a representative keyword, as follows:[4]

Lexical sets, as defined in Wells (1982)
Keyword RP GenAm Example words
KIT i ɪ i ɪ ship, rip, dim, spirit
DRESS e e e ɛ step, ebb, hem, terror
TRAP a æ a æ bad, cab, ham, arrow
LOT o ɒ a ɑ stop, rob, swan
STRUT u ʌ u ʌ cub, rub, hum
FOOT u ʊ u ʊ full, look, could
BATH a ɑː a æ staff, clasp, dance
CLOTH o ɒ o ɔ cough, long, origin
NURSE e ɜː e ɜr hurt, term, work
FLEECE i i i seed, key, seize
FACE e e weight, rein, steak
PALM a ɑː a ɑ* calm, bra, father
THOUGHT o ɔː o ɔ* taut, hawk, broad
GOAT o əʊ o soap, soul, home
GOOSE u u u who, group, few
PRICE a a ripe, tribe, aisle, choir
CHOICE o ɔɪ o ɔɪ boy, void, coin
MOUTH a a pouch, noun, crowd, flower
NEAR i ɪə i ir beer, pier, fierce, serious
SQUARE e e ɛr care, air, wear, Mary
START a ɑː a ɑr far, sharp, farm, safari
NORTH o ɔː o ɔr war, storm, for, aural
FORCE o ɔː o or floor, coarse, ore, oral
CURE u ʊə u ʊr poor, tour, fury

* not followed by /r/

For example, the word rod is pronounced /rɒd/ in RP and /rɑd/ in GenAm. It therefore belongs in the LOT lexical set. Weary is pronounced /ˈwɪərɪ/ in RP and /ˈwɪri/ in GenAm, and thus belongs in the NEAR lexical set.

Some words of the English language do not belong to any lexical set. For example, the a in the stressed syllable of tomato is pronounced /ɑː/ in RP, and /eɪ/ in GenAm, a combination which is very unusual, and is not covered by any of the 24 lexical sets above.[5]

Choice of keywords

Wells explains his choice of keywords ("kit", "fleece", etc.) as follows:

"The keywords have been chosen in such a way that clarity is maximized: whatever accent of English they are spoken in, they can hardly be mistaken for other words. Although fleece is not the commonest of words, it cannot be mistaken for a word with some other vowel; whereas beat, say, if we had chosen it instead, would have been subject to the drawback that one man's pronunciation of beat may sound like another's pronunciation of bait or bit."[4]

Wherever possible, the keywords end in a voiceless alveolar or dental consonant.[4]

Unstressed vowels

Wells also describes three sets of words based on their word-final unstressed vowels. Although not included in the standard 24 lexical sets, these "have indexical and diagnostic value in distinguishing accents".[6]

Keyword Example words
happY coffee, taxi, silly
lettER beggar, martyr, visor
commA China, sofa

Uses

The Standard Lexical Sets of Wells are widely used to discuss the phonological and phonetic systems of different accents of English in a clear and concise manner. Although based solely on RP and GenAm, the Standard Lexical Sets have proven useful in describing many other accents of English. This is true because, in many dialects, the words in all or most of the sets are pronounced with similar or identical stressed vowels. Wells himself uses the Lexical Sets most prominently to give "tables of lexical incidence" for all the various accents he discusses in his work. For example, here is the table of lexical incidence he gives for Newfoundland English:[7]

KIT ɪ FLEECE NEAR ɛr
DRESS ɛ FACE ɛː, ɛɪ SQUARE ɛr
TRAP æ PALM æ, ɑː START ær
LOT ɒ THOUGHT ɑː NORTH ɔ̈r
STRUT ɔ̈ GOAT ʌʊ FORCE ɔ̈r
FOOT ʊ GOOSE CURE ɔ̈r
BATH æ PRICE əɪ happY [i]
CLOTH ɑː CHOICE əɪ lettER ər [ɚ]
NURSE ɜr MOUTH əu commA ə

The table indicates that, for example, Newfoundland English uses the /ɪ/ phoneme for words in the KIT lexical set, and that the NORTH, FORCE and CURE sets are all pronounced with the same vowel /ɔ̈r/. Note that some lexical sets, such as FACE, are given with more than one pronunciation: this indicates that not all words in the FACE lexical set are pronounced similarly (in this case because Newfoundland English has not fully undergone the pane–pain merger). /ɔ̈/ is a back vowel [ɔ]; Wells uses the symbol ⟨ɔ̈⟩ so that the reader does not confuse it with the THOUGHT vowel (which, in case of many other accents, he writes with ⟨ɔ⟩ or ⟨ɔː⟩).[8]

Wells also uses the Standard Lexical Sets to refer to "the vowel sound used for the standard lexical set in question in the accent under discussion":[9] Thus, for example, in describing the Newfoundland accent, Wells writes that "KIT and DRESS are reportedly often merged as [ɪ]",[10] meaning that the stressed syllables of words in the KIT lexical set and words in the DRESS lexical set are reportedly often pronounced identically with the vowel [ɪ].

Lexical sets may also be used to describe splits and mergers. For example, RP, along with most non-rhotic accents, pronounces words such as "father" and "farther" identically. This can be described more economically as the merger of the PALM and START lexical sets. Most North American accents make "father" rhyme with "bother". This can be described as the merger of the PALM and LOT lexical sets.

Origin

In a 2010 blog post, Wells wrote:

I sometimes think that a century from now my lexical sets will be the one thing I shall be remembered for. Yet I dreamt them up over a weekend, frustrated with the incoherent mess of symbols used in such contemporary publications as Weinreich's "Is a structural dialectology possible?".[11]

He also wrote that he claimed no copyright in the Standard Lexical Sets, and that everyone was "free to make whatever use of them they wish".[11]

Extensions for English

Some varieties of English make distinctions in stressed vowels that are not captured by the 24 lexical sets. For example, some Irish and Scottish accents that have not undergone the fern–fir–fur merger split the NURSE lexical set into multiple subsets. For such accents, the 24 Wells lexical sets may be inadequate. Because of this, a work devoted to Irish English may split the Wells NURSE set into two subsets, a new, smaller NURSE set and a TERM set.[12]

Some writers on English accents have introduced a GOAL set to refer to a set of words that have the GOAT vowel in standard accents but may have a different vowel in Sheffield[13] or in south-east London.[14] Wells has stated that he didn't include a GOAL set because this should be interpreted as an allophone of GOAT that is sensitive to the morpheme boundary, which he illustrates by comparing the London pronunciations of goalie and slowly.[15]

Wells Standard Lexical Sets for English around the world

The Wells Standard Lexical Sets for English around the world are as follows:[1][16]

Primary lexical sets

British Isles

British English
trad RP RP Shared RP London Norwich Bristol Birmingham (West Midlands) Leeds (West Yorkshire)
FLEECE
ɪi i
KIT
ɪ
START
ɑː
ar [aɻ] ɑː
DRESS e ɛ ɛ ~ e e
ɛ
PALM
ɑː
a ɑː
BATH ɑː ɑː ~ aː ɑː ~ a ɑː a a a
LOT
ɒ
a ɒ ɒ
TRAP æ a a ~ æ æ æ æ a a
CLOTH ɒ ɒ ɒ ~ ɔː ɒ ɒ, ɔː ɒ ɒ ɒ
THOUGHT
ɔː
ɔː ɔ ɔː ɔː
NORTH
ɔː
ɔː ɔr [ɔɻ] ɔː ɔː
FORCE
ɔː
ɔː ɔr ʌʊə (~ ɔː) ɔː (~ ɔə)
FOOT
ʊ
GOOSE
ʉː ʉː u
STRUT
ʌ
ʊ (~ʌ) ʊ
NURSE ɜː əː əː ~ ɜː ɜː ɜː → ɝ ɜr ɜ ɜː
LETTER
ə
ə → ɚ ər ə ə
COMMA
ə
ə ~ əl ə ə
FACE
ʌɪ æi ɛɪ ʌɪ eː(~ ɛɪ)
GOAT əʊ~ɔʊ əʊ əʊ~oʊ ʌʊ ʌʊ, uː, (ʊ) ɔʊ ʌʊ oː (~ɔʊ)
PRICE ʌɪ ʌɪ~aɪ ɑɪ ʌi ɑɪ ɒɪ
MOUTH
æʊ æʉ æʊ
CHOICE
ɔɪ
oi ɒɪ (~oɪ) ɔɪ
NEAR
ɪə
ɛː ir [iɻ] iːə (~ ɪə) ɪə
SQUARE eə (or ɛə) ɛː ɛː ~ ɛə ɛː ɛɪr [ɛɻ] ɛː ɛː
CURE ʊə ʊə ~ ɔː ʊə ~ ɔː ɜː, ɔː ur~ɔr uːə (~ʊə~ɔː) ʊə (~ɔː)
HAPPY ɪ i i ɪi [i] i [i] ɪ
COLD ɒʊ
Irish English
Ireland R. Northern Irish Pop. Dublin Fash. Dublin R. South West Supr.South
FLEECE i: iʲə
KIT ɪ e ɪ ɪ ɪ ɪ
START aːr ɑ(ː)ɻ æː(ɹ) ɑːɻ aːɹ ɑːɹ
DRESS
ɛ
PALM
BATH æ, aː ɑ(ː) æː
LOT ɒ ɒ a ɔ a ɑ
TRAP æ a æ æ æ æ
CLOTH ɒ, ɔː
THOUGHT ɔː ɔ(ː) ɔː, oː ɑː ɒː
NORTH ɔːr ɔ(ː)ɻ aː(ɹ) ɒːɻ, ɔːɻ ɑːɹ ɒːɹ
FORCE oːr o(ː)ɻ ɒː(ɹ) ɔːɻ, oːɻ ɔːɹ oːɹ
FOOT ʊ ʉ ʊ ʊ ʊ ʊ
GOOSE ʉ(ː) ujə
STRUT ʌ ʌ ʊ ʌ ʌ̈ ʌ̈
NURSE ʌr, ɛr ə(ː)ɻ ʊː(ɹ) ɚːɻ, øːɻ ɚːɹ ɚːɹ
LETTER ər əɻ ə(ɹ) əɻ əɹ əɹ
COMMA ə ə ə, ɐ ə ə ə
FACE eːə
GOAT ɔʊ, oː ʌɔ əʊ əʊ, oʊ
PRICE ɛɪ əɪ ɑɪ æɪ
MOUTH ɛʉ ɛʊ ɛʊ
CHOICE ɔɪ ɔɪ ɔɪ, oɪ ɑɪ ɒɪ
NEAR iːr i(ː)ɻ iː(ɹ) iːɻ iːɹ iːɹ
SQUARE eːr ə(ː)ɻ ɛː(ɹ) eːɻ, øɻ eːɹ eːɹ
CURE uːr u(ː)ɻ uʲə(ɹ) uːɻ uːɹ uːɹ
HAPPY ɪ, e i i i i
Other dialects of the British Isles
Scotland E Scotland St. E. Urban Scots Orkney Shetland Wales Cardiff E. Trad.R.Welsh E.
FLEECE i i i i i i
KIT ɪ ɪ ~ ë ɛ̈ ~ ë ~ ʌ ~ ɪ ɪ ~ ï ~ ë ~ ɛ̈ ï ~ ë ~ ɛ̈ ~ ɤ̈ ɪ ɪ ɪ
START ar a ɛ̝ ~ a ɑ ~ a a ~ ɑ
DRESS ɛ ɛ ɛ̝
ɛ
PALM a (or /ɑ/) a ɑ ɔ
BATH a (or /ɑ/) a a a ~ ɑ a ~ aː
LOT ɔ (or /ɒ/) ɔ̞ o~ɔ ɔ ɔ~ɒ ɒ ɑ ɔ
TRAP a a
a
CLOTH ɔ ɔ̞ o ~ ɔ ɔ ɔ ~ ɑ ɒ ~ ɔː ɔ
THOUGHT ɔ ɔ̞ ɔ ɔ ~ ʌ̈ʊ ɔ ɔː ʌː ɔː
NORTH ɔr ɔ̞ o ~ ɔ
ɒ ~ ɔ
ɔː ɔː
FORCE or o o ɔ ɔ ~ o ɔː ɔː
FOOT u ʉ̠ ɛ̈ ~ ʉ ~ ʏ ʊ ~ u u ʊ ɤ ʊ
GOOSE u ʉ̠ ʉ ~ ʏ u ~ ʉ u ~ ø
STRUT ʌ ʌ ʌ̈ ʌ ~ ɔ̈ ɔ̈ ~ ʊ̈ ~ ʌ ə ə ʌ
NURSE ɜr ʌ ʌ̈ ~ ɛ̈ ɔ̈ ɔ ~ ɔ̈ ɜː ø œː
LETTER ər ɪ ~ ʌ ʌ̈ ə e ə ə ~ ʌ
COMMA ʌ ʌ ʌ̈ ə ~ a ɐ ə ə ə ~ ʌ
FACE
e
eɪ ~ e ei ei eː (or ei)
GOAT o ɔ o ou əʊ oː (or ou)
PRICE ae, ʌi ʌi əi aɪ ~ eɪ aɪ ~ ɜɪ əi əɪ ai
MOUTH ʌu ʌʉ̠ ʉ~ʌʉ aʊ~u ʌʊ̈~u əu ʌu au
CHOICE ɒɪ ɔe ɔe ɔɪ ɔɪ ɔi ʌi ɔ
NEAR ir i i jɜː ~ iːə iːə ~ jø
SQUARE er e e~ ɛ̝ e ~ ɛ e ~ ɛ ɛː ɛː ɛː
CURE ur jʉ̠ uːə uːə ~ ʌː (ɪ)uwə
HAPPY e, ɪ, i e e ~ ɛ̈ i i [i] = /iː/
STONE o e ~ o
STAND a ɔ̞ ~ a̠
DO ʉ e ~ ʉ
OFF ɔ̞ a̠ ~ ɔ
HEAD ɛ i ~ ɛ̝
AFTER a ɛ ~ a̠
NEVER ɛ ~ ɛ̈ ɛ̈ ~ ë ~ ɪ
BERTH ɛ ɛ̝ ~ ɛ̈
BIRTH ɪ ɛ̈ ~ ʌ̈

North American English

According to Labov et al, the dialects of North American English can be divided into two groups, based off the presence/absence of the cot-caught merger.[17]

Unmerged or partly merged dialects of North American English
General American New York City Philadelphia Inland North R. Southern
FLEECE i [18] i i̞i ~ ɪi
KIT ɪ ɪ ɪ ~ ɪ̞ ɪ ~ ɪ̞ ~ ɪ̠ ɪ ~ iə
START ɑɹ ɑə ~ ɒə >
ɑɹ ~ ɒɹ
ɑ ~ ɒ ~ ɔ ɑ ~ ɑ̟ ~ a ɒɚ > ɑɚ
DRESS
ɛ
ɛ ~ ɛ̞ ɛ ~ ɛ̞ ~ ɛ̠ ~ ɐ ɛ ~ eə
TRAP æ æ[19]
æ
BATH æ ɛə ~ eə ~ ɪə æə ~ ɛə ~ ɪə[20] æ ~ æə ~ ɛə ~ ɪə æ
PALM ɑ ɑ ɑ ɑ ~ ɑ̟ ~ a ɑ ~ ɒo
LOT ɑ ɑ ~ ä ɑ ɑ ~ ɑ̟ ~ a ɑ
CLOTH/
THOUGHT
ɔ, ɑ ɔ ~ ɔə ~ ʊə ɔ ~ ɔ̝ə ~ oə ɔ ~ ɒ ~ ɑ ɑɒ
NORTH ɔɹ ɔə ~ oɐ >
ɔɹ ~ oɹ
o ~ ʊ o ~ ɔ
FORCE ɔɚ ɔə ~ oɐ >
ɔɹ ~ oɹ
o ~ ʊ o
FOOT
ʊ
ʊ ~ ʊ̈
ʊ̈ ~ ʏ
GOOSE u ʊu ~ uː ~ ɪu uː ~ ʉu uː ~ ʉ ʉ̟u̟ ~ y̟ʉ̟ ~ ʉ̟y̟ y̟y̟
STRUT ʌ ʌ ʌ ~ ʌ̝ ɜ ~ ʌ ~ ɔ ɜ
NURSE ɚ~ɝ ɜ ɜ ɜ ɚ > ɐɚ
LETTER ɚ ə ə ə ɚ
COMMA ə ə ə ə ə
FACE eɪ ~ ɛɪ e ~ e̝ɪ ~ i̞ɪ eɪ ~ eː ɛi ~ æ̠i
GOAT oʊ ~ ɜʊ oʊ ~ öʊ ~ o: ɜy ~ ɜu > æ̠u
PRICE ɑɪ ~ ɒɪ aɪ ~ ʌe aɪ ~ ɜɪ ai ~ aːæ ~ aː
MOUTH aʊ ~ æʊ aʊ ~ æɔ ~ɛɔ aɔ~ɜʊ æɔ ~ æɒ > aɒ
CHOICE ɔɪ ɔɪ oɪ~ʊɪ oɪ~ɔɪ
NEAR iɚ, ɪɚ ɪə > iɹ ɪə i i̠ɚ
SQUARE ɛɚ ɛə > eɹ ɛə ɛ ɛ̞ɚ
CURE jʊɚ ~ juɚ jʊə > jʊɹ ʊ jəɻ ~ jɚ uɚ > ɚ
POOR[nb 1] ʊɚ ~ oɹ ~ ɔɚ ʊə ~ ʊɜ > ʊɹ ɔə ~ oɐ >
ɔɹ ~ oɹ
ɔɻ~oɻ
HAPPY
i
HORSES ə, i ɪ ~ ɨ ~ ə i ~ ɨ ~ ʎ ɪ ~ ɨ ~ ə ɪ ~ ɪ̈
MARRY ɛ æ æ ɛ
MERRY ɛ ɛ ɛ ~ ʌ ɛ
MARY ɛ e ~ ɛ ~ ɛə e ~ ɛ ɛ
ORANGE ɔ ɒ[21] ɑ o ~ ɔ ɑ ~ ɒ ~ o
TOMORROW ɒ[21] ɑ ɑ ɑ ~ ɒ
HAND
PIN/PEN ɪ ~ iə
THINK/LENGTH ɪ ~ ɪi
DANCE
Fully merged dialects of American English
New England West and Midwest Canadian Canada (Wells)
FLEECE iɪ ~ iː ɪi i
KIT ɪ ɪ ɪ ɪ
START aː(ɹ) ~ ɑː(ɹ) ɑ ʌɹ > ɐɹ ɑr
DRESS ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ
TRAP æ > ɛə æ æ ~ a æ
BATH æ > ɛə > a æ æ ~ a æ
PALM aː ~ ɑː ɑ ~ ɑ̠ ~ ɒ > ɔ ɒ ɑ
LOT
CLOTH/
THOUGHT
ɑ ~ ɒ ɑ ~ ɑ̠ ~ ɒ > ɔ ɒ ɑ
NORTH ɔ(ɹ) > ɒə o > ɔ > ɒ ɔɹ or
FORCE ɔ(ɹ) o > ɔ ɔɹ or
FOOT ʊ ʊ ~ ʊ̈ ʊ ʊ
GOOSE u ~ ʊuː uʊ ~ uː ~ ʉ ʉu u
STRUT ə ɜ ʌ ʌ
NURSE ə(ɹ) ə əɹ ɜr
LETTER ə(ɹ) ɜ(ɹ) əɹ ɚ
COMMA ə(ɹ) ə ɐ ə
FACE eɪ ~ eː
GOAT əo > ɔ oʊ ~ ɵʊ > o: ɵʊ
PRICE ɑɪ > əɪ aɪ > əɪ ʌɪ ~ ɜɪ ~ ɐɪ
MOUTH ɑʊ > əʊ əʊ > æʊ > aʊ ʌʊ ~ ɜʊ ɑʊ
CHOICE ɔɪ ɔɪ > oɪ ɔɪ ɔɪ
NEAR iə(ɹ) i ɪɹ ɪr
SQUARE ɛə(ɹ) ɛ ɛɹ ɛr
CURE (j)ʊə ~ (j)ʊɜ > (j)ʊɹ ju > jə jəɹ > juɹ > jɵɹ ʊr
HAPPY
i
HORSES ə > ɪ ɪ ~ ɨ > ə ə
MARRY/
MERRY/
MARY
ɛ
DANCE æ̝

Other dialects

Anglo-Bahamian Afro-Bahamian Jamaican Jamaican (Wells) T&T creole Acrolect and Mesolect (General) Trinidad Guyana Barbados Bahamas New Zealand New Zealand (Wells) AusE AusE (Wells) Pure Fiji E. Hawaii P. Basilectal Hawaii P. Mesolectal Hausa NigE Yoruba NigE Igbo NigE Southern NigE Ghanaian Liberian Settler E. Cameroon South Africa
FLEECE i̝ ~ ɪ̝i i i i:, ɪɨ i:, ᵊi, əi i ̴ iˑ i > ij i > ij i i i i > iː i i > ɛ > e
KIT ɪ ɪ ɪ ɪ ɪ > i ɪ ɪ ɪ ɪ ɘ, ə, ə̞, ɪ ə ɪ, ə ɪ i i ɪ i i i i > ɪ ɪ > e i > ai ɪ, ə
START ɑː ɑː aːɹ aː(r) a x ɑ aː(r) aːr ɐː ɐː ă ~ a ɑ ɑ ~ ar a a a a a ɑ a > ɛ ɑː
DRESS ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ ɛ e, e̝, e̝̠ e e, ɛ e æ̝ ~ e ɛ ~ æ̝ ə, a ɛ, e ɛ ɛ ɛ > e > i > iɛ ~ iə e
PALM ɑ ɑ a x ɒ aː, ɑː ɐː ă ~ a ɑ ɑ a a a a(ː) ɑ > æ a ɑː
BATH a~æ a~æ a x ɑ ɐː ă æ̝ æ̝ ~æ a a a a(ː) æ a
LOT ɑ ɑ ɔ a x ɒ ɔ > ʌ > ɒ ɒ a x ɑ ɒ ɑ ɒ, ɞ̠ ɒ ɔ, ɔᵊ, ɔə ɒ ɒ̝̆ ~ ɔ̝̆ ɔ ɔ ~ ɑ ~ ɒ a ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ ɑ ɔ > a ɒ
TRAP a ~ æ a ~ æ a ~ ɐ a a > æ a a a ɛ æ æ, æe, æː æ ɛ̞ æ̝ æ̝ æ a a a a a æ a > e æ
CLOTH ɔ ɔ ɔː aː x ɔː ɔ > ɔː ɔ x ɒ aː x ɔː ɒː ɒː ɒ oː, oᵊː, oə ɒː ɒ̝ ɔ ɔ > ɒ ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ ɑ ɔ
THOUGHT ɔ ɔ ɔː aː x ɔː ɔː > ɒ ɒ x ɔ aː x ɑː ɒː ɑː ɑː, oə, o.ɐ ɔː ɔː ɒ̝̆ ~ ɔ̞̆ ɔ ɔ > ɒ ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ > ɔː ɔ ɔ > au ɔː
Indian Pakistani Singapore Malaysian Philippine
FLEECE iː > ɪ i i > iː iː > i > ɪ
KIT ɪ > iː ɪ i i iː > i > ɪ
START ɑː ɑː ɑ ɑ > ɑ̈ ɑr
DRESS e > ɛ > ə e æ æ > ɛ > e ɛ
PALM ɑː ɑː ɑ ɑ > ɑ̈ ɑ
BATH ɑː æ~ɑː ɑ ɑ > ɑ̈ ɑ
LOT ɔ > ɒ > a ɔː ɔ ɔ ɑ
TRAP æ >ɛ æ ɛ æ > ɛ ɑ
CLOTH ɔ > o > aː ɔː ~ ɔ ~ oː ɔ ɔ o
THOUGHT ɔː > oː > aː ɔː ɔ ɔ o
Anglo-Bahamian Afro-Bahamian Jamaican Jamaican (Wells) T&T creole Acrolect and Mesolect (General) Trinidad Guyana Barbados Bahamas New Zealand New Zealand (Wells) AusE AusE (Wells) Pure Fiji E. Hawaii P. Basilectal Hawaii P. Mesolectal Hausa NigE Yoruba NigE Igbo NigE Southern NigE Ghanaian Liberian Settler E. Cameroon South Africa Indian Pakistani Singapore Malaysian Philippine
NORTH ɔə ɔə ɔːɹ aː(r) x ɔː(r) ɔː ɒ x ɔ aː(r)x ɔː(r) ɒːr oa oː, oə, o.ɐ ɔː ɔː ɒ̝ ɔ̞ ɔ ɔ ~ or ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ o, ɔ̝ ɔ > a ɔː ɔː > aː > ɒ ɔː ɔ ɔ or
FORCE oːɹ oːr ɔː ɒ x ɔ oː(r) oːr oa oː, oə, o.ɐ ɔː ɔː ɒ̝ ~ ɒ̝ˑ ~ ɔ̞ ɔ ɔ~or o, oa (owa) ɔ ɔ ɔ ɔ o, ɔ̝ ɔ ɔː ɔː > oː ɔː ~ ɔʊ ɔ ɔ or
FOOT ʊ ʊ ʊ ~ u ʊ ʊ ʊ ʊ ʊ ʊ ʊ, ɨ̞ ʊ ʊ ʊ o̝ ~ u̞ u ʊ ʊ u u u u > ʊ u > ʊ u ʊ ʊ > uː ʊ ~ uː u u uː > u > ʊ
GOOSE ʉː ʉː u ʉː,ʏː, ɪʉ, ɐʉ ʉː, ᵊʉː, ʉːᵊ u̞ ~ uˑ u u ʊ, u ʊ, u u u > uː u u u u > uː uː > u > ʊ
STRUT ʌ̠ ʌ̠ ɵ ~ o ʌ ʌ > ɔː > ɒ ɒ x ʌ ʌ ʌ ʌ ɐ, ɐ̞ ʌ ɐ ʌ ɑ ~ ʌ ɑ ~ ʌ ɑ, ʊ ɔ ɔ ɔ a ~ ɔ > ɛ ʌ ɔ > u ~ a ʌ ʌ > ə > ʊ ʌ ɑ ɑ ʌ
NURSE ə ~ ɜ ɜ ~ əi ɜː ʌ x ʌr x ɜːr ɜː > ɔː ɒ x 3 ʌ x ʌr [ɝː] əi ɵː, œː, øː ɜː ɜː ɜː ɛ ɛ̠ ɜr ɜr ɜ ɜ ɜ, ɔ, a ɛ(ː) ʌ > ʌ ɔ > ɛ > e ɜː ɜː > ʌ > ə > aː ʌ ə ɔ ɛr
LETTER ə ə o ~ əːɹ a [ɐ] x ʌr x ə ə > ʌ a x ə a x ə /ər/ [ɚ] ə
ə
ɐ ~ a̠ ~ ă ɑ ɑ ~ ɚ
a
ə a~e~ɔ ə ə ʌ ə ə ɛr
COMMA ə ə o a [ɐ] x ʌr x ə a > ə > ʌ
a x ə
ə ə ɘ, ə, ɜ, ɐ
ə
ɐ̞ ~ a̠ ~ ă ɑ ɑ ~ ə
a
ə > ʌ a ~ e ~ ɔ > u ə a ʌ ə ə > ʌ ɑ
FACE ei ɛi e [iɛ x eː] e
æe, ɐe, ɐi ʌɪ ɛe, æe ʌɪ e ~ eː ~ ei
eɪ ~ e
e e a e, a e~ei > ei/ɛ~ɛi > ɛi e e > a > ej əɪ eɪ ~ eː e e > eː
GOAT
ɵu
o [uɔ x oː] o
ɐʉ, ɐɨ ʌʊ əʉ ʌʊ o̞~ o̞ː ~ o̞u oʊ ~ o oʊ ~ o
o, ɔ
o ~ ou > ou / ɔ ~ ɔu > ɔu o o > ɔ > u əʊ oː > ɔː əʊ ~ oː ~ ʊ o o > oː o
PRICE ɑi ai ~ ɑi ai
ʌi ʌɪ ɑe, ɒe, ɑi ɑɪ ɑe, ɔe ɑɪ ɑɪ ɑɪ ai, əi
ai
ai > ai > a a > aɨ, ai a > i > aj
ai ai ɑɪ
MOUTH aø ~ aɛ aɔ ~ ɑɔ aʊ~ɵʊ
ɔʊ
ʌʊ ɑʊ æʉ, ɛʉ æʊ æɔ, ɐɔ æʊ ă̝o~ă̝ʊ̝ ɑʊ ɑʊ au, əu
au
au > au ~ a ʌu, au au > aw > aɔ əʊ au au ɑʊ
CHOICE oi
ɔi
aɪ x ɔɪ ɔɪ ɔɪ aɪ x ɔɪ ʌi x oi əi oe, oi ɔɪ ɔɪ o~oː~o̞e
oɪ~ɔɪ
ɔi
ʌɨ, ʌi > ʌ ɔi > ɔj ɔɪ ɔi > oɪ > oe ɔɪ ɔi ɔi
NEAR
eə ~ iə
eːɹ eːr [ɪɛɹ x eːɹ] ˑɛː eː(r) eːr iə, iːɐ, e.ɐ, eə iə ~ iːə ~ iː, eə ɪə, ɪᵊ, ɪː iə ~ iːə ~ iː i ~ iɐ̆ iɑ ~ ir ia ia ia ia, ija iɛ > ia iə, ɪə > eə / i, ɪ > e iɛ ~ iə ɪə iə > iːjə > ɪjəː > eə ɪə ~ eə iə > iː ir
SQUARE eːɹ eːr [ɪɛɹ x eːɹ] ɛː > ˑɛː eː(r) eːr eə, iːɐ, e.ɐ, iə eə, eᵊ, eː e ~ eɐ̆ eɑ~ er ea ia, ea ia, ea ia, ea ɛ > ɛa ɛ > e, æ ɛ > e > iɛ ~ iə æ > eː > eə > ɛː eə ~ əɪ ~ ɑɪ æ æ > ɛ er
CURE oːr juɜ ɒ x ɔ oː(r) oːr oa ʉə, ʉ.ɐ ʊə x uːə ~ uː, ɔː ʊə, ʉə, oː ʊə x ɔː ~ uːə ~ uː u ~ ʉɐ ~ uɐ uɑ ~ ur ua (uwa) ua ua ua uɛ ~ uɔ ~ ɔ o ɔ > ua ʊə ɪjoː > ɪjɔ > ɪjuː > ɪjuə juə ~ eɔː ~ jeɔ ɔ ɔ ur
HAPPY ɪ ɪ i [ɪ], occas. [i] ɪ > i i [i] [ɪ̞] i, ə̯i, iˑ ĭ i i i i i i i ~ ɪ i i > e [ɪ̞ ~ i] ɪ > iː ɪ i i ɪ

Secondary lexical sets

Cardiff E. T&T creole Acrolect and Mesolect
BEER iːə ˑɛ > iɛ
Orkney Shetland Trad.R.Welsh E. T&T creole Acrolect and Mesolect New Zealand AusE Pure Fiji E. Hawaii P. Basilectal Hawaii P. Mesolectal Ghanaian Liberian Settler E. Indian Pakistani Malaysian Philippine
HORSES ɪ ə ɪ ɪ ɘ, ə, ɜ, ɐ ə ɐ̆ e e ~ ə ~ ɪ iː > ɪ ~ e ə > ɛ ə > ɨ ɪ ɔ ɛ
Scotland St. E. Urban Scots Orkney Shetland Philadelphia The Inland North R. Southern W and Mid-W. Anglo-Bahamian Afro-Bahamian Ghanaian Cameroon Pakistani
GOAL o o o ~ ɔ o oʊ ~ o̞ː ɔ̟u ~ ɒ̟u oʊ > oː ɵu ou o ~ ou > ou / ɔ ~ ɔu > ɔu o > ɔ > u əʊ ~ oː
Scotland St. E. Urban Scots Trad.R.Welsh E. R. Southern Canadian Anglo-Bahamian Afro-Bahamian
PRIZE ae ae aːɛ ~ aːæ ~ aː ɑɪ ɑi ~ ai
STAY e əi ~ e [eɪ] (or eː)
Trad.R.Welsh E. The Inland North R. Southern T&T creole Acrolect and Mesolect
ONE ʌ ̴ ɔ
BOAR
POWER auwə aɔɚ
FIRE aijə aæɚ ̴ aːɚ aiə
EARS œ ̴ iə
TUESDAY ɪu
Trad.R.Welsh E. R. Northern Irish Pop. Dublin Fash. Dublin R. South West Supr.South Liberian Settler E.
SNOW [ou] (or oː)
SOFT ɔ(ː) ɔː ɑ ɒ
PRIDE ɛɪ, aɪ əɪ ɑɪ æɪ ɑɪ
DANCE æ, ɑ æː aː, (ɑː) æː, aː æ̝
PATH ɑ æː aː, (ɑː) æː, aː
New England R. Southern Canadian
GOING ɔ̟u ̴ ɒ̟u
POOL u ʊ̠ ̴ u
PULL ʊ̠ ̴ u
FEEL i ɪ ̴ iə ̴ i̞i
FILL ɪ ̴ iə ̴ ï
FALL ei ~ ɛ
FELL ɛ
MIRROR/NEARER
COW aʊ ~ ɑʊ
STAR ɑɹ > ɐɹ
Jamaican T&T creole Acrolect and Mesolect New Zealand
BROAD ɔː
EIGHT
BARE ˑɛː > iɛ
TREACLE ɯ, ɔ̝, o, ʊ, u, ɤ
Liberian Settler E. Cameroon Singapore Malaysian Philippine
BED e
SPHERE ɛ > iɛ ̴ iə
ZERO e > i > ɛ
CARRIER ia
CORDIAL ia ̴ iɛ ̴ iɔ ̴ iu
TRUER ua
TRUANT ua ̴ uɛ ̴ uɔ
OFFICES i
PAINTED ɛ
VILLAGE e
TERM ɛ > e > a
POOR ur

Use in other languages

Lexical sets have also been used to describe the pronunciation of other languages, such as French,[22] Irish[23] and Scots.[24]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ "While not a standard lexical set, some dialects of American English realize /jʊər/ and /ʊər/ as two separate phonemes.

References

  1. ^ a b Wells (1982).
  2. ^ Wells (1982), p. 117.
  3. ^ Wells (1982), p. 118.
  4. ^ a b c Wells (1982), p. 123.
  5. ^ Wells (1982), p. 122.
  6. ^ Wells (1982), p. 165.
  7. ^ Wells (1982), p. 499.
  8. ^ Wells (1982), p. 498.
  9. ^ Wells (1982), p. 124.
  10. ^ Wells (1982), p. 500.
  11. ^ a b "John Wells's phonetic blog: lexical sets". 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  12. ^ Hickey, Raymond (2004). A sound atlas of Irish English. Mouton de Gruyter. pp. 54–55. ISBN 3-11-018298-X. 
  13. ^ Stoddart, Upton and Widowson in Urban Voices, Arnold, London, 1999, page 76
  14. ^ Tollfree in Urban Voices, Arnold, London, 1999, page 165
  15. ^ "John Wells's phonetic blog: the evidence of the vows". 2011-05-03. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  16. ^ de Gruyter (2004)
  17. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006), p. 145
  18. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006), p. 232
  19. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006), p. 233
  20. ^ Labov, Ash & Boberg, p. 237
  21. ^ a b Labov, Ash & Boberg (2006)
  22. ^ Armstrong, Nigel (2001). Social and stylistic variation in spoken French: a comparative approach. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. pp. 100ff. ISBN 90-272-1839-0. 
  23. ^ Raymond Hickey (29 August 2011). The Dialects of Irish: Study of a Changing Landscape. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-023830-3. 
  24. ^ Robert McColl Millar (2007). Northern and insular Scots. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-0-7486-2316-7. 

Bibliography

  • Wells, John C. (1982). Accents of English. Volume 1: An Introduction (pp. i–xx, 1–278), Volume 3: Beyond the British Isles (pp. i–xx, 467–674). Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-52129719-2 , 0-52128541-0 .
  • Burridge, Kate; Mesthrie, Rajend; Upton, Clive (2004). Kortmann, Bernd; Schneider, Edgar W., eds. A handbook of Varieties of English, vol.1. Berlin, New York: Mouton de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-019718-1. 

External links

  • Nicole Taylor (with the collaboration of Norma Mendoza-Denton [1]), The University of Arizona, Anthropology 383, Standard Lexical Sets, 2002 (in Archive.is)
  • University of Pennsylvania, Linguistics 001, Lecture 9: Pronunciation of English
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