The term General British (abbreviation GB) was
proposed in 1972 in the Windsor Lewis Concise Pronouncing Dictionary of British
and American English,
to refer collectively to the least locally
affiliated type of educated speech of Great Britain (which expression,
unlike United Kingdom, does not include Northern Ireland). This variety
is most numerously represented in the most densely populated southeastern region of England where it
originated but it is very important to be clear that, although it is thinner on the ground the farther one
goes from its area of origin, it nevertheless may be heard from many speakers all over
Great Britain. Very considerable numbers of these, moreover, have reached maturity without having spent any substantial
proportions of their lives away from the localities in which they grew up.
also has great importance as representing a common
of educated usages. Large numbers of British speakers, though not in
life employing them, may be inclined subsequently to adopt various GB
usages. Few grown-ups who move to other parts of Britain are inclined
to adopt any of the non-GB speech features of their new locality. The
more strongly regionally-affiliated varieties of British pronunciation
show relatively few
signs of influence on each another.
There are very large numbers of speakers whose types of speech have by Cruttenden been termed Regional General British because their usages differ from speakers of unmixed GB only by having such minor contrasts as a preference for using /a/ rather than /ɑ/ in words like bath and chance, a limited group of words which has only about a hundred uncompounded items. Other RGB speakers may differ from GB only by using /ə/ rather than the more typically GB /ʌ/ in numbers of words such as up and bus. As with General American, GB's normal usual concomitant is what one may call standard English grammar and, of course, the terms GB and RGB betoken at least a certain modest degree of sophistication.
The highly controversial
though unfortunately 'regularly made' claim that unmixed
'Received Pronunciation' (a term more or less equatable with GB) is
employed by only about three percent of UK speakers is in
fact extremely misleading. See Cruttenden's Gimson's Pronunciation of English p.77 and Phonetiblog 443 on this website ('A Notorious Estimate').
GB has been referred to by a variety of unsatisfactory terms the most widely used of which among British phoneticians has been Daniel Jones's unfortunate 1926 ultimate choice "Received Pronunciation". He had originally (in 1908) used 'Standard Pronunciation' but came to sharply regret having done so. He tried setting up the use of 'Public School Pronunciation' at the first edition of his English Pronouncing Dictionary in 1917 but came to reject that too. The term Received Pronunciation and its initials RP are now widely perceived as obsolescent and in most recent writing avoided except in historical reference to Victorian styles of speech. They are also felt by many people to be embarrassingly patronising and/or parochial. Certain writers have taken up the expression 'Standard Southern British' no doubt in some cases influenced by seeing it as the choice of Francis Nolan one of editors the 1999 Handbook of the International Phonetic Association. It should be noted, however, that the Association does not accord official recognition to any such terms. Regarding this SSB, the designation Southern is clearly unsuitably limited and the term 'standard', which Jones came to reject so very emphatically, is undesirably controversial.
The IPA Handbook
contained, among its 29 illustrations of its alphabet's use, an example of
GA-type American speech but no specimen of GB speech. One of a middle-aged GB
speaker appeared in the Association's Journal at its Volume 34 Number 2
p.239 in 2004 under the title 'Received Pronuncation'.
important account of RP is to be found in J. C. Wells's 1982 Accents of English where at
p.117 it was succinctly described as "the most general type of educated
British pronunciation". From this it may be gathered that the Jonesian term 'RP' Wells chose to use in 1982
and the term GB are in effect synonymous. The most full and up-to-date
description of GB is to be seen in Alan Cruttenden's unrivalled classic Gimson's Pronunciation of English which was most recently revised at 2014. See especially its §7.6.
The phonological symbols used in this work have not been adopted as preferred choices from among any existing transcriptions but have been selected with the purpose of representing GA and GB in such a way that as far as possible their unity rather than the differences between them should be highlighted.
1977 A. C. Gimson
recast the symbol set he chose to use in his most extensive revision of the renowned Daniel Jones English Pronouncing Dictionary (EPD). This work has latterly become renamed the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary
(CEPD). Since 1977 many British dictionary
representations of the
GB vowels have employed that revised set of vowel symbols. It
embodied certain actually inessential (and, for some readers at least,
potentially even misleading) length marks which were introduced
originally with no doubt partly the didactic purpose of helping users
of English who were speakers of other languages. Such length marks have
not been considered appropriate for the present GB transcriptions.
Instead of the two types of indication of
GA stressed and unstressed short schwas as /ˌə/ and /ə/ (in the style originated by George L. Trager and Henry Lee Smith
and adopted for the Webster Third International Dictionary of 1961) it has been preferred to show
them as in the PDAE i.e. the J. S. Kenyon and G. A. Knott Pronouncing Dictionary of American English. This is also how they are given in the LPD i.e. the J. C. Wells Longman Pronunciation Dictionary, and the CEPD i.e. the P. Roach et al. Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary respectively as /ᴧ/ and /ə/.
The relatively very minor differences between
the most typical GA and GB ranges of articulation of the vowel of such words as boat have been deliberately disregarded by
showing them both as /oʊ/.
The foremost authority on accents of English, J. C. Wells, in
commenting on the way the Gimson 1977 changes in the representation of
this diphthong replaced the orginal symbolisation /ou/ with /əʊ/,
remarked at page 46 in Wells 2014 '..the use of different symbols
implies a greater difference between BrE and AmE than really exists'.
One very minor way in which the GA-GB differences may tend
to be overestimated is that some transcribers may use representations that at
ordinary levels of stress intensity involve no really clear contrast
when for example one will prefer the notation of situation
/sɪʧə`weɪʃn/ and the other as /sɪʧu`eɪʃn/. The latter type has been
preferred as more comfortably in accord with readers' expectations.
Phoneme symbols. These vocalic phonemes are all common to GA & GB except for GB-only /ɒ/ and /ɛ/.
/i, ɪ, e, ɛ, a, ɑ, ɒ, ɔ, ʊ, u, ʌ, ɜ / as in
beat, bit, bet, bear, bat, palm, lot, saw, foot, boot, cut, fur
eɪ, oʊ, aɪ, aʊ, ɔɪ as in face, coat, bite, out, voice
and /iə, uə/ as in rhea, near, skua, cure
The above listing indicates that between the phoneme sets of the two
varieties, a single most important difference exists: namely that General
British has the extra phoneme /ɒ/. It is worth noting that J. C. Wells in his 2014 book Sounds Interesting remarked with regard to the use of differing symbols for the vowel of goat that are customary in transcriptions of GA and GB ‘implies a greater difference...than really exists’.
In current mainstream GB the vowel in care, formerly a diphthong represented as /ɛə/ or /eə/, is now generally regarded as having been replaced by a monophthongal realisation and is therefore here represented as /ɛ/. Our revised notation for this phoneme at any rate recognises the fact that from at least the latter half of the twentieth century this phoneme has overwhelmingly often been heard in a monophthongal realisation.
1d. Our preferred way of indicating word rhythmic values has been the tonetic stress mark system, first used by Roger Kingdon and since employed notably in Cruttenden's Gimson's Pronunciation of English, in which the tonic syllable is preceded by the symbol for a (relatively-high-beginning) falling tone [`] and any preceding accents by the sign [ˈ] for successive (downstepping) upper level tones. Any post-tonic tone will be indicated by [ˌ] the sign for a low level pitch.
1e. On the greatest number of occasions of contrast between the two types of pronunciation it will be found that GA and GB don't differ absolutely but only by favouring one alternative type of pronunciation rather than another among a set of possibilities common to the two varieties. Where it seems desirable to indicate that a version is judged to exist exclusively with no subvariants (secondary versions) worth considering in the variety specified this fact may be indicated by its being followed by the sign [˚] whose form bears an intentional relationship to the initial letter of the word 'only'. Where it seems desirable to indicate that a version is judged to be predominant but to have one or more notable subvariants it may be followed by the sign [˃]. Where it seems desirable to indicate that a version is judged to be subvariant, i.e. having at least one other variant version more extensively or frequently used by speakers (of the variety represented) than the one given, the fact may be indicated by following it with the reverse sign [˂].
1f. What follows treats more of patterns than regularities and almost always shows variants that might have just as easily developed in the other variety (from which they may now be absent). Particular subvariants may on the one hand be rare ones but on the other hand often approximately equally common ones. Such cases make it a difficult even relatively arbitrary decision for the lexicographer to choose which of two or more co-variant versions of a word should be given first place in listing.
Certain intonation patterns may be said to be more favoured by most Americans than most GB speakers and vice versa. The "Drop" tone (from high to mid) is often used by GA speakers in situations where British speakers would perhaps more generally (but far from exclusively) employ a falling-rising tone. Its use on farewells eg Good `∙bye and even more notably on the more casual `∙Bye is more characteristically American than British. GB is more likely than GA to use an Alt (high level) plus (low to mid) Rise sequence on eg 'Goodˏbye which may tend to sound formal etc whereas the other may be perceived distinctly casual. It's doubtful if it's possible to point convincingly to even a single pattern which occurs in the one variety but is never found in the other.
2b. An example of that problem was to be found at Strevens 1972
74 where the sole remark referring to a GA-GB intonational contrast was
“One intonation tune that is specifically American and not British is
showing signs of being adopted by the younger generation in Britain.
This is the slowly rising tune that carries the meaning "Do you agree?"
or "Do you know what I mean?" ”. He gave the examples "Let's meet again
tomorrow. About twelve o'clock?" and "I saw that weird Mrs James again
today. The woman with the bloodshot eye?" ”. It's doubtful if, however,
such a pattern (as far as can be judged from this perhaps
under-specified description of it) has ever sounded particularly
unusual to GB speakers as spoken by other GB speakers. The remark may
well have been based on recollection of what Elizabeth Uldall referred
to in her thesis The Intonation of
American English (1939:50) as
striking her as "the most outstanding difference between the American
and the British use of tunes" where she quoted a "continuous rising
tune" on sentences like Were they at
home? and Would you like to
for a walk? These seem also not at all necessarily American-sounding if
otherwise with an English accent. It's possible to
hear Americans say such a sentence as Do you `have such a thing as a 'teaspoon? with completely level pitch on its last word but it's
doubtful that the pattern would sound entirely American if heard
from a GB speaker. The same applies to the Kingdon (Groundwork of English Intonation 1958:264) perfectly
reasonable suggestion that many Americans similarly often employ an
Alt (level) climax tone in such sentences as `Isn’t that 'pretty!
2c. The problem is that speakers have a wide range of tonal patterns to choose from, so to speak, but individuals may make quite different selections from the accent repertoire. It may well be that the frequency with which a speaker selects a particular pattern is more accent-identifying than the basic pattern itself. Also there has been little attention in the literature to how different accents have different degrees of pitch-range and tempo distributions over syllables or pitch movement within patterns.
2d. A good deal has been written in recent years about the spread of the so-called "upspeak", ie use of high rising rather than falling tones in various declarative expressions among particularly some younger American speakers. This "checking" tone, as it may be called, seems certainly far more common among young GA speakers than GB.
2e. It is also perhaps worth mentioning that the intonation literature has contained various dubious generalisations as when Pike (Intonation of American English 1945:56) declared rising-falling tones to be "very rare" in GA — true enough about his speech no doubt but an assertion indefensible in general.
When in 1966 Omar Dean Gregory of Columbia University reported on his comparison of General American and 'RP' British usages on the basis of the available 'published descriptions of the intonation patterns of the two dialects' from 'about 1900', his impression was that 'they probably use the same intonation contours more frequently' than different ones.
2f. Selection of tones is very much a matter of individual preference and temperament. Admittedly one should begin to feel on hearing an American speaker constantly selecting wide rising-falling tones that there might well be some possibility of a connection with New York or if a British speaker with perhaps Glasgow or (perhaps if not so wide but more rapid) with Wales.
2g. One very unusual though very minor difference occurs not in the intonations themselves but in the expressions correlated with them in that GA speakers generally request repetition of something not apprehended by the expressions Exˊcuse me? and ˊPardon me? which are quite uncharacteristic of GB speakers in such a use. They would usually say ˊSorry? or very informally ́What? or (more formally, as similarly from GA speakers) I ˊbeg your pardon? The elliptical usage ́Pardon? is stigmatised by some GB speakers.
There is a widespread impression among British speakers that American English in general is more nasal than most British speech. Although this is no doubt a gross over-simplification, it seems to be true that a large proportion of GA speakers do more strongly than most GB speakers nasalise stressed vowels which precede nasal consonants — though perhaps usually less strongly or with a shorter period of nasality than speakers of some languages produce their nasal vowels.
3b. It should not be thought that there is no
nasalisation in GB, whether or not in the direct vicinity of the
specifically nasal consonants / m, n / and / ŋ /: various admired GB
voice quality types involve quite large amounts of nasal resonance.
Sounds other than vowels, notably / l / and / r /, may contain quite
marked nasal elements under the influence of adjacent nasal
consonants. It's not unusual for GB speakers to employ even in
relatively careful speech fully nasal vowels in eg a word like sandwich spoken as [`sãwɪʤ]. Similarly the phrase in which is often to be heard as [ ɪ
wɪʧ] with its first /ɪ/ fully nasalised. A very casual but not rare version of the word Anyway among GB speakers is as [ẽweɪ].
In general it seems there is not a little yet to be learnt about just how
muscular settings of the supraglottal cavities and other articulatory
settings account for different types of nasality.
3c. There are within the two varieties various other types of general voice quality contrasts that may well be basically associated with particular regions such as general slight velarity or pharyngality or palatality but these features are not usually perceived as regionalisms partly because such features also occur to an extent as characteristics varying from one individual to another.
3d. There are certain subvarieties of both GA and GB which certainly have geographical limitations on their distributions but nevertheless are not perceived to be so except by all but a handful of specialist observers.
The great numbers of GA speakers who use the same vowel in eg cot and caught are not usually referred to as having regional accents; nor are ones who have a moderate degree at least of the tendency referred to by some accent specialists as the Northern Cities Chain Shift and involves correlated movements of the phonemes /ɑ/, /æ/ and /e/ respectively roughly forwards, upwards and backwards.
3e. British speakers with a more regionally restricted diphthong /ɒʊ/ alongside the unrestricted /oʊ/ which has the classic GB quality [əʊ] are accepted as "RP" users in the Wells LPD. Also mainly restricted to the southeast of England is the very common use of a markedly longer than general value /a/ before nasal consonants even in pre-enclitic contexts in words like anchor /`aŋkə/ and standard /`standəd/ etc. This has hardly ever if at all been remarked upon even among phoneticians who write on British English phonetic topics. Other GB speakers in some cases use the (recently now) subvariant /-ɪz/ rather than the predominant (rhythmically weak) /-iz/ or strong /-ijz/ in the ending of words such as ladies. Similarly the ending /-ɪz/ of horses etc has the alternant small-minority value /-əz/ also accorded recognition as "RP" in LPD.
Patterns of stressing before a word's principal stress are almost identical in the two varieties of English, except that GA usually has weak and GB regularly has strong vowels in the first syllables of mosquito GA /mə`skitoʊ/ GB /mɒ-/, Pythagoras /pə`θaɡərəs/, sombrero /səm`breroʊ/. Compare also presentation GA /'prizen`teɪʃn/ and words ending -isation with GB /-aɪ`zeɪʃn/˃ but GA /-ɪ`zeɪʃn/ in civilisation, characterisation, nationalisation, organisation, realisation, standardisation etc.
4b. In a small number of words GB has solely or predominantly schwa but GA has, either solely or mainly, uncentralised but otherwise unstressed vowels. These include /a/ in baboon, bassoon, Ca`pri, fastidious, nasturtium, papoose, platoon˂, raccoon, tattoo, taboo and trapeze, /ɑ/ in fakir, Swahili, /oʊ/ in obedience, official, omit, probation, prohibit, protract, protruberance, protrude, vociferous, /eɪ/ in Satanic etc. This pattern is reversed in curtail which is /kɜ`teɪl/ in GB but /kər`teɪl/ in GA.
4c. A GA later-than-GB pre-tonic stress occurs in improvisation, With /ɪmˈprɑvə`zeɪʃn/ compare GB /ˈɪmprəvaɪ`zeɪʃn/.
Earlier tonic stresses in GA than in GB are found in large numbers of words often particularly so in names. As Kingdon remarked in his Groundwork of English Intonation (1958:164), "In American English there is a stronger tendency towards the single stressing of compounds".
5b. In various general vocabulary items GA has exclusively (˚) or predominantly (˃) or subvariantly (˂) an earlier tonic than a common or usual GB version. See also 6c and 15a. These include
`Alka-Seltzer˚, a`boveboard˚, `accent˃ (verb), `alternate (noun or adj), `Accra, `amortize, `Argyle, a`rytenoid˃, `Astrakhan GB Astra`khan, `Augustine, `avoirdupois, `backfire˃, `banjo, `baptize, `barcarolle, `boy scout, `buckshee, ˋcement˂, `cervical˚, chim`panzee˂, `circulatory˚ GB circu`latory˃, clas`sificatory˃, `condolence˂, `congener˃, `congeries, `constitutive GB con`stitutive˃, `contractor, `controversy˚ GB con`troversy˃, `corollary, `courtesan, `despicable˂, `dictator, `disciplinary, `dilettante˂, `doctrinal˃, ˋdry-cleaner GB dry-`cleaner, `dungarees, GB dunga`rees, `elephantine GB ele`phantine˚, `expletive GB ex`pletive, `forest fire˃, `furore, `Galbraith, `gyratory, `headquarters˃, `hullabaloo, GB hullaba`loo, il`lustrative, `inquiry˂, `integral, `laboratory, `lychee, `MacNamara, ˋmanganese, `Mardi Gras, `margarine, ˋmayonnaise˃, `medullary, `millionaire˂, `miscellany˃, `obligatory˂, o`regano˚, `Pakistan, `pangolin˃, `parmesan, `partisan, `pretence˚, `prospector, `recourse˃, `refugee˂, `research, `respiratory, `recess, `renaissance˂, reveille /`revəli/˚, GB /rə`væli/˚, `romance, `saxophonist˃, `secateur˂, `shallot˂, `sitar˃, `spectator, `stewardess, `submarine, `tangerine, `towards, `trachea˚, Ty`rolean, `Ukraine, um`bilical, `urinal, `weekend˚.
5c. The latter-20th-century tendency to move the tonic stress to the initial syllable in the verbs contribute and distribute by many GB speakers has not occurred in GA.
5d. The forestressing by some American speakers of words like entire, umbrella and united whether or not preposed to a noun seems to be a Southernism rather than GA.
GA in some cases has later tonics than the commonest GB version but much less often except for fairly obviously extraneous words (on which see below §19.a) eg
adver`tisement˃, af`fluence˂, al`bumen˚, a`ristocrat˃, ba`salt˃, bi`tumen˚, bra`ssiere, caf`feine, Chi`lean˂, cli`toris˂, com`plex, com`munal˃, com`posite˃, cor`net˚, de`tail˃, dis`locate˂, eczema /ɪg`zimə/˃, elec`toral˃, evi`dently˂, finan`cier, hygienic /haɪʤi`enɪk/˂, ig`nominy˂, in`fluence˂, mi`nuscule˂, moussa`ka˂, o`mega˚, pa`prika, Pau`line, per`fume˂(noun), Phi`listine˂, phyllox`era˃, pre`cedent˃, prede`cessor˂, prema`ture˃, pre`mier˃, pre`sage˃ pro`lix˃, Rapha`el, re`spite˂, sta`lactite˃, sta`lagmite˃, su`baltern, to`pee˃, tri`bune˂, vac`cine˃, ver`mouth.
6b. GB has a common stressing ban`jo whereas GA usually has `banjo. GB has the subvariant items disci`plinary˂, elec`toral, in`ventory˂, man`datory˂.
A substantial minority of GA speakers seem to feel free to front-stress almost any sequence of two words that can be taken to be a compound. Examples are (water off a) `duck's back, the `Milky Way, `West Point.
GB occasionally departs from its usual practice to, far less oftener than GA does, use the stressingsˋSanta Claus, `Robin Hood and `Guy Fawkes.
6d. GA compounds with participles constitute a considerable group in which early stressings not found (except rhythmically conditioned) in GB either predominate or are subvariants eg `baldheaded, `bandy-legged, `bull-necked, `close-fisted, `cross-eyed, `fairminded, `foulmouthed, `gilt-edged, `knock-kneed, `long-haired, `longwinded˂, `lopsided, `mealy-mouthed, `pig-headed, `pot-bellied, `short-sighted, `simpleminded˂, `toffee-nosed.
6e. It shouldn't be imagined that GA and GB don't very largely agree on their treatment of such words as they indeed do with eg `harebrained, `henpecked, `shell-shocked, `tongue-tied, `waterlogged etc.
6f. Compound Nouns
Participle-noun types seem to be commoner than
Infinitive-noun types except in GA.
cook-book (orig. U.S.) and cookery-book
dancehall 1845 (? Sc)
frypan 1963 Amer. Speech XXXVIII. 210 The term fry pan rarely occurs before the 1950s.
rowboat OED 1538 Sc
sailboat, sail-boat n. (chiefly N. Amer.) a sailing-boat.
showpiece OED 1838 Dickens
spell checker OED ±1990
swimsuit 1964 Cf. comment by Chas Barber Linguistic Change Present-Day Eng. ii. 21
7b. Mainly as subvariants, GA has versions (not normal or at least only rarely heard in GB) with strong vowels in the final syllables of a small number words including adamant, consequent, convent, cormorant, evident˂, literature (predominantly /`lɪtərəʧʊr/), patriot, president, residence, surplus /`sɜrplʌs/. See also 9b. In the case of varicose GB has in /`værɪkəs/ predominantly a weaker ending either originating from a confusion or an unrecognised survival of the form varicous listed by OED as obsolete (1598-1786).
7c. GB sometimes has a predominant strong-post-tonic form existing in GA only as a subvariant eg Aesop GA /`isəp/ GB /`isɒp/, Amos, bankrupt, despot, Enoch, epoch /`ipɒk/ GA /`epək/, omen.
7d. GA sometimes has a strong-post-tonic form classified by most GB authorities only as a subvariant eg Ascot, mascot.
7e. GA sometimes has a weak post-tonic form not normal in GB. Compare GB acorn /`eɪkɔn/ with GA /`eɪkərn/. Cf also GA entrails /`entrəlz/˂, placard /`plækərd/˃, program /`proʊgrəm/˂, steadfast /`stedfəst/˂.
7f. GB sometimes has a common strong post-tonic subvariant much less often found in GA eg congress GA /`kɑŋgrəs/ GB /`kɒŋgrɛs/, dandruff, ingot, progress.
8a. Disyllabic causative verbs ending -ate are stressed on the root in GA but on the suffix in GB, unless they contain a prefix. The chief ones are: castrate, cremate, dictate, donate, frustrate, gyrate, hydrate, locate, migrate, mutate, narrate, placate, prostrate, pulsate, rotate, stagnate, striate(d), truncate, vacate, vibrate. (debate, relate, inflate don't etymologically contain the causative suffix so they are not the GA exceptions they might perhaps be taken to be.) A GA genuine exception is the verb to se`date. A GB genuine exception is the forestressed `filtrate. Subvariantly in GB hydrate may be forestressed. Implacable has only /æ/ in GB and in GA usually but subvariantly also /eɪ/ .
8b. The derived nouns curator, scrutator, spectator, testator maintain the same pattern by having stress on the middle syllable in GB and the first in GA except for equator which has a subvariant GA forestressed form.
8c. A couple of these have variant stressings in GA which coincide with the only GB form viz dictate and narrate. Only end-stressed in both GA and GB are create, equate, serrate(d). Forestressed in both varieties is aerate.
8d. A disyllabic verb ending with -ate containing a prefix is usually end-stressed in both GA and GB. The chief of these are: abate, collate, conflate, debate, deflate, dilate, elate, inflate, instate, negate, relate, translate. The last of these, translate, is often fore-stressed in GA.
8e. The polysyllabic elongate˚, impregnate, inculcate, inculpate, infiltrate, sequestrate are most often forestressed in GB and stressed on the syllable before the suffix in GA though this last pattern applies to both for dehydrate.
8f. Comparable to the foregoing are `fragment and `segment which are only forestressed in GA while aug`ment and cha`stise are only endstressed whereas `baptise and `capsize are just chiefly forestressed. GB endstresses all of these.
9a. When the suffix -ative is not immediately post-tonic, we find /-ətɪv/ in GB but in GA either usually or exclusively /-eɪtɪv/, eg administrative, authoritative, commemorative, communicative, educative, imitative, innovative, investigative, nominative, palliative˃, pejorative /`peʤəreɪtɪv/˃, qualitative, quantitative, vegetative.
9b. However, /-ətɪv/, besides being the exclusive GB version, is the more usual one in GA for administrative, appreciative, cooperative, cumulative, depreciative˃, decorative, figurative, generative˃, imaginative, initiative, operative.
9c. Where a strong syllable precedes -ative as in indicative, negative, provocative, representative, superlative GA and GB don't differ. Thus contemplative varies according to whether it is stressed con`templative or `contemplative.
10a. When these suffixes are not immediately post-tonic, they have in GB /-(ə)ri/ but in GA usually /-eri/ for it. These include adversary, arbitrary, cautionary, commentary, constabulary, coronary, culinary, customary, dictionary, disciplinary, estuary, honorary, imaginary, incendiary, itinerary, judiciary, literary, legendary, luminary, mercenary, military, missionary, mortuary, obituary, ordinary, preliminary, reliquary, revolutionary, salutary, sanctuary, sanitary, solitary, secretary, secondary, seminary, temporary, veterinary, vocabulary, voluntary; cemetery, confectionery, dysentery, millinery, monastery.
Exceptions are chancellery, imagery, jewellery (usually spelt jewelry in the US), savagery.
10b. In GB dromedary, February, January, necessary and secretary have /-eri/ subvariants. So do various adverbial forms which became notably commoner in GB in the latter twentieth century. These include arbiˋtrarily, custoˋmarily, miliˋtarily, momentarily, tempoˋrarily, volunˋtarily. (Right at the end of the century there was a relatively sudden very-small-minority GB surge in the pronunciation of this ending as /-ˋærəli/ which has much longer been common in Scottish English.)
10c. The endings -ary, -ery, -ative preceded in spelling by the letter i have variable implications for syllabicity (it may correspond to either /i/ or /j/) as reflected in the variations seen in the vowel used in the suffix. GA colliery, hosiery and penitentiary˚ usually end /-əri/ unlike apiary, aviary, domiciliary, incendiary, intermediary, plagiary, stipendiary˚, tertiary, topiary˚ which don't (at least not predominantly) take the unreduced vowel ie end /-ieri/. GA auxiliary usually, and beneficiary, tertiary often, have /-əri/.
10d. In contrast with GB, primary, contrary and library most often end with /-eri/ in GA. So does rosemary (which of course does not have the etymological suffix -ary).
11a. These are much more likely to be reduced in GB eg in blackberry, Burberry,cranberry, gooseberry, strawberry; anybody, everybody, nobody, somebody etc as /`blakbri, `sᴧmbədi/ etc compared with GA /`blakberi, `sᴧmbɑdi/ etc.
11b. The unreduced vowel in few words accompanies an earlier tonic in GA than in GB in `ancillary, `capillary, `corollary, `centenary, `fritillary, `laboratory, `maxillary and o`bligatory (though ar`tillery, di`stillery, in`tercalary etc mostly match GB).
These suffixes of place and personal names are most often /-əm/ and /-ʃə/ in GB but /-hm/ and /-ʃɪr/ in GA eg in Birmingham, Buckingham, Cunningham, Nottingham, Sealyham and Devonshire, Lancashire, Worcestershire. GA often has /-ʃə/ in Hampshire. The disyllabic placename suffixes -borough, -bury, and -chester are likely to be weaker in GB than in GA as respectively /-b(ə)rə/, /-b(ə)ri/ and /-ʧəstə/ compared with GA /-bɜrəʊ, -beri/ and /-ʧestər/ as in Edinburgh, Gainsborough, Marlborough, Peterborough, Scarborough; Bloomsbury, Canterbury, Shaftesbury, Shrewsbury, Tilbury; Dorchester, Manchester, Rochester, Winchester.
14a. These show the usual GA/GB post-tonic contrast reversed. It is GB which favours the unreduced-vowel form /-aɪl/ in the termination -ile and GA which most often has /-(ə)l/ or /-ɪl/ ie a weak vowel or replacement of the vowel by a syllabic consonant. This group includes agile, docile, ductile, erectile, facile, fertile, fissile, fragile, futile, hostile, imbecile˚, missile, mobile, nubile, percentile, puerile, senile, servile, sterile, tactile, textile, versatile, virile, volatile.
14b. GA has /-aɪl/ in exile, febrile˚, gentile, reptile and, at least often if not exclusively, where the suffix is the second post-tonic syllable as in crocodile, domicile, infantile, juvenile, mercantile˂ ( chiefly /-til/), reconcile. The final /-il/ both accents have in automobile is presumably due to its relatively extraneous origin.
14c. Words like docile and fragile provide interesting evidence of how relatively recently American and British usages of some types have parted company. The word docile pronounced /`dɒsl/ or /`dɒsɪl/ today in circumstances which gave no clue to its meaning would most likely be heard by people in England any time within the last half century or more with complete incomprehension yet in 1911 in the first edition of their Concise Oxford Dictionary the famous Fowler brothers gave its pronunciation preferentially in such a version – which of course would be eminently recognisable to any educated American speaker today. Murray in the OED in 1897 had already given preference to its present British version.
15b. There seems to be complete agreement on alpine, feline, leonine, lupine (adj), porcine, porcupine, saturnine, supine, vespine etc with /-aɪn/ and on /-in/ for benzine, gaberdine, grenadine, magazine, morphine, nectarine, nicotine, pristine, submarine, tangerine etc and only the regular minor contrast GA /-ən/ GB /-ɪn/ for crinoline, doctrine, feminine, heroine, masculine, sanguine, urine etc. The GA subvariant of genuine as /`ʤenjuaɪn/, as with educated Scottish and Irish usage, though not universally accepted, is much less unusual than it would be from a GB speaker who is very unlikely to employ it.
GB aileron, electron, iguanodon, mastodon normally have /-ɒn/.
GA exclusively or mainly has /-ən/ in cinnamon˚, silicon.
16b. Words like chameleon, galleon, melodeon, napoleon, odeon, pantheon; accordion, centurion, criterion, dominion, medallion, million, onion, opinion, pavilion, rebellion, scorpion, vermilion; canyon, halcyon etc have only /-ən/ in both GB and GA (their e, i or y being at least potentially /j/).
16c. Various words show a greater tendency to have an uncentralised post-tonic vowel in GA than in GB including Acheron, Avon, aeon, anacoluthon, boron˚, capon, colon, neon, nylon, plankton, pylon, python.
16d. GA and GB both prefer a strong vowel in coupon, crampon, crayon, echelon, electron, icon, moron, rayon, tampon.
16e. Some GA subvariant strong-vowel forms are unknown in GB eg cordon (except in cordon bleu etc), jargon, saffron.
Neither variety has strong -on in arson, carton, citron, comparison, felon, ganglion, horizon, mammon, Mormon, salmon, Saxon, skeleton, Solomon, tendon, venison.
16f. Similar to this group are accent˂ (very often unreduced in GB), ancestor˚, nonsense, surplus (pace MWO very common GA as /`sɜrˌplᴧs/). The noun record reverses the pattern with GA having / `rekərd / but GB / `rekɔd /. This happens also with some of the US towns called Concord.
16h. With initial vowels in immediate post-tonic position GA and GB generally agree when suffixes occur. Examples are: exemplary, granary, infirmary, notary, salary, summary, quandary; artery, discovery, distillery, emery, grocery, mystery, rockery; calorie, factory, history, ivory, memory, savoury, theory, trajectory, victory; agony, balcony, colony, harmony, monotony, symphony, telephony;inchoative, representative, provocative, talkative.
When this suffix is not immediately post-tonic always have /-(ə)ri/ in GB but usually have /-ɔri/ in GA including allegory, category, conciliatory, defamatory, derogatory, desultory, dilatory, dormitory, hallucinatory, inventory, laboratory, lavatory, migratory, obligatory, offertory, oratory, predatory, preparatory, promissory, promontory, purgatory, reformatory, repertory, statutory, territory.
19a. The stress patterns of a fairly large number of words perceived by speakers as adopted from foreign languages, tend to remain unsettled in both GA and GB. There is often a tug-of-war involving the tendency to naturalise (in part at least) by imposing first syllable stress. In some cases the relatively recent exotic origin has been forgotten.
Some have settled firmly into endstress in both GA and GB, eg bouquet, critique, facade, hotel, mystique, rapport; others into forestress, eg camouflage, espionage, fuselage, restaurant, sabotage, depot GA /`dipoʊ/ GB /`depoʊ/, dossier, gendarme.
GA and GB agree on usually forestressing canapé /`kanəpeɪ ˃-pi/ and `etiquette. GB eti`quette is rather old-fashioned. They agree on endstressing repartee but GA has a variant ending /-`teɪ/.
19b. Chiefly or only endstressed in GA are appliqué, atelier, attaché, ballet˃, Barnet, barrage˚, baton˃, Bechet, beret, Bernard, Bernice, Bizet, blasé, bra`ssiere, brochure˚, (crème) brülée, buffet, cabaret, café ˚, canapé˂, chagrin˚, chalet, chateau˚, Chopin, cliché, cornet˚, coupé (also /kup/), crochet˚, croquet˚, debris, ennui, fiancé(e)˃, filet, Flaubert, frontier, garage˚, Gerard, glacé ˚, liaison, Magyar, maquis, mas`sage, Mau`rice, me`nage, meti`er, mi`rage, Mo`sul˃, parquet, pla`teau, précis, premier, passé, pâté, potpourri, purée, Rabe`lais, regime, renais`sance˃, renti`er, resumé, retroussé, risqué, Roget, roué, Rousseau, salon, sauté, savant, sorbet, soufflé, Suez, Thoreau˃, touché, toupee /tu`peɪ/, triage, trousseau, vermouth. All of these are more often earlier-stressed in GB in which on the other hand trombone is not forestressed. This pattern is also reversed in jongleur which seems to be not usually endstressed in GA but is usually so in GB.
19c. Predominantly forestressed as in GB but subvariantly endstressed in GA are barricade, bayonet, bourgeois, boudoir, debut, detour, entracte, gendarme, sortie, tableau, Maurice, protégé, ricochet, valet, Zagreb.
Until the originally mainly-American 1970s women's liberation movement's activities led to frequent references to sexual harassment in the British media harass was a rather non-plebeian word in England always forestressed. However, after a generation or so of popular familiarity with the word it is now probably most often endstressed in GB as it usually is in GA (and in Scottish usage).
19d. The usual preferences of GA and GB are sometimes reversed, eg in GA `magazine, `moustache, (in USA usually spelt `mustache and pronounced /`mᴧsta∫ / `spinet (GB usually spi`net ).
19e. Sometimes end-stressed in GB but mainly only fore-stressed in GA are `encore, `bureau, `legume. Cf `cigarette which is usually fore-stressed in GA but only subvariantly in GB.
19f. In many names GA predominantly differs from the usual GB versions by having forestress eg in `Afrikaans, ˋDunkirk, `Baghdad, ˋBayreuth, `Beirut, ˋBucharest, ˋBudapest, `Corfu, ˋHong Kong, ˋIsfahan, `Pakistan, `Panama, `Saigon, ˋSingapore.
19h. The only important things that can be noted are that GA has no weakforms of Saint and Sir and favours the strongform more often than GB does in spontaneous speech of the pronoun them. GA has the apparently "re-stressed" strongforms of from, of and was with /ᴧ/. The GA form /(h)wᴧt/ of what may have originated in a similar way.
19i. In somewhat oratorical etc types of speech GA speakers make rather more use of /ði/ and /eɪ/ for the articles the and a. The GA weakform it, in line with its usual treatment of the enclitic syllables of words like limit, is /ət/ by contrast with the GB form /ɪt/.
19j. The weakform of you /jə/, common in GA, is hardly polite in GB except in markedly rapid articulation.
Aitch dropping is of course one of the few linguistic concepts universally known at all levels of society through its being condemned so widely (except in wh-words). Numbers of GA speakers use /hw-/ instead of /w-/ where the spelling has wh, as in when etc. On /h/, other than in the sequence /hw-/ for orthographic wh, GA and GB are in almost complete agreement. The words hour, heir, honest, honour and their derivatives have never regained their aitch sounds in sophisticated speech on either side of the Atlantic. GB very commonly has aitchless forms of abhor etc.
Aitchless minority forms of homage, human and humour seem to be not unusual in GA. The first of these was given by Artin in the 1961 Webster by bracketing "(h)" which is the ODP indication too; the current Webster online gives aitchless homage explicit priority. In GB they can only be said to be abnormal. An aitchless form of at-home is not attested for GA. It is for GB in LPD but is tending to become old-fashioned. The GA aitchless forms of herb, human, humble, humour, huge, Humphrey and upholstery are not normal in GB though such a form exists subvariantly for hotel. In GA forehead it seems more usually lacks the /h/ than in GB which has relatively lately mainly restored it to the word.
Aitchless forms of words with letter h in a
pretonic weak syllable are common subvariants in GB in historical, philharmonic, prehistoric etc. They seem not to be very
usual in GA (excepting for philharmonic).
The use of the weakform an before words like historical is common at least in GB, with the /h/ often used. The word vehicle with its aitch pronounced can hardly be described as a GB usage but it certainly has currency in GA.
Very little heard in GB is the fairly common GA use in
unstressed situations of a weakform of have with unreduced vowel, viz
/æv/. Very much the same can be said of the other grades of have, namely has and had. This observation I have not found in any description of GA. I first pointed it out in 1977 in my book People Speaking
at p. 60. These elisions are not confined to US colloquial speech.
Katherine Hepburn, playing the part of a Queen speaking with dignity,
could be heard to use them freely in the 1968 movie The Lion in Winter.
The sequence to have in GB under weak stress is often /tæv/ or /təv/ – another fact unrecorded in the textbooks.
GB speakers do not use /r/ when an <r> is represented in the spelling as coming immediately before consonant-letters (within a word) or before a pause. After /ɑ/, /ɔ/ or [ə] ending a word and followed in close rhythmic connection by a vocalic sound, as in the classic example idea of /aɪ`diər əv/, the great majority of GB speakers regularly employ such r-sounds.
Some GB speakers even introduce so-called "intrusive" unhistorical-analogical linking r's inside words like drawing, gnawing, pawing, sawing, (humming and) ha-ing etc. Very many say eg /kæfkə`resk/ for Kafkaesque, /gɔɪə`resk/ for Goyaesque and the like.
GA does not normally employ r-sounds not represented in the spelling. An exception is colonel which in GA is homophonous with kernel.
In a number of words in "dissimilative" situations, GA drops /r/ quite widely eg in berserk, bombardier, caterpillar, comfortable, entrepreneur, February /`febjueri/ (cf GB /`febr̩i/), governor, government, library, northerner, particular, reservoir, sarsaparilla (given by MWO as the predominant form), surprise, thermometer, Worcester but not in words where a first simple /r/ begins its syllable eg in literature.
Similarly dissimilatively, GB very often drops an /r/ in words like prerogative, prescription, and protrude in their unstressed syllables. There are very few examples of such forms in the dictionaries. An exception is Kenyon & Knott (1944) where at p.xlvi Dissimilation is discussed and where various items are given at their entries eg at proportion and proprietor. Certain other words do so in GB even in stressed syllables notably in programme which very often loses one or the other of its r's. Mostly in fairly casual styles GB drops /r/ from very.
In GA the word oeuvres in hors d'oeuvres may have no /r/ at all or, if one is heard, it is before the /v/ rather than after it, while oeuvre on its own or in chef d'oeuvre may be /`ɜvrə/ or /`ɜrvrə/. Various other expressions having no r in their spelling but, requiring the /ɜ/ type of vowel, are commonly heard with /ɜr/ eg à deux, chanteuse, coup d'oeil, Goebbels, Goethe, masseuse, milieu, (faute de) mieux.
Yod-dropping (a convenient term familiar to readers of Wells's indispensable Accents of English of 1982 and actually first introduced into the literature in Windsor Lewis 1971, a more limited precursor to the present paper) is applicable to large numbers of GA monosyllables and tonics of polysyllables eg tube, Tuesday, tune, student, stupid, opportunity, reduce, due, duke, during, duty, produce, neutral, new, nuisance, numerous, pursuit, exude, zeugma, Zeus) in which most GA speakers omit the approximant /j/ from stressed syllables in preference to employing the sequence /juː/ after the consonants /t, d, n, s, z/ — all of which involve alveolar contact. Mainly small minorities of ageing GB speakers keep yods after /θ/ and the alveolar consonants /s, z, l/, eg in enthusiasm, lewd, suit, solution. In mainstream GA assume, consume, presume and resume the yodless forms clearly predominate as they do largely in Arthurian, ensue, hirsute, pseudo, Thucydides etc. The archaic word thews maybe expected to be expected to be heard as /θjuːz/ in British performances of Shakespeare.
GA minorities elide yod where a prior /u/ is replaced by a schwa eg in consulate /`kɑnsələt/, cornucopia, encapsulate, insulate, peninsula. This kind of elision can be heard from GB speakers but cannot said to be widely accepted as other than at best casual in style.
GA words usually (but not invariably) having no yod in post-post-tonic syllables with secondary stress include: attitude, avenue, gratitude, residue, retinue, substitute. In syllables immediately following primary or secondary stresses the more usual GB tendency is to produce the postalveolar consonants /ʧ, ʤ, ʃ/ or /ʒ/, but this conversion is carried out more thoroughly in GA than GB in which the original and coalesced forms may persist side by side, eg for educate, modulate, issue˃, tissue˃. Normally or (in some cases) invariably coalesced GB examples include: actual, architecture˚, congratulate, fortune˚, measure, punctuality, virtue˚, procedure˚, pressure˚, usual˚.
Words like annual, continuous, deluge, perfume, sinew, soluble, value, and volume can all have yod beginning an unstressed syllable in both GA and GB. It seems that costume has predominantly no yod in GA.
Common but apparently little if at all recorded GB variants of
items like annual and continuously etc can be heard as
Both GA and GB have common (though hardly recognised) variants of words like carrying /`kærɪŋ/ and worrying /£ `wᴧrɪŋ $ `wɜrɪŋ/ with elided yod.
GB may lack a yod one might have expected to occur in the words Aquascutum, BUPA, figure (which is /`fɪgə/ in GB but /`fɪgjər/ in GA), lugubrious, muesli˂, recuperate, satsuma and scuba. One might also have expected a yod in manoeuvre (US spelling maneuver thanks to Noah Webster who put it in one of his Spelling Books) but it's unusual in GB to hear one. A curious reversal of the usual GA/GB distributional pattern. In GB tuna has a yodless variant which like the GA yodless form of puma is possibly at least in part due to the word's provenance from Spanish. GA has a yodless variant of lacuna possibly due to its perception as derived from Latin. The common form /`saɪnaɪ/ of Sinai in GA and GB no doubt betokens yod loss. GA usually has no yod in kudos /`kuːdɑs/˃. GA (and GB) Sioux /su/ no doubt dropped a yod long ago.
This occurs in GA in /`sɑːdər/ solder (GB /`sɒldə, `səʊldə/) and w /`dʌbjə/˂ and occasionally in mainly casual speech in items like value /`væju/, railroad /`reɪroʊd/ etc some of which are not completely unknown in GB.
In GB loss of an /l/ is very common in almost, always, railway, vulnerable, wholly (rendering it homophonous with holy) etc and syllable-finally some speakers vocalise /l/ to a weak /u/ in forms like /`veɪu/ veil, /`reɪueɪ/ railway etc mainly in markedly southeastern types of accent.
The GA common restoration of /l/ in words like calm, palm etc is very unusual in GB but can be heard at times. On the other hand the variant /reɪf/ for Ralph is not current in GA.
Some GA speakers may drop the /l/ in polka /`poʊlkə/ and in words like million /`mɪjən/.
22a. A striking difference
between GA and GB is the existence of large numbers of words which in
GA have completely unremarkable versions in which a medial t of the
spelling preceded by an n is
not heard eg as in sentimental
/senə`menəl/ and in many other words such as advantage, center, sentence (making for
rhymes with manage, senna, penance), gentleman, twenty etc.
This means that eg inter-city
and inner-city are widely homophonous.
This feature appears yet to be fully accepted as normal by most
lexicographers. It is acknowledged in LPD (by the use of italic type for
the "voiced /t/" symbol) tho not in EPD.
22b. In rapid counting /`tweni/ or even /`twəni/ can be heard for twenty and /`pleni/ for plenty in
casual GB speech but such simplifications of /-nt-/ are heard in GB otherwise only
in the fairly markedly colloquial forms of going-to /gənə/ (before
vowels /gənu/) and want-to
/wɒnə/ (before vowels /wɒnu/) written gonna
and wanna. Even more casual are the comparable forms of went-to.
22c. LPD doesn't extend similar recognition to GA forms with elided /d/ in words like understand.
22d. Both GA and GB regularly drop the first /n/ in government and GB at least very often does so in other /-ənm-/ sequences eg in abandonment, environment, imprisonment etc sometimes with the intermediate reduction /-əmm-/.
22e. In a colloquial form of something as /`sʌmpm̩/ GA elides almost the whole second half of the word leaving only its final consonant as /m/. The nearest GB equivalent would be /`sʌmɪŋ/ but many would probably regard it as unacceptable — if they noticed it.
22f. Spelling influence is obviously responsible for GA /tə`rӕzoʊ/˃ for terrazzo whereas GB has /tə`rӕtsoʊ.
22g GA has elision of /k/ from (ant)arctic not exactly sanctioned in GB. Both recognise it in asked.
23a. Where GB mainly tends to keep any yod /j/ intact (or retain /i/ where development of yod is resisted) where an unstressed syllable follows, GA almost exclusively converts the /s, z/ etc yod into /ʃ, ʒ/ etc (and any /-u-/ to schwa). Examples are Aloysius, artesian, Australasian, bestial, cassia, Cassius /`kæʃəs/, celestial, cordial /`kɔrʤəl/, credulous, Elysian, flatulence, fraudulent /`frɔʤələnt/, Frisian, glacier /`gleɪʃə, `gleɪʒə/, glazier˂, grazier, hessian, hosiery, Indonesian, issue /`ɪʃu/, Jesuit˂, Lucius, omniscient, ordure, otiose/`oʊʃoʊs˃/, Parisian /pə`rɪʒn˃/, pendulum, petulant, Rabelaisian˃, statutory, Theodosius, tissue, Tunisia /tu`niʒə, tu`ni∫ə/ etc.
23b. GA has either completely or mainly resisted assibilation in the following: anorexia, audience, Celsius, dyslexia, gymnasium, potassium /pə`tæsiəm/ coaxial, gradient, Halcyon, hideous, ingredient, magnesium, medium, nausea, obedience, odious, primordial, radial, sociology, symposium /˃-ʒəm/, tedious˃ (/`tiʤəs/ is very unusual GB), trapezium.
23c. Coalescence of alveolar with palatal, although usual in many GB words, is often (by contrast with the usual GA practice) replaced by (more "careful") sub-variant de-coalescent forms eg for casual, censure, controversial, immediately, sensual, sexual, soldier. Though for educate in GB /`edjukeɪt/ predominates, the /dj/ is an now an affricate very similar to /ʤ/ by contrast with its unaffricated Victorian value to be heard plainly in recordings of speakers like Daniel Jones. Much the same goes for eg costume and graduate (whether noun or verb). Though GB immediate is usually /ɪ`midiət/ the adverb is very often /ə`miʤətli/. The word controversial has in GA agenst the usual tendency a subvariant version /kɑntrə`vɜrsiəl/.
23d. A group of words derived from yod-coalesced forms ending -sion generally differ in that GA has /-ʒ(ə)n/ for them and GB has /-ʃ(ə)n/ but commonly the former as subvariant. They include aspersion, aversion, conversion, dispersion, diversion, excursion, immersion, incursion, perversion, reversion, submersion and version. In both GA and GB equation has chiefly /-ʒn/ and torsion only /-ʃn/. In GA but not GB coercion and nausea have variant /-ʒ-/ .
24a. The affricate /ʧ/ in word-internal situations having had the historically prior sequences /-kʧ-/ or /-pʧ-/ is quite commonly reduced to /∫ / in GB for the most part relatively casual utterances but is much more generally used in GA in various common words including eg actual, effectual, factual, intellectual, manufacture, picture, sanctuary, unctuous; capture, scripture, structure, voluptuous.
Other occurrences of vacillation between /ʧ/ and /ʃ/ are due to different causes. Appalachian has a subvariant /ʃ/ possibly because many English speakers tend to assume that ch in any extraneous word is more likely to be /ʃ/ than have its usual English value. Braggadocio /bragə`dəʊʧiəʊ/˃ in GB is /-əʊʃiəʊ/ in GA. GB for chassis has only /`ʃasi/; GA has predominantly / `ʧasi/.
24b. GB has very common subvariant simplifications of /ʤ/ to /ʒ/ in
dangerous, deluge, liege, refuge
etc that are well attested for GB and apparently not at all for
GA. For GB management as /`manɪʒmənt/ is perfectly common but not attested in any dictionary. So also are / `deɪndrəs/ for dangerous and /`natrəli/ for naturally.
24c. GA generally aims at closer approximation to the Chinese sound in eg Chou (en Lai) having /ʤoʊ/ where GB has /ʧoʊ/.
In a few words GA and GB make different choices between soft and sharp consonants.
GA has exclusively(˚) , usually (˃) or only subvariantly(˂) in the following:
25a. /z/ in asthma˚, basic˃, bras`sière˃, business/-nəz/˂, eczema˃ /ɪg`zimə˃/, Isaiah˚, Jerusalem˂, Jesus/-əz/˂, laissez-faire˂, `refuse˂ (noun), renais`sance˂, ruse˃ , uxorious˂, versus˂.
25b. In GA /z/ in greasy seems to be less recessive than it is in GB. In UK only LPD records the variant Jesus/`ʤiːzəz/ but then only (with doubtful justification: one has heard it from the Queen) as non-GB.
25c. /s/ in Bernese˂ (and likewise subvariantly with numerous words ending -ese), blouse, blouson, Chrysler, diagnose, Denise, dextrose, diesel˂, erase, expertise˂, hypotenuse˚, Joseph˂, Josaiah˂, Lesley, Leslie, mimosa, muesli˃, numis`matic˂, parse, pubis˂, resource, Syracuse, talisman, Teresa˃, treatise˃, valise, vase/veɪs˃z/.
25d. /ʒ/ cashmere, luxury˂, Persian, version etc.
For the ending -sia GA usually has exclusively /ʒ/ ̊ (GB has only predominantly /z/: but in Asia has quite recently acquired /ʒ/ predominantly), amnesia, anesthesia, euthanasia, fantasia˃, freesia, Polynesia˃, Silesia˃ but /ʃ/ predominates in magnesia.
25e. GA has usually /ʤ/ in congratulate˂ and in luxury whereas GB has /kən`graʧuleɪt/˃. For longitude GA has only /ʤ/ whereas GB equally favours /`lɒŋgɪtjuːd/.
25f. GA has /θ/ in with˃, zither, /ð/ in the plural moths, and subvariantly in brothel. By contrast with its only accepted orthographical /hahttp://www.yek.me.uk/form GA has variants much less common than
25g. GA may insert /p/ into amphitheater even often simultaneously eliding the /f/ ie /`ampəθɪətər/.
Various words in modern English display variation between present vowel types which often owe their origin to what were merely length variations in earlier stages of the language. In some cases the abandonment of an alternative has occurred differently on either side of the Atlantic and in others only a marked predominance in favour of one of two or more forms has emerged. Other contrasts are due to differing choices of vowel to approximate to the extraneous word values in various loans including those from the classical languages Latin and Greek as pronounced in the reforms of the latter nineteenth century etc.
26a. GA has or may have "long a" /eɪ/ as opposed to GB's usual or only /æ/ in Adolph, basil, canine, gala˃ (GB /ɑ/), glacier ̊, patriot, patronize, `placate (GB /plə`keɪt), ration˂, strata (which also may have /æ/ but not GB's usual /ɑ/), vase. Some GB speakers may employ /`peɪtriət/ exclusively for the American missile. GB prefers /eɪ/ in patriarch. (There is GA/GB harmony in respect of pătrimony, pātron and pătronage.)
26b. By contrast with GA's /eɪ/, extraneous ("Continental") /ɑ/ occurs in GB in charade, promenade, suave, tomato, vase. Mainly during the second quarter of the 20th century /ɑ/ replaced /eɪ/ in GB for strata.
26c. GA has or may have "short a" /æ/ in appa`ratus, apricot˃, baˋnana, ˋdahlia, ˋdata˂, ˋdrama˂, ˋgala˂, gratis˃, patently˃, stabilize˂, status˂. In the latter syllable of comrade GA prefers /a/ but GB more often has /eɪ/. Both have subvariants with /ə/.
26d. In GA some speakers have /a/ and others /e/ in words where /r/ follows such as marry & narrow. Thus paragraph may be /`parəgraf/ or /`perəgraf/. GA for the name Aaron has /erən/ or /arən/; GB /ɛərən/.
26e. GA /æ/ in wrath while universal in GA is alien to GB except that it may sometimes be heard in imitation of the Scottish pronunciation of the Scottish placename Cape Wrath.
The isolated words example and sample have GA /æ/ and GB /ɑ/.
27b. GA /æf/ corresponds to GB /ɑf/ in abaft, after, aftermath˂, autograph˃, behalf, calf (plurals GA /kævz/ GB /kɑvz/), cenotaph˃, chaff ˃, craft, crafty, craftsman, daft, distaff, draft, draught, epitaph˃, giraffe, graph˃, half /hɑf/ (plurals GA /hævz/ GB /hɑvz/), laugh, lithograph˃, Mafia˃, monograph˃, photograph˃, raft, rafter, seismograph˃, shaft, staff, telegraph˃. The noun salve (ointment) and the verbs calve, halve and salve (apply ointment), have GA /a˃/ but GB /ɑ/ except that the last is most often /salv˃/ in GB.
Contrast ash /a/ for both in: affable, Baffinland, Braff, café, caftan, chaffinch, chiffchaff, daffodil, drastic, faff, gaffe, gaffer, graphic, graphite, Jaffa, Japhet, Kaffir, Laffan, Mafeking, pilaf, photographic, psychopath, raffle, snaffle, raffish, Raphael, riffraff, naphtha, scaffolding, scaphoid, Staffa, Stafford, Taff, Taft, traffic.
27c. GA /æθ/ corresponds to GB /ɑθ/ in (after)math˃, bath, Bath (Party), lath˃, path
Contrast /æ/ in both for: Bathsheba, Bathurst˃, bathysphere, Cathcart, Catherine, hath, mathematics, math(s), osteopath, pathological, polymath, psychopath, (names beginning:) Strath- and also Catherine, Gath, Hathaway, Kath, Kathleen, Kathryn, Plath, Rathbone, McGrath.
27d. GA /æð/ corresponds to
GB /ɑð /in baths, lather˃, paths,
Both have the ash vowel in blather, fathom, gather but the more retracted /ɑ/ in father.
27e. GA /æs/ corresponds to GB /ɑs/ in alabaster˃, aghast, ask, ass˂ (as term of contempt only), avast, bask, basket, bastard˃, blast, brass, broadcast, casket, casque, cast, caste, caster, castle, castor, clasp, class, contrast, dastardly˂, disaster, fasten, flabbergast, flask, forecast, gasp, ghastly, glass, grasp, grass, hasp˃, impasse˃, last, Madras, mask, masque, mast, master, nasty, outcast, outlast, overcast, paschal˃, pass, past, pastime, pastor, pasture, Prendergast˃, rascal, repast, sarsaparilla, steadfast, surpass, vast.
Names with GB /ɑ/ include Aldermaston, Belfast˃/æ/, Castleford, Damascus˂, Glastonbury˂, Grasmere, Grassington, Madras˃, Newcastle, Plaistow, Prendergast˃.
The widely known trade term Elastoplast is /ɪ`læstəplɑst/ because its final element embodies the root of plaster. Also /ɪ`læstəplæst, ɪ`lɑstəplɑst/.
Both GA & GB have /æ/ in Alaska, amass, ambassador, angioplasty, ascertain, Askew, asp, aspect, aspen, asphalt, aspic, aspidistra, aspiration, aspirin, Aspley, Aspro, Asquith, ass, assassin, aster, asterisk, asteroid, asthma, Aston, Astra, astrakhan, astronaut, astronomic, Athabasca, Baskerville, basso˃, blasphemy˃, bombast, brassica, Brassington, canasta, cascade, cascara, Caspar, Caspian, Cass, Cassiopeia, Cassell, cassock, Casson, castigate, castrate, catastrophe, chastity, classic, classify, crass, Craster, crevasse, cuirass, diaspora, drastic˃, dynastic, elastic˃, emasculate, enthusiast, exasperate˃, fantastic, fascinate, fiasco, gas, Gascony, gasket, Gaston, gastric, gymnast, ha`rass, iconoclast, jackass, jasper, Jocasta, Jurassic, lambast˂, lascar, lass, lassitude, Madagascar, masculine˃, Maskell, masquerade˃, mass, massive, mastectomy, mastic, masticate, mastoid, masturbate, molasses, monastic, morass, Nasser˃, Nebraska, onomastic, Pascoe, passage, passenger, passim, passive, pederast, pilaster, plastic˃, plasticene, procrastinate, pyroclastic, Rasselas, Rastafarian, Rastus, rhinoplasty, Sebastian, spastic, stochastic, tabasco, tassel, vassal.
27f. GA /ænd/ corresponds to GB /ɑnd/ in Alexander, Alexandra Alexandria, Alexandrine, Cassandra˂, command, commando, countermand, demand, Flanders, reprimand, slander and names including, Sanders, Sandra˃, Sandridge.
Both have /æ/ in Amanda, Andrew, android, band, bland, brand, candid, Candida, candle, candour, candy, Cassandra˃, coriander, dander, Dando, dandy, expand, gander, Gandhi˃, germander, gerrymander, gland, goosander, grand, hand, land, Mandalay, Manderley, Manders, Mandy, meander, Menander, oleander, pander, Panda, philander, Randall, Randolph, random, Randay, salamander, Samarcand, sand, sandwich, sandal, Sandy, Scandinavian, shandy, stand, Tandy, vandal.
27g. GA /ænt/ corresponds to GB /ɑnt/ in advantage, aren't (when "am not"), can't, chant, chantry, enchant, disenchant, grant, implant, plainchant, plant, shan't, slant, vantage(-point).
Contrast /æ/ in both for adamantine, ant, anti-, antic, antler, Antrim, Atlantic, banter, Bantry, Blanton, cant, Canterbury, cantilever, canto, commandant˃, corybantic, descant, elephantine, extant, fantasy, fantastic, frantic, gal`lant, gallivant, gantry, gigantic, hierophant, Infanta, Levant, mantle, mantra, pant, panties, pantomime, pantry, pedantic, Plantagenet, plantain˃, plantation˃, rant, recant, romantic, Santa, scanty, shanty, sycophantic, tantamount.
27i. GA /ænʃ/ corresponds to GB /ɑːnʃ/ in avalanche, Blanche, Blanchflower, branch, ranch, stanch˃, stanchion˃, tranche˃.
Both have /æ/ in circumstantial˂ and substantial˂.
GA usually has or prefers /æ/ in Alabama, cadre /`kædr/, Colorado, Nevada etc.
GB has /ɑ/ in Bach, Braque, cadre /`kɑdə/, Giovanni˃, Iran, Iraq˃, moustache /mə`stɑʃ/, plaque˃, pyjamas.
GB has phalanx as /`fæl-/ GA as /`feɪl-/;
GB has asphalt /`asfalt˃/, GA /-fᴐlt, -fɑlt/.
Both have, at least predominantly, /æ/ in Cervantes˃, Diana, Havana, piano (the instrument but not the musical direction which has /ɑ/), but /ɑ/ in armada (GA also /eɪ, ӕ/) , desperado (GA also /eɪ/˂), drama, el dorado (GA also /də`reɪdoʊ/), guano, marijuana, nirvana.
GA has subvariant /a/ in Appalachian for which in GB one usually hears only the GA predominant /eɪ/.
27l. GB prefers /kɔ-/˃, GA has /kʊ-/ in courgette.
Front-rounded vowels usu become /ɜ/ in GB. The fact that GA has no
native long central vowel except as followed by /r/ has conduced to very
variable treatment of such vowels. GA has in various words /ʊ/ or /ᴐ/ or /eɪ/ or /oʊ/ or /ju/ or /ə/ or /ɜ/. Examples include oeuvre GA /ʊvrə/ GB/ɜvrə/; boeuf GA /bʊf, bʌf, boʊf/ GB /bɜf/ but oeil-de-boeuf GA /ʌ də `bʌf˃/ GB /ɜɪ də `bɜf/; trompe l’oeil GA /trᴐmp `ləɪ ˃/ GB /trɒmp `lᴐɪ ˃/; Goethe GA /geɪtə/˃; föhn GA /feɪn/ GB /fɜn/; Schönberg GA /`ʃoʊnbɜrg˃/ GB /`ʃɜnbɜg/.
chauffeur GA /ʃoʊ`fɜr/ GB /`ʃəʊfə/; Depardieu GA /ˌdepɑr`djə/ GB /`dəpɑrdjɜ/˃; milieu GA /mil`ju˃/ GB /mi`ljɜ/; Monsieur GA /məs`jɜr˃/ GB /mə`sjɜ/; Peugeot GA /pju`ʒoʊ/ GB /`pɜʒəʊ/; Richelieu GA /`rɪʃlu˃/ GB /`riʃliɜ/˃. Cf §34d.
27n. Nasal vowels mat be
preserved in GB where GA may denasalise the original, always French,
vowel but convey nasality by articulating a nasal consonant of the
spelling eg élan GB /eɪ`lɒ̃˃/ GA /eɪ`lɑn/, Candide GB /kɒ̃(n)`did/GA /kɑn`did/˃, Chopin GB /`ʃɒpa/ GA /ʃoʊ`pӕn/, enfant (terrible) GB /ˈɒ̃fɒ̃.../ GA /ɑnˈfɑn.../, pension GB /`pɒ̃sjɒ̃/ GA /pɑn`sjoʊn/.
The "double e" of been usually has /ɪ/ in GA but not so often in GB. The "long e" of appreciative in GA can be subvariantly shortened to /ɪ/ in a way unknown to GB.
A rather variable item renege (also spelt, at least in Ireland, reneague) besides being /rə`nig/ may have as its stressed vowel in GB /eɪ/. In GA its usually heard with /e/. It may also in both GA and GB be /ɪ/.
occurs in GA, often predominantly, in contrast with GB /i/ in Æsculapius, Aeschylus˃, (a)esthetic, an(a)esthetist,centenary /sen`tenəri/, Daedalus˃, devolution, ecumenical (both e's), epoch, era˃, esoteric, ethos˂, Eva˂, evolution˃, febrile˃, Hephaestus, hysteria /hɪ`steriə/˃, lever, methane, methyl GB /i/˂, Oedipus, oestrus, pederast GB/e/˃, pedophile (GB /i/˃), Phaedrus, predecessor /`predəsesər/, predilection, quaestor˃, schizophrenia /skɪtsə`freniə˂/. The single word catch has a GA subvariant form /keʧ/.
Conversely GA prefers /i/ in Cecil, crematorium˃, Megan˃(also /eɪ/), Petrarch˃, presentation/ˈprizen`teɪʃn/˃. Likewise with zebra in which /e/ has recently largely replaced /i/ in GB. The two varieties agree on having only /iː/ in Aesop.
In the present century in contexts where the term is used figuratively, as so commonly in the US but less so in the UK, from American influence no doubt, leverage as /`levərɪʤ/ has recently often come to be heard from British speakers in political etc contexts instead of the otherwise usual /`livərɪʤ/. In GA lever is /`levər/ and in GB only /`livə/.
GA before /r/ prefers eg for inherent
/ɪr/ but GB
usually has /er/ (in fact only relatively recently and probably under the
analogical influence of inherit). GA has /ɪr/ and GB /iə/ in coherent. For the sole word deterrent GA has /ɜr/; GB has only /er/ which is also a GA subvariant.
as it is sometimes termed, occurs in GA in a variety of words including aphrodisiac, automobile, bulimia, Frisian, hemophiliac˂, impetigo˃, memorabilia, Maria, Parisian, prima ballerina, St Cecilia, Tunisia(n) etc some of which still have or used to have /ɪ/. In GB most of these versions have currency as well except for aphrodisiac, impetigo, Parisian and Tunisia(n). St Cecilia converted predominantly to /i/ in GB during the second half of the last century. GB has /i/ in invalid /`ɪnvəlid/˃ in preference to /-ɪd/ and in contrast with GA's final schwa /`ɪnvələd/. For appliqué GB has /ə`pliːkeɪ/ GA /æplə`keɪ/. For `migraine GB has /miː, maɪ- / and /mɪ-/ GA only the last. For prima donna GA has /`prɪmə/ but GB has probably more often /`primə/.
/aɪ/ occurs in GA in adver`tisement, anti-, dynasty, Iran˂, longlived, multi-, quinine˃ (in both syllables), semi-, shortlived, simultaneous, tricolour, vitamin.
GB has /aɪ`zaɪə/ for Isaiah which is /aɪ`zeɪə/ in GA.
GA in`quiry has /aɪ/ but may subvariantly be forestressed when schwa occurs in its second syllable /`ɪnkwəri/.
The GA subvariants /aɪ`tæliən/ for Italian and /aɪ`reɪniən/ for Iranian are not accepted GB usage, tho /aɪ`tælɪk/is so for italic according to LPD & ODP as opposed to EPD.
GB has "short i" /ɪ/ in privacy˃ and GA can have /ɪ/˂ in xylophone.
GA has "short i" /ɪ/in primer and forsythia which has been replaced in GB by /aɪ/ since Victorian times. GA has /ɪ/ in Syracuse and subvariantly in divisive.
GA not very commonly exhibits a subvariant form of the -ing ending
This could be heard eg from Nixon, a Californian. The Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward, an Illinois originary, once using it in company with his GA "soft" /t/ in the word coating, led me momentarily to think I’d heard the word codeine.
GA has "long o" /oʊ/ in shone, solace˂, solstice˂, Sonia.
GB has only /∫ɒn/ shone and usually /`sɒniə/ Sonia.
However GB prefers /oʊ/ in codicil where GA has /ɑ/.
Besides the traditional /oʊ/ of bold, sold, soldier, solder˂ etc during the middle decades of the last century GB developed subvariant forms such as involve, revolver, solve etc, possibly influenced by the notably "dark" /l/ of London and other areas, but this variant has not gained much ground.
29b. GA speakers use /ɔ/ for the "o" carrying a non-minimal degree of stress in the final syllable of alcohol and /ɑ/ or subvariantly /ɔ/ in aerosol, olfactory, oratory, parasol, solve, involve etc.
(This group mostly had /ɔ/ in GB until the end of the 19th century.)
Compare also because, cauliflower, sausage, Vauxhall; false, fault, laurel, Lawrence, Lawrie, Maurice, want˃, vault.
In few cases GA has developed /ʌ/ in stressed words which are in most cases more often heard unstressed with /ə/ viz was, wasn't, from, of, what /wʌz, wʌznt, frʌm˂, ʌv˃, (h)wʌt˂/. Many GA speakers use hardly if at all different vowel qualities for /ə/ and /ʌ/.
(ii) authority, majority, borrow, coral˃, correspond, historical, horrible, moral, porous, sorry, tomorrow; quarantine, quarrel, warrant.
(When a huge American oil-tanker foundered in the English Channel off Cornwall in 1967 its unfamiliar name Torrey Canyon presented the British media with the problem of whether to adopt the American pronunciation of its name, which coincided with the British word Tory /`tɔri/, or to opt for /`tɒri/ which was how it would have been spoken as a British name. The latter choice was generally made.)
29d. In GA either exclusively or usually (with subvariant /ɔ/) they have /ɑ/ in agnostic, bathos˚, blossom, boss, cosmos˚(stressed syllable), ethos˚, Gothic, orange˃, possible, reredos˚, swan, swamp˃.
are very different from those of most other forms of English in syllables closed by the voiced-type velar consonants /g/ and /ŋ/ because many of them have the possibility at least of containing the relatively long vowel /ɔ/ though it is never the exclusive GA possibility – which /ɑ/ often is. It's usually an alternant of /ɑ/ and in some cases isn't found at all. Examples are:
(i) /ɔ/ alternating with subvariant /ɑ/: catalog(ue), dog, blog, frog, hog, log, monolog(ue); cheong sam (MWO), belong, honky-tonk, long (MWO), prolong (MWO), prong, song, strong, wrong (MWO).
Compare also gone GA /gɔn˃gɑn/ GB /gɒn/ (rarely /gɔn/ to the early 20th century).
(ii) /ɑ/ alternating with subvariant /ɔ/: bog, clog, fog, jog, smog; bongo, dongle, Hong Kong, ping-pong
(iii) only /ɑ/ is recorded for: agog, cog, flog, golliwog, grog, nog, slog, snog, sprog, tog, troglodyte; oncology, bronchitis, Bronx, Congo, conquer, jonquil.
29f. "Short o" in mainly extraneous words. In the absence from GA of a more or less fully back fully open vowel phoneme has meant that, whereas GB speakers perceiving such a vowel in a word they are adopting from an extraneous source accord it their /ɒ/ phoneme, GA speakers are obliged to adopt for it either their /ɑ/ or their /ɔ/ or their /oʊ/ which they do with rather unpredictable variability.
Thus we find the following GA contrasts with GB /ɒ/:
adios /oʊ/˚, alcohol /ɔ/˚, atoll /ɔ, ɑ/, ayatollah /oʊ/, Barbirolli /ɑ, ɔ/, Barbados /oʊ, ə/ baroque /oʊ, ɑː, ɔ/ (GB /oʊ/˂), bathos /ɑ, oʊ/, Boccherini /oʊ/, Boche /ɑ, oʊ/, Bogotà /oʊ/, Bolognaise /oʊ/, bossa (nova) /ɑ, oʊ/, calvados /oʊ/, chocolate /oʊ, ɑ/, Chopin /oʊ/, cochlea /oʊ, ɑ/, cognac /oʊ/, Colin /ɑ, oʊ/, concerto grosso /oʊ/, Coppola /oʊ, ɑ/, coronary /`kɔrəneri, kɑ-/, Cos /ɑ,oʊ/ cosmos /`kɑzmoʊs, -əs, -ɑs/, Djokovic /oʊ/. dossier /ɔ, ɑ/, Fokker /ɑ/, Galapagos /oʊ/, gnocchi /ɔ, ɑ/, holocaust /oʊ, ɑ/, interpol /oʊ, ɔ/, honi (soit) /ɑ, ɔ, oʊ/, Kos /ɑ, ɔ, oʊ/, Kosovo /oʊ/, kudos/ɑ, oʊ/, logos /`loʊgɑs,-oʊs/, mocha /oʊ/, Nokia /oʊ/, parasol /ɔ, ɑ/, pathos/ɑ, ɔ, oʊ/, Pinocchio /oʊ/, Pocahontas /oʊ/, /polka /oʊ/, Prokofiev /oʊ/, protégé /oʊ/, Provençal /oʊ/, Rioja /ri`oʊhɑ/, risotto /ɔ, ɑ/, saltimbocca /oʊ, ɑ/, Sochi /oʊ/, Somme /ɑ, ᴧ, ɔ/, Tolstoy /ɔ, ɑ, oʊ/, was(n't) /ᴧ/, what /ᴧ/, yog(h)urt /`jəʊgərt/.
This usual pattern is reversed in Adonis in which GA prefers /ɑ/ and GB /əʊ/.
29g. "Short o" in unstressed syllables is or may be schwa in a few GA words in which GB usually has /ɒ/ including Aesop, Amos˚, Barbados˂ cosmos˃, pathos˂.
30a. "Short oo" /ʊ/ in hoof etc. This in hoof alternates with /u/ in GA; GB reverses that pattern. GA Buddha, coop, hoop, roof and root have subvariant forms with /ʊ/ (as have room, broom etc in both varieties). For the word cuckoo the GA predominant form is /`kuku/˃ which is mainly alien to GB which normally has only /`kʊku/. The same pattern applies to guru. GA has /u/ in fe`lucca; GB has /ʌ/. GA has /ʌ/ in brusque; GB /u˃ʊ/.
30b. "Short u" etc in GA before r-plus-a-vowel has only two dozen or so common words: borough, burrow, courage, concurrent, currant, current, currency, curry, flourish, flurry, furrier, furrow, hurricane, hurry, nourish, occurrence, recurrent, scurrilous, scurry, slurry, surreptitious, surrogate, thorough, turret and worry. In these GA has /ɜr/ and GB usually /ᴧr/ for the "short u" or other vowel spelling plus r. An exception is courier which is /`kʊriə/ in GB.
Names in this category include Burridge, Curran, Durham, Durrant, Durrell, Moray, Murray, Murrow, Spurrier, Sturridge, Surrey.
Similarly "short i" before r-plus-a-vowel in GA usually has /ɜr˃/ (unlike GB /ɪr/) only for chirrup, stirrup and syrup but not in sirrah, tirra-lirra or tyranny which like GB have /ɪr/.
GB has a preference for /ɔ/ in the words moor˃, poor˃, your, you’re, insurance, sure˃etc in which GA more often maintains the earlier /ʊ/.
30c. GB has /ɜr / in furry, the Anglo-Indian word ghurry and, if the word-ending is an inflection etc, as in blurry, currish, demurring, occurring, purring, spurring.
30d. GA also has /ɜr/ at least predominantly in a few words spelt -err- or -ir(r)- etc viz deterrent (GB /-er-/), chirrup, squirrel, stirrup, syrup which all have /-ɪr-/ in GB.
31a. Various Digraphs: These behave much like the traditionally termed "long a" and "long e" etc. Thus "ai" and "ay" are usually /eɪ/ as maid and day but with a following /r/ in mayor GA has /`meɪər/ and GB has /meə/.
31b. GA subvariant /eɪ/ in words like measure and treasure is alien to GB.
32b. Schwa is heard in all words ending -ate except that in GB private clearly predominantly takes /ɪ/ (pace LPD) and climate with about half of speakers does so. (A notable contrast with recorded usages for the nineteenth and early twentieth century when transcribers of GB regularly showed /ɪ/ in all words ending in weak -ate etc.)
32c. GA stomach has a subvariant /`stᴧmɪk/. MWO gives Isaac as chiefly /`aɪzɪk/. These would be regarded as regional by GB speakers but in both varieties words shown in dictionaries as ending variously with unstressed /-əkl/ or /-ɪkl/ are mostly heard with either value without the difference being remarked upon eg barnacle, miracle, obstacle, oracle, pinnacle, receptacle, spectacle; bycycle, chronicle, cubicle, icicle, vehicle; monocle. MWO lists miracle and monocle only with /ɪ/ but the reader speaks them at least as indistinguishable from /-əkl/.
The GA predominant form /`ʧɪkən/ of chicken is only a subvariant of /`ʧɪkɪn/ in GB in which the GA subvariant /`ʧɪkŋ/ is alien. GA vineyard /`vɪnjərd/ is usually /-jɑd/ in GB. In the word volume GA has predominantly schwa in its latter syllable. GA ends jackal /-kl/ GB/-kᴐl/.
32d. Unstressed final syllables ending with consonant sounds usually have GA schwa. MWO records /ɪ/ variants for few of them. Elision of the schwa produces syllabic consonant variants in some cases eg Latin /`læt(ə)n/. Examples: acid /`æsəd/, alcaline, alphabet˂, aquiline˃, aspirin, cabin, caliph, Cohen, crisis, crystalline˃, deficit, digit, foreign, surfeit, gelatine, glycerine, gossip, habit, horrid, illicit, inhibit,`invalid, Joseph, limit, unit, profit, soffit; livid, liquid, notice, office, olive˂, opposite, plaintiff, Philip, service, solid, spirit, margarine, Mrs, tulip, turnip, typist, vermin, visit, vomit, Wisconsin and various other vowel spellings eg menace, palace, purchase, surface, terrace, bargain, captain, porcelain, women, problem, system, forest, honest; linnet, target, ticket; minute, naked, wicked; vaudeville; and the plural and past-tense suffixes -es, -ed.
GB has usually / ɪ / in most of the above endings (except for problem and system) but schwa co-variants for menace, palace, purchase, surface, terrace and subvariant schwa in bargain, captain, porcelain, forest, honest. This /ɪ/ may be elided in certain rhythmic contexts eg Latin America is usually /ˈlӕtn əˋmerɪkə/ resulting in no GA/GB contrast.
In this category belongs the pronoun it in its enclitic use (and it is my impression that subvariantly GA speakers sometimes have schwa weakforms of him, his and is but I find no confirmation of this impression in any of the authorities).
GA usually has schwa (or syllabic /l/) in the unstressed syllable of capsule but the less usual GA form /`kæpsjul/ is the predominant GB form.
32e. Exceptional are words ending -ive eg active, detective, explosive, native, olive and misfit, nitwit and, perhaps surprisingly, benefit. The contrast between the MWO and the Kenyon & Knott records for these words seems to suggest changed usage.
32f. Final /-ə/ instead of /-oʊ/ is a subvariant possibility in GA in kimono. In common phrases like tomorrow morning and tomorrow evening both GA and GB may use weakforms respectively ending /-rə/ and /-u/ according to whether the following word begins with a consonant or a vowel. Final schwa is replaced by /-i/ in a GA subvariant form of Santa Claus. Conversely Missouri has a (mainly local) subvariant form in which schwa replaces final /i/.
32g. Words with their final vowel before the postalveolar or velar consonants /ʧ, ʤ, ʃ, ʒ; k, g, ŋ/ in both GA and GB usually have /ɪ/ eg cabbage, damage, image, village; spinach, object, perfect; college, cherish; addict, conflict, convict; foolish, perish, polish, Polish, porridge. So does counterfeit /-fɪt/.
32h. In GA words with the endings -in and -ain after /t/ or /s/ usually take syllabic /n̩/ as in assassin, bulletin, cretin, fountain, Latin, martin, mocassin, mountain, resin, satin etc. GB has similar reductions in distinctly fewer words mainly basin, certain, curtain, medicine. GB has subvariant versions of captain, fountain and mountain with /-ən/ but not with the common GA syllabic /n/. Cf also medially continent, continuity and mountainous which have syllabic /n/only in GA.
33a. Words with unstressed endings spelt -y, -ie etc eg coffee, eerie, funny, movie, happy have in GB predominantly weak /-i/ (subvariantly /-ɪ/) but from only a minority rhythmically strong /ˌi/ which is the rather more characteristic value in GA.
33b. In certain words including bloodied, married and worried only weak /i/ or /ɪ/ are common in GB. Internally GB doesn't have /i/ but /ɪ/ in Derbyshire, Denbighshire; funnily, luckily, merrily; hurriedly, worriedly. In the -ily words schwa /ə/ is at least as common /ɪ/.
Certain words show GA diversions from presumable former usages that have possibly been influenced at least in part by the inclination to prefer a more satisfactory relationship between sound and spelling in some cases also observable in GB subvariant forms. These include albeit /æl`biɪt/ as well as /ɔl`biɪt/ as in GB, ate /eɪt/ rather than GB /et/˃, Berkeley as /`bɜrkli/ GB /`bɑkli/, brooch /bruːʧ/˂ as well as GB /broʊʧ/, clerk as /klɜrk/ GB /klɑk/, gooseberry GB /gʊzbri/, lieutenant as /lu`tenənt/ GB /lef`tenant/, plait as /pleɪt/˃ (GB /plӕt/), schedule as /`skeʤul/ (GB /`∫edjul/˃), subtile as /`sʌbtəl/˂, suggest with /g/, shone with /oʊ/, nephew as /`nefju/ rather than /`nevju/ (a revision that occurred in GB only in the later 20th century). Revisionary subvariants of these kinds occur in various words eg fortune which beside the common-to-both-varieties type /`fɔʧən/ has GB subvariants /`fɔʧun/ and /`fɔtjun/.
GA preference to retain older usages where GB has come to prefer spelling pronunciations show the reverse tendency from the above. This applies to GA /ferəl/ for ferrule which in the last century became more often /`ferul/ in GB.
It's hardly surprising that clapboard should receive a spelling pronunciation with /p/ in GB in which it is virtually an obsolete word whereas in GA it has gone the way of cupboard to become /`klæbərd/. Conversely blackguard is /`blægərd/ in GA but much more often /`blægɑd/ in GB, a pattern of contrast also found with mallard, vineyard etc. GA is understandably giving way to having breeches as /`briʧɪz/ whereas in England where the term is not archaic the form /`brɪʧɪz/ is still largely holding out.
In GB combatant has mainly surrendered to the influence of spelling to give up /ᴧ/ in favour of /ɒ/ but is still mainly stressing the word `--- wheras GA has now mainly -`--. GB has largely given up /ʌ/ in †grovel, hover (and its compounds) in favour of /ɒ/ but /ɑ/ for it in GA is only a subvariant form. Plover has maintained /ʌ/ in GB and GA but in the latter only it has a subvariant form with /oʊ/. In GB /ʌ/ is just maintaining itself in covert against the increasing preference for the better spelling match of /oʊ/ which has almost completely ousted /ʌ/ in GA. GA prefers /mɑ-/ , GB /mʌ-/˃ in monetary.
The French loan coupon no longer has a common nasal vowel possibility in GB for its second syllable but resists as unfashionable the apparently acceptable GA /ju/ for its first vowel. GA still seems to have /kloʊz/ as the usual form of clothes which British lexicographers seem to agree has at least largely given way to /kloʊðz/. For donkey some GA speakers seem still to have /`dᴧŋki/ as a possibility (encouraging me in my theory that its mystifying origin was as pet form of Duncan).
It's hardly appropriate to refer to the GA /zi/ for (the letter) <z> instead of the GB /zed/ as a difference of pronunciation (pace LPD): rather it is the use of a different word as would be the old word izzard in the same meaning.34b. Subvariantly GA has in Moscow as /`mɑskaʊ/ a version alien to GB unlike Cracow as /`krækaʊ/ which predominates over a form with /-əʊ/. GA has /`hoʊlstin/ for Holstein which is /`hɒlstaɪn/ in GB.
34c. GB speakers seem to treat Anthony as an eccentric spelling of Antony (which it essentially is!). GA speakers take the th spelling seriously using /θ/ in it and even it seems some of them do so with the similarly inappropriately spelt thyme. The term Neanderthal among GB speakers is usually /ni`ӕndətɑl/: GA prefers /-θɑl/. GA prefers /fӕl-/ in falcon, GB /fɔl-/.
GB /`nugɑ/ for nougat is /`nugət/ in GA. Stendhal is /`stɒndɑl/ in GB but /sten`dɑl/ in GA. With GB /`rɒntgən/˃ Roentgen compare GA /`rentgən/˃.
GA's subvariant second /w/ in Warwick is quite alien to GB except as an American reference.
34d. GA has a certain number of more spelling-influenced versions of words for which GB has versions which imitate the foreign language values – notably French ones – more closely. Among these are: chagrin GA /ʃə`grɪn/ but GB /`ʃӕgrɪn/, charivari GA /ʃə'rɪvə`ri/ but GB /ʃɑri `vɑri/, chassis is in GA usually /`ʧӕsi/ or less often /`ʧӕsəs/ but in GB only /`ʃӕsi/, fracas /`freɪkəs/ in GA but /`frækɑ/ in GB, Gustav(e) GA /`gʌstɑv/ but /GB /`gʊstɑv/, mauve GA /mɔv/ but GB /mouv/, niche GA /nɪʧ/ but GB mainly /niːʃ/, nonpareil ending /-el/ in GA but /-eɪl/ in GB, Notre Dame GA /noʊtər `deɪm/ but GB /nɒtrə `dɑm/, penchant GA /`pen(t)ʃənt/ but GB /`pɒ̃ʃɒ̃/, tourniquet GA /`tʊrnəkət, `tɜr-/ but GB /`tɔnɪkeɪ˃/. Reverse of this pattern is shown in the GB preference for liqueur as /lɪ`kjʊə/ while GA favours /lɪ`kɜr/.
The French ending -euse has GA variants /-uz/ and /-ɜrz/ etc in berceuse, chanteuse, chartreuse, masseuse, milieu which have no equivalents in GB.
However, this pattern is reversed with liqueur is chiefly /lɪ`kjʊə/ in GB but /lɪ`kɜr/ in GA.
The word technic is curiously pronounced by some GA speakers as /tek`niːk/ a spoken form which corresponds also among some GA speakers to the spelling technique. This spelling technic never has this spoken form in GB.
34e. Among the various effects of the late nineteenth century movement to reform the teaching of the pronunciation of Latin and ancient Greek, GA has been seen to embrace the revisions of certain items in which it has not been joined by GB notably using for beta /`beɪtə/ exclusively while GB has kept entirely to /`bitə/. So also eta, theta, omega and zeta. The colloquialism nous, adopted from Greek only on the 18th century, is only /naʊs/ in GB but mainly /nus/ in GA.
in GA may receive less spelling-influenced treatment than in GB eg o`regano is only so stressed in GA (contrast GB usually --`--). For junta /`hʊntə/ and not the GB /`ʤᴧntə/ is heard. Don Quixote is /dɑn ki`hoʊteɪ/ whereas GB has more often /dɒn `kwɪksət/. Los Angeles is only recently occasionally heard in the form /lɒs `ænʤələs/ instead of the usual GB and subvariant GA /`ænʤəliz/; the GA subvariant /`æŋgələs/ has no GB currency. Velaquez is /ve`laskwez/ etc in GB but ends with the more Spanish/-eɪs/ in GA. Like other Spanish-type words with qu this is likely to have /k/ in GA as opposed to the spelling-influenced /kw/ usual in GB. Cf conquistador, sequoia. GA has a subvariant /ʧɪ`leɪən/ for Chilean. GA has /seɪnjɔr/ for Señor: GB /senjɔ/ suggests it is more spelling-based. A strikingly Spanish pronunciation is the /ð/ in the sole listed version in MWO (Merriam-Webster online, as was the case in the 1962 Webster) for corrida /kɔ`riðə/ tho its not completely clear that /ð/ is used by the MWO speaker. GB has for it /kɒ`ridə/. Nor does /ð/ appear in MWO's olla podrida /ɑlə pə`drida/ which, no doubt because it is mainly a bookword, has the English spelling value for its ll whereas La Jolla is /lə `hɔjə/. In GA Inez is apparently usually /`aɪnez/˃. For jaguar GA has /`ʤægwɑr˃/ but GB /`ʤagjuə/.
34g. Sometimes a particular choice of pronunciation seems to be influenced not by the orthodox spelling of a word but by a misconception of what that should be. Thus GA has disputed but undeniably current pronunciations /`nukjələ/ for nuclear and /`kjupəloʊ/˂ for cupola.
35a. Miscellaneous vowel choices in extraneous words. We find: geyser as /`gaɪzər/ in GA but /`gizə/˃ (in GB except subvariantly /aɪ/ for the "spring" meaning). nonpareil ends /-el/ in GA but /-eɪl/ in GB.
GA prefers /aʊ/ in trauma, glaucoma, GB /ᴐ/. GA has /eɪ˃e˃i/ for o`mega which is so stressed only subvariantly in GB when it has /i˃e˃eɪ/ according to LPD.
35b. Foreign loanwords containing front non-close/non-open long vowels often have very strikingly different treatment in GA from what they receive in GB because foreign words with "long-schwa" type vowels are often accorded the /r/ value that always accompanies GA/ɜ/ hence eg coup d'oeil is according to MWO predominantly pronounced /ˈku `dɜr/. Cf Goethe, pot au feu etc.
35c. GB has only /`lui/ for Louis but GA very often has /`luɪs/˃ tho apparently hardly at all in Louisville.
35d. Faced with [x] in foreign words GA has for Van Gogh /væn `goʊ/: GB has /væn `gɒf/ or /væn `gɒx/. Schnauzer is /`ʃnaʊzər/ in GA but may also be /`ʃnaʊtsə/ in GB.
36a. As to the great variety vowel qualities that can be said to fall within the total range of possibilities of what can be accommodated under the label GA, I feel quite unable to do justice to them and certainly don't try to in this essay which is essentially aimed not at describing the finest articulatory phonetic differences between the two varieties but at exemplifying the broad and easily recognised characteristic contrasts.
Quite understandably Wells and Roach in the two principal pronunciation dictionaries LPD (the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary) and EPD (the Cambridge English Pronouncing Dictionary) choose symbols and give diagrams that reflect characteristic values for the GA and GB vowel phonemes; but it should not be forgotten that a symbol used to represent a typical value cannot in except a very limited way convey the various lengths vowels take on or of spread of quality variants employed or their frequencies.
As has been widely observed, GA vowels are to some considerable extent less markedly consistent in their lengths than the GB ones can be said to be but it should not be thought that this is an extreme contrast between the two varieties because very many GB speakers produce numerous very variable tokens of their vowels in terms of length. An example corresponding to the dictionaries' preference for displaying length markings on GB but not on GA vowels could at one time be heard at a Merriam-Webster online recording of gala with /æ/ and /ɑ/ by the same speaker: there was no obvious length difference to be heard between the two pronunciations whereas if a typical GB reader had uttered the word selecting the same two vowels one could be confident that there would have been detectable extra length in the utterance of the latter vowel. At the same time it should be borne in mind that GB speakers will very often in many words be heard to employ a perfectly long value of their /æ/. See also below the remarks at § 39b.
GA has usually no contrast before /r/ corresponding to the GB possibilities diphthongal /iə/ and /ɪ/ Thus in GA the pairs of words mirror & nearer, delirious & mysterious, Sirius & serious are for most of its speakers perfect rhymes. With a few words such as freer, seer and skier both GA and GB may have either [iːə] or [ɪə]. At least by a minority of GB speakers in various words such as serious the categorial diphthong / ɪə / is often realised not only as a monophthong [ɪː] but as of such uncertain length as to be indistinguishable from the phoneme /ɪ /. The GB value of / ɪə / before / r / for many speakers tends to suggest a weak version of the phoneme /i/ with a degree of centralisation, though a strong articulation [`sijriəs] would betoken a regional accent.
In GA words like hero and zero appear to be increasingly heard as /`hiroʊ/ etc a tendency not so usual among GB speakers. Given the rather variable closeness of GA /ɪ/ in such words the difference is not always obvious.
Quality differences between characteristic GA and GB values of /ʊ/ as in put are not striking either. GA very often has less lip-rounding than the traditional GB norm but increasingly the value for GB that used to characterise a relaxed or casual enunciation [ɤ] as very often used for the word good has become a norm for large numbers of younger speakers.
For GB speakers a pair of like words merry and Mary are generally felt to contain different vowel phonemes though they are only rarely involved in contrastive situations which raise doubt about their distinctness. If parents who bore the (admittedly relatively unusual) surname of Christmas were so ill-advised as to give their daughter the Christian name Mary the child's name would sound awkwardly like the seasonal greeting Merry Christmas. This is because although the vowel phoneme used by GB speakers in the name is traditionally transcribed as a diphthong, most often represented as / eə /, whether or not its predominant un-conditioned phonetic value in current GB usage is [ɛə] (and the matter is open to dispute), there is no doubt that, in the context of preceding / r /, its virtually universal GB value has for a century been [ɛː] so that a delicate and often dissolved difference solely of length is what keeps these two words from co-inciding in pronunciation.
37b. In GA no such distinction is maintained and, what is more, a word like marry for no doubt the majority of speakers is heard exactly like both the other two words as [ `meri ]. The classic comparison is between marry, merry and Mary which for these speakers are all the same /`meri/.
Its most characteristic GA and GB values apparently moved away from each other quite remarkably in the twentieth century. They seem to have been quite similar at the beginning of the century both having forms close to the IPA value symbolised as [æ] ie front and halfway between the IPA open mid level and fully open. However, gradually at first and quite rapidly during the second half of the century, the typical GB vowel edged downwards and slightly further back so that it is typically now not far from the IPA Cardinal Vowel number 4 [a] position which it has for long had over much of the north of England. Some GB speakers retract it further. GA by contrast has developed more along the lines of producing types of closing or centring diphthong. Partly similar diphthongs were to be heard in socially conspicuous GB in the twenties and thirties but became rapidly obsolescent during the second quarter of the century. See Gimson 1962 §7.12.3. (An example of a speaker who exhibited the tendency was the famous 1940s BBC newsreader Alvar Lidell whose speech is well represented in the BBC's archives).
38b. LPD and EPD use the IPA symbol /æ/ for the ash vowel. This is perfectly reasonable because large numbers of GB and GA users have much the same value but such a choice of symbolisation isn't able to reflect the fact that the centre of gravity of a range of plottings for GA would be distinctly higher than for (anything but markedly old-fashioned) GB and for many speakers is raised to the open-mid range now occupied my mainstream GB /ɛ/. There is also a widespread tendency for very many GA speakers to make the phoneme to various extents diphthongal [ɛə].
The absolute number of phonemes one sets up for GA or GB will depend on which analysis one chooses to adopt as most convenient for its intended applications, but however similarly one analyses them, one must come out with at least one vowel phoneme less for GA than for GB. This is because words having in GB /ɑ, ɒ, ɔ /as in calm, got and law will in general take only either /ɑ/ or /ɔ/ in GA.
39b. The back mid vowels GB /ɔ/ and GA /ɔ/ in their most characteristic forms are notably different, the latter being nearer to GB /ɒ/ than to GB /ɔ/ in posture of lips and tongue but usually without the relative shortness which contributes to the identity of GB /ɒ/. There was such a short value for the GA /ɔ/ in the unfamiliar name Hawkeye from those who spoke it in the early episodes of the popular tv series MASH that it took some time for many British viewers to realise that it wasn't Hockeye. Again at its shortest, notably beginning a polysyllabic word having its tonic stress two or three syllables later, GA /ɔ/ is often indistinguishable phonetically from GB /ɔ/. For instance, although paradoxically the first vowels in the GA and GB pronunciations of Australia and cauliflower and perhaps even sausage would commonly be heard to be phonetically within the range of quality and length variations of the GB phoneme [ɒ], in phonemic transcriptions (reflecting the values within the two total sets of oppositions) it's reasonable to show the GA as /ɔ/ and the GB as /ɒ/.
39c. The back open GB & GA /ɑ/ and GB /ɒ/ both vary a good deal in length but the GB vowel is generally regarded as characteristically rather long hence its usual (though not essential) notation with length mark as /ɑː/. However, in certain contexts it is completely short – so much so that it can easily be confused with the central vowel /ʌ/ not far above it. The expression half past, at least when weakly stressed, usually has in GB a short vowel in both syllables but the first is, even when fully stressed, often heard so short that LPD understandably lists it with the variant value / ʌ /. Some GB speakers have essentially only length difference between their /ɑ/ and their /ɒ/. The vowels in a pair like GA hopper and GB harper may be indistinguishable.
39d. GB /ɔ/ is quite widely variable – for some speakers almost mid close and for others around mid open – and usually moderately long.
39e. GA /ɑ/ is perhaps more often heard in rather more back values than the mean (between fully back and central and fairly fully open) GA and GB value.
40a. Central Vowels.
Very many GA speakers use a quality nearly or exactly the same as their schwa (first vowel in ago) for the vowel of cup etc.
40b. The GB typical value for cup /ʌ/ is considerably opener, approximately half-way from the a of ago to the vowel of arm, and slightly more forward.
41a. Weak /i/
One of the most welcome developments in the phonological description of GB in the last quarter of the twentieth century was the beginning of a long overdue recognition of the existence of a phonologically distinct weak variety of the phoneme / i /. It is a sound typically found in the final syllable of words such as happy. This provided for a recognition of the clear phonological distinction of the difference between the two words taxis and taxes without suggesting that the first of these two words was a precise rhyme with the plural of axis viz axes.
41b. Up to the end of the first half of the twentieth century, in disregard of the increasingly obvious fact that it had become a minority usage, all books recording GB showed the final vowel of happy etc as / ɪ / when, insofar as it could be assigned to any phoneme, that had to be / i /. Lexicographers jibbed at showing blondie as / `blɒndi/ because it was obviously not a perfect rhyme for spondee. The problem was in effect solved in 1978 when the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English adopted the notation "i", nominally at first to convey simultaneously / ɪ / and / i /, but by its second edition in 1987 it was acknowledging that it could represent a sound between these two.
41c. By the time J. C. Wells's Longman Pronunciation Dictionary appeared in 1990 this / i / was in effect being recognised as a distinct "weak" (or "lax") vowel. The major reason for dissatisfaction with the earlier failure to recognise this vowel as neither / i / nor / ɪ / was that there were increasing numbers of GB speakers who were using strong /i/ where previously in Victorian GB / ɪ / had been the norm.
41d. Today the 'happy' ending /i/ alternates in GA with a rhythmically strong (for those who prefer the term, "tense") version – which is shown in some Merriam-Webster dictionaries in the style \`hæˌpi\ – that is much less common in GB where it has only relatively recently, perhaps yet not completely for many people, lost a suggestion of regional influence. What is hard to find explicitly recognised is that a rhythmically weak / i / is a very common pronunciation of each of these endings and is frequently to be heard in both GA and GB and predominantly so in current GB.
42a. Diphthongs and "Triphthongs": the closing diphthongs /eɪ/ as in face, /aɪ/ as in dice, /aʊ/ as in house and /ɔɪ/ as in point needn't be said on the whole to differ importantly between GA and GB. They tend to be nearly or quite monophthongal in certain situations eg especially when pre-fortis in both varieties and perhaps rather more so before schwa in GB, such a word as powerless being frequently homophonous with parlous. Although some GB speakers may differentiate eg tiring, towering and tarring as [taːrɪŋ, tɑ̟ːrɪŋ & tɑːrɪŋ] probably the majority dont do so. Most GB speakers vacillate between forms of such words with and without smoothings. Among words which vary between /aɪə/ and /aɪ/ are diamond and diary. In GA diaper has almost exclusively /aɪ/, but in GB /aɪə/ if heard at all.
42b. The "boat" diphthong was no doubt much the same in GA and GB
until the first decade of the twentieth century when its first element,
judging by such evidence as we have, shot forward among many GB speakers to become something
of a front or at least central vowel in GB only to retreat just as rapidly by the middle of
the century to end up markedly less back than it had been.
42c. It now has, at its most characteristic in each case values that are somewhat different between GA and GB but users of dictionaries should not imagine that /əʊ/ in their representations of GB and /oʊ/ for GA means that all GA speakers always begin this diphthong with a rounded fully back sound and that all GB speakers only employ an exactly mid-central completely unrounded first element. Many GA speakers employ a value that would fit perfectly well with a GB accent and vice versa. What is reflected in the lexicographers' symbol choices may be said to be something like the perceived centres of gravity of the ranges of variety of the two accents. Although very few GA speakers indeed have anything like a noticeably front beginning of their /oʊ/ they don't usually have a fully back beginning to the diphthong either. On the other hand, many GB speakers begin their /oʊ/ slightly in advance of [ə]: this type may well strike some people as rather "smart" (ie "posh" or conspicuous) the more front the more so but, with any increase of frontness, it also sounds more old-fashioned.
42d. The practice of representing this GB diphthong with initial [ə] instead [o], initiated by Gimson in 1962 and generally adopted by the end of the 1970s, didn't betoken any sudden change in people's pronunciation. Daniel Jones had in the first half of the twentieth century diagrammed the average beginning of the diphthong approximately as near to central as to back and had observed that non-native-speaking learners could achieve a good /oʊ/ by aiming at /ɜ/ plus /ʊ/. Yet he always considered it satisfactory to represent it in his transcriptions as [ou].
His successor in the Chair of Phonetics at University College London
Professor J. C. Wells in a blog at 12 July 07 wrote "If we had kept oʊ
as the RP symbol, we would have been able to use the same ... symbol in
both the accents taught to EFL learners, RP [aka GB] and GenAm. As it
is, the use of different symbols implies a greater difference between
BrE and AmE than really exists." And of course very many occurrences of /oʊ/ from GA and GB speakers are so similar as not to exhibit any GA/GB difference.
43a. The GB Centring Diphthongs /ɪə, ɛə/ and /ʊə/ as in peer, pair and pure can be said to be peculiar to GB since they correspond to the GA sequences /ɪr, er/ and /ʊr/. However, what are traditionally represented as eg GA /aɪ`diər/ and GB /aɪ`dɪə/ are more evidence of transcriptional preference than auditory difference. A GA speaker may well use [iːə] with a longer value than is usual in GB but if he uses exactly the GB rather shorter value [iə] he is very unlikely to sound unusual.
43b. The beginning of the GB diphthong traditionally transcribed /ɪə/ is such that /iə/ is quite as suitable a representation for it because its openness varies a good deal. On the other hand its diphthongality is often smoothed out giving what requires to be represented as [ɪː] though such a phonetic value may well be perceived by many as conspicuous ('posh') rather than mainstream GB if the sound is an opener rather than closer variety of [ɪ]. A similar observation may be made regarding the [ʊː] realisations of /ʊə/ .
43c. As for /ɛə/, its smoothed variant [ɛː] has since the middle of the twentieth century been its mainstream value in all its pre-consonantal occurrences. However, in its far fewer appearances as a word-final stressed vowel with no following consonant its predominant incidence in truly dipthongal form is a current debating matter so that various publications have appeared during the past decade or so using /ɛː/ to represent the phoneme. The classic account of GB Cruttenden's Gimson has now (2014) accorded mainstream status to /ɛː/. See item 4.2.9 on this website.
44a. The values of / t / for the two accents are generally in contrast when the traditional spelling suggests its occurrence between vowels or after / n / and followed by a vowel though not at all if it is syllable-initial. In these situations the force of utterance and the subsequent aspiration which distinguish it from / d / in GB may be reduced in both accents but such reduction is a much more marked feature of GA. Very commonly the GB contrast between eg writer and rider, traitor and trader, title and tidal or winter and winner is quite absent in GA. LPD and EPD favour for GA an allophonic transcription of such words using a symbol [ t̬] with the IPA subscript 'v' diacritic.
44b. In one case at least, in regard to the word hospital, the
phonetic value corresponding to the letter "t" predominantly equates
with /d / for GB speakers. The word is exceptional in that respect
because the same thing cannot be said of less common words like capital or orbital.
44c. In GB the phrase at all as an intensifier in negative contexts (eg not at all) behaves like a phonological simple word in that its /t/ regularly for most speakers exhibits its syllable-initial value with clear aspiration. In GA this is only a subvariant usage.
44d. In GB reduced-contrast forms of /t/ are characteristic of relaxed or casual types of speech. Occasionally one sees the casual speech of English public-schoolboys and others represented using spellings like geddit for get it (cf its LPD entry) geddaway or gerroff for get away or get off.
45a. The values of /l/: the postures of the tongue in the production of occurrences of the English lateral consonant vary a good deal from one accent to another. The main body of the tongue may be held much as for any of the vowel types: those corresponding to front vowels are commonly referred to as 'light' varieties of / l / and those corresponding to back vowels as 'dark'. Probably the most characteristic values heard from GA speakers are rather dark in most situations but rather light before front vowels and the front semivowel /j/.
45b. The typical GB speaker does not have dark /l/ beginning any syllable (except when it is paralinguisticly prolonged) but does have a dark variety at the ends of syllables and particularly when the consonant is syllabic. Thus the / l / occurrences in words like look, lot, village and alone may tend to sound noticeably different in GA from GB but leaf, leg, land and volume will sound much the same.
45c. A fairly neutral value of /l/ with not much lightening or
darkening is one quite common GB type. Some GB speakers have a back
quality which is more of a velarised one than the usual opener
pharyngalised type. Extremes of this tendency may suggest a
specifically London or southeastern type of accent rather than GB.
Large numbers of British speakers who at least in other respects may be
classified as GB speakers and are by J. C. Wells described as falling
within his definition of his term 'Received Pronunciation'
have allophones of the GB /əʊ/ diphthong which begin
with a rather more back than central quality in its extreme most open
forms transcribed as [ɒʊ]. These variants are heard from speakers with
noticeably dark ells in syllables such as coal, gold and shoulder
in which the /əʊ/ precedes an ell which belongs with it in the same
syllable ie does not begin its following syllable (as is the case with
following diagrams are highly simplified and stylised
representations of the contrasts between a set of characteristic values
for the GA and GB vowel phonemes. They are essentially symbolic in that
is made to show anything of the quite wide range of possibilities that
fall within the variations of vowel quality used by even a single
speaker of either variety. In Fig.1 the item /ɜ/ is a cover
symbol to represent both the normal GA 'r-coloured' [ɝ] and the very
little used non-r-coloured [ɜ]. In commonly used transcriptions of GA
this /ɜ/ is /equivalent to \ˈər\ and /ʌ/ to \ˈə\. Regarding
Figures 1 and 2 the non-close, non-open central (unstrest) 'schwa'
vowel /ə/ is too variable
to be appropriate for representation even on such highly
Variability of the length of GB vowels is no doubt widely
underestimated. The significance of the British adherence in the past
generation to the Gimson practice (dating essentially from his 1978
revision of the Jones EPD) of incorporating (inessential) length colons
versus the American preference for not using them has really very
little relevance to the question of how far the lengths of any of the
corresponding vowels in GA and GB can be said to differ. In general the
patternings are practically identical. There have undoubtedly been
more comments on length variations amongst GA speakers and indeed
rather little written about such variations amongst GB speakers but
that need not be taken to be evidence that they don’t exist.
Many GB speakers for example use values of /ɔː/ and /ɒ/ that are extremely difficult to tell apart when, as often, a minimal difference of length is involved. This problem becomes acute when some degree of nasalisation seems to muddy the waters still further. This was no doubt a factor in the circumstance that the Wells LPD poll questionnaire didn’t offer its respondents the choice of opting for /`restrɔːnt/ which is actually a very common variant version of the word. Diagrams which indicate the most characteristic forms of GB /ɒ/ and /ɔː/ dont normally attempt to represent anything much of the variation with which they are often produced which thereby fails to let it be known that tokens of them can often be so near that the distinction between them is maintained only by contrasting length or sometimes lost altogether especially in less emphatic syllables. It’s often very difficult, for example, to make out whether a speaker has said /kəʊɒpə`reɪʃn/ or /kəʊɔpə`reɪʃn/ which may be quite often reduced to what might well be /kɒpə`reɪʃn/ or /kɔpə`reɪʃn/.
An anomalous item I have repeatedly noted in the past has been the word off as [ɒːf] ie with speakers rejecting the closer quality of the now old-fashioned /ɔːf/ but retaining its length in a semi-conversion to the current usual form /ɒf/.
It is true that the GA ash vowel shows a good deal of variation becoming often diphthongal (a phenomenon once common in conspicuous GB but much less heard in it after the mid twentieth century) but the GB vowel has quite wide variation within GB subvarieties especially in length – being often as fully long as the coloned vowels for most speakers and in unremarked-on eastern subvarieties being strikingly so before nasal consonants.
Altho the very widespread GA usage of non-contrast between words like merry and Mary is extremely well known, there seems to be little recognition of the fact that, especially in unstressed syllables, the potential contrast between such pairs of words is quite often unrealised by large numbers of GB speakers. For example the word variation is very often to be heard in a form indistinguishable from very Asian and Mary Christmas — if a female child were to undergo the misfortune of bearing such a name, something known to be the case, as indeed confirmed hundreds of millions of times by Google — would be readily generally heard as Merry Xmas. These are cases where length alone would ordinarily be the distinguishing feature and 'merry' is a word that readily receives paralinguistic elongation.
When GA /ɔ/ is relatively short as in pre-enclitic rhythmic situations its articulation may not differ from common versions of GB /ɒ/. For example GA call a flower may be exactly equivalent to GB cauliflower.
(i) The linguistic social focus in America can be very different
from what it is in the UK. It is generally more on word choice and not
much on sound qualities. This was remarkably demonstrated when Nixon's
Ambassador Walter Annenberg (1908-2002), a New Jersey originary was
first formally presented to the Queen. His reply to her enquiry after
his comfort was: "Ah…We're in the ... Embassy Residence, subject of course to … some
the ... discomfiture … as a ... result of … er … need for ... er ...
refurbishing — rehabilitation".
/ɑ ... wɜr ɪn ði ... embəsi ˋˏrezədənts, sᴧbʤɪkt əv ˏkɔrs tu ... ˋsʌm ə ðə ... dɪsˋkʌmfəʧʊr ... æz ə ... rɪzʌlt əv ə ˋnid fɔr ... ɑ ... eləmənts əv rɪˋfɜrbəʃɪŋ ... riəbɪləˎteɪʃn/
(ii) Many GA speakers have the same pronunciation /tə`rɑntoʊ/ for both Toronto & Taranto, and /`fjuːdl/ for feudal and futile. Toronto is in GB /tə`rɒntoʊ/. In Italian Taranto is /`taranto/ tho most British speakers call it /tə`ræntəʊ/. It's something of a curiosity that GA has /pӕst/ and /pɑstə/ where GB has /pɑst/ and /pӕstə/ for the words past and pasta. If a GA speaker utters the isolated word /bə`tɑn/ it must refer either to an orchestra conductor's stick or a geographical region: from a GB speaker it can only refer to Bataan.
(iii) The following sentences could well be spoken by very many GA and GB speakers in a manner that didn't reveal them as speakers of either group but out of context could be, in the case of the first one, written down and, for the others, understood quite differently according to whether the hearer was a GA or a GB speaker:
1. It was a very unusual type of /`erpleɪn/.
2. It was an amazing /`erə/.
3. The funny old fellow was undoubtedly a /`kritn/.
4. Every one of them was completely /ɪm`pɑsəbl/.
5. He gave me the /kɑd/.
6. The priest was worried about the /`mɪslz/.
7. The discussion was about /`pærədi/.
8. That child is intensely /ɑ`tɪstɪk/.
9. They refer to /regjələtɔri/ practices.
10. She's an expert on /`sætn/.
11. One of his usual /fjudl/ topics.
For the last words of these sentences the GA speaker could be expected to write
2. era ~ error
3.cretin ~ Cretan
4.impossible ~ impassable
cod, missiles, parity, autistic, regulatory and satin. The GB speaker could be expected to at least perfectly possibly write aeroplane, error, Cretan, impassable, card, missals, parody, artistic, regular Tory and Saturn.
(iv) A very high proportion of GA speakers dont possess the GB contrasts between /ɪ /, /e/ and /ɛə/ before /r/ a fact often demonstrated by giving their version of the sentence Merry Mary married hairy Harry as /meri meri merid heri heri/.
Cruttenden, Alan (2014). Gimson’s pronunciation of English (8th ed.). London & New York: Routledge
Fry, Dennis. Duration and intensity as physical correlates of Linguistic Stress, Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 27: 765
Jones, Daniel. (1917). An English pronouncing dictionary. London: Dent. 14th ed. Gimson, 1977. From 15th edition as CEPD, Ed. Roach et al. 1997. Cambridge University Press.
Kenyon, John S., & Knott, Thomas A. (1944). A pronouncing dictionary of American English (PDAE). Springfield, MA: G. & C. Merriam.
Krapp, George Philip The English Language in America
Roach, Peter, Hartman, James, & Setter, Jane (Eds.). (1997). Cambridge English pronouncing dictionary.17th ed. of the Daniel Jones EPD. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Wells, John C. (2008). Longman pronunciation dictionary. Harlow, UK: Longman.