ERIC Number: ED452711
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Oct-7
Reference Count: N/A
Reevaluating and Refining Peripherality.
Thomas, Erik R.
The idea that vowel nuclei in many northern European languages can be divided into peripheral and non-peripheral categories is discussed. Peripheral vowels are those located at the edge of the vowel envelope, and non-peripheral nuclei are those located on the inside. This assertion has not received as much scrutiny as it should. There are at least five questions that could be raised about it: (1) Do the diachronic trends always hold true? (2) Can peripheral and non-peripheral nuclei always be distinguished? (3) When a shift occurs, is peripherality the cause and the shift the effect, or vice versa? (4) Do monophthongs and diphthongs really behave in the same ways? (5) What is the phonetic motivation for the observed raising of peripheral nuclei and lowering of non-peripheral nuclei? Three overriding points are made. First, the evidence suggests that peripherality is not a cause of vowel shifts as much as a product of them. Second, contrasts such as tense/lax contrast should be viewed holistically, taking all three correlates together. Third, researchers should continue looking for phonetic motivations for sound changes. (Contains 16 graphs, 3 diagrams, and 5 spectrograms). (KFT)
Descriptors: Articulation (Speech), Auditory Perception, Cluster Grouping, Comparative Analysis, Hypothesis Testing, Language Patterns, Language Research, Language Universals, Language Usage, Language Variation, Linguistic Theory, North American English, Phonology, Pronunciation, Regional Dialects, Sociolinguistics, Structural Analysis (Linguistics), Vowels
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A