Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Reader 1

Nicole Holliday

Reader 2

Carmen Fought

Reader 3

Jenna Monroy

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2017 Molly M. Boyle

Abstract

The present study aims to address the question of how vowel quality varies between rural and town-dwelling male speakers of Irish-English in South Roscommon, Ireland. Previous studies have identified four distinct varieties of Irish-English in Ireland: the Eastern, South &Western, Midland, and Northern varieties, loosely based on the political provinces of Munster, Connaught, Leinster, and Ulster. County Roscommon straddles the provinces of Connaught and Leinster, complicating the presence of phonological features associated with one of two different ‘accent regions’. The last phonological study carried out in Roscommon was by Patrick Leo Henry in 1957. While this was a promising start in assessing regional distinctions, rural ones in particular, the lack of recent studies leaves a sizeable gap that does not address modern changes in the linguistic landscape of Ireland, nor the availability of modern methods of acoustic analysis. In particular, the present study investigates the pre-nasal merging of front unrounded vowels /ɛ/ and /ɪ/, vowel centralization, and a lower /æ/, associated with the Western variety of Irish English. Factors such as supraregionalization lead to my hypothesis that rural speakers will demonstrate higher frequency of the vowel features associated with the Western variety. To assess the frequency of certain vowel sounds, twenty participants were recorded and formant data was extracted for F1 and F2 values of the tokens. It was found that the rural speakers in Roscommon demonstrated a more prominent merger between /ɛ/ and /ɪ/, a lower [æ], and the rural speakers demonstrated an overall trend toward centralization.

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