Talk:Australian English phonology

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Talk:Variation in Australian English


Here's a potential minimal pair: madder and madder. The only problem is that I don't think I've heard the latter ever pronounced so I'm only guessing that it would have /æ/ as opposed to the former's /æː/. Jimp 01:32 (UTC) P.S. Though it be only a guess as I've mentioned this is perhaps interesting in itself: why would I guess so? Indeed if I read the article on the plant using the pronunciation of the surperlative in my head, it does sound off, so what's the go here? Jimp 01:37, 29 March 2007 (UTC)

Two sides of the same coin:
That pair alone isn’t enough to prove that /æː/ is a phoneme in Australian English; the syllable boundary could be after the /d/ in “more mad” (keeping with the morpheme boundary) but before it in the plant’s name (for a basic CV.CV word). Better evidence for the difference is pairs like ran~Wran or mad~lad. Even ran~Wran could be described with “ran” being faithful to the length of the base form, “run”, but “Wran” following the regular course.
As for the way you’re reading it; that’s simple: lengthening doesn’t (never) happens if the consonant is followed by a vowel or approximant, unless a morpheme boundary intervenes; the contrast is restricted to closed syllables. You’re treating the plant’s name as monomorphemic, so lengthening would be anomalous.
Felix the Cassowary 12:56, 29 March 2007 (UTC)
That's some interesting stuff there Felix. However, wouldn't /mæ.də/ break the rule (with its short stressed vowel in the open syllable)? Jimp 07:10, 2 April 2007 (UTC)
No; that’s precisely what you expect. English /æ/ lengthening is not Swedish vowel lengethening. The plant is /mæ.də/; the superlative is in some (possibly historical) way /mæd.ə/ [mæːd.ə]. Today, it might be the case that the superlative is /mæːd-ə/ [mæː.də] where the length is retained from the underlying specification, rather than added.
Also, don’t forget that /d/ doesn’t/didn’t generally cause lengthening; it’s just the case that four words ending in -d happen to have long vowels: mad, glad, sad and bad. All other words ending in -ad have a short /æd/: had, fad,[*] lad, dad, pad, ... and I also read neologisms like spad, blad with short vowels.
[*] I’ve always pronounced the “politically correct” name for a certain brand of fake cigarette lollies I liked as a kid as [fæːdz], presumably because the old name for them was [fæːgz]. But a passing superficial fashion is [fæd].
Felix the Cassowary 15:12, 2 April 2007 (UTC)

I disagree about 'dad'-- for me and everyone I know it's long.Marquetry28 (talk) 05:19, 18 April 2011 (UTC)

How about these?

  • span (one past tense of spin) — span (e.g. like wingspan)
  • can (verb) — can (noun)
  • ran (past tense of run) — Wran (surname)
  • bade (past tense of bid) — bad (not good)

JIMp talk·cont 15:30, 25 January 2012 (UTC)

T Glottalisation?[edit]

The article claims that some speakers glottalise the 't' where it is found on the end of a word (eg 'paint'). I have lived in Australia my whole life however and have never heard this from a native speaker of Australian English. T glottalisation is for all I know I feature of South-Eastern Estuary and Cockney British accents. Is it possible that these speakers, if they exist, are those who have spent time in the United Kingdom and picked up this feature? Saruman-the-white (talk) 08:40, 5 August 2012 (UTC)

It's more likely that you are not understanding what's being described than that you haven't heard the phenomenan. Cox & Palethorpe (2007) say:

"Glottal stops may function as allophones of /t/ (glottalling) in syllable-final position before syllabic /n/ and other non-syllabic sonorants (for example, button [bɐʔn̩], cotton [kʰɔʔn̩], butler [bɐʔlə], light rain [lɑeʔɹæɪ̃n] or not now [nɔʔnæɔ]) (Tollfree 2001). It is very unusual for glottal stops to replace /t/ intervocalically, before syllabic /l/ or /m/, or in pre-pausal position. Glottal reinforcement (glottalisation) of voiceless stops is, however, often found, particularly in syllable-final nonpre-vocalic environments, and is commonly accompanied by laryngealisation." (p. 343)

Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 15:04, 5 August 2012 (UTC)
I asked three different people (two general, one broad) to say, "I want to paint the wall" and "push the button", and all three glottalised the T's in "paint" and "button". It does seem to be fairly common. Orderinchaos 12:52, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
Do you mean they flapped the t's? (ie, pronounced them more as D's? as Australians and North Americans do) ie "buddon" for button? Glottalising would be more like "bah'on" for button or "wor'ah" for water (a complete loss of the "t" as in Cockney: glottalisation) rather than "buddon or wader" as in AusE. I have never encountered this phenomenon in any native speaker of Australian English, whereas flapping is universal with the possibly exception of the cultivated accent.Saruman-the-white (talk) 14:44, 8 August 2012 (UTC)
See the above quote, which claims that Australian English glottalizes /t/ in button but not water.Ƶ§œš¹ [ãːɱ ˈfɹ̠ˤʷɪ̃ə̃nlɪ] 15:46, 8 August 2012 (UTC)

It is indeed very common. I too say [ˈbaʔn̩] (glottalised) and [ˈwoːɾə] (flapped) in normal speech. I only pronounce [ˈbatn̩] and [ˈwoːtə] when enunciating. -- (talk) 01:37, 13 August 2012 (UTC)

T glottalisation occurs not in the middle of words like 'button' and 'water' but at the end of words like 'paint', 'cut', 'cute' etc. This is particularly strong in perceived 'ethnic' or 'woggish' English dominant in at least from my experience northern melbourne. (I come from Reservoir and definitely speak like this) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:56, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

Neutral vowel at end of word[edit]

I'm not sure how to type in the "upside down" e to indicate neutral vowel. However it's very common nowadays, if not universal, with people under the age of 30, to hear this vowel pronounced as a flat and very pronounced "a".

For example: "My father is a doctor" will be pronounced by most young Australians (particularly female) as "My Fathah is a Doctah" with the stress moved from the first syllable and equal emphasis given to both syllables.

A really obvious example is the pronuciation of "year" by most young people. Instead of a smooth transition to a final neutral vowel, the word is now regularly pronouncedas "yee-hah" as if a double syllable. --MichaelGG (talk) 08:41, 7 May 2013 (UTC)

I've heard those things too. They do seem to me to be more common (but not universal) with young people in my experience. Accentman (talk) 04:41, 12 June 2013 (UTC)

Other features[edit]

However the Alphabet Song for children is always sung ending with zee in accordance with the rhyme. I dispute this. It may be sung with either "zed" or "zee". I have always sung it "zed" except when consciously imitating the American pronunciation. The article Alphabet Song even mentions that the lack of an exact rhyme does not cause problems for children. I realise that the "citation needed" tag is very new (March 2015) but I would suggested rewording this sentence rather than trying to find a citation for it which could take years or never happen. Danielklein (talk) 11:52, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

This is complete rubbish. It's called zed rhyme or no rhyme. However, it's not a matter worth debating here since this is not a question on phonology. It's irrelevant, delete the whole sentence. Jimp 23:00, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
Whilst I was at it I got rid of this.
  • Common in Australian English is the use of the word like as a quotative, discourse marker or as a hedge, similar to its use in "Valleyspeak" belonging to the "Valley Girl" stereotype of the United States. This appears to have been adopted by young Australians during the 1980s when "Valleyspeak" became popularized internationally through music and media of the time.[1]
  1. ^
These are points about vocabulary not phonology. Feel free to add this at Australian English vocabulary (but just don't add nonsense like the alphabet song claim). Jimp 23:09, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

Bold in tables[edit]

I disagree with (what I perceive as) the excessive use of bold in the table, which I removed, but that removal has been reverted. MOS:BOLD is fairly clear that bold is only used in certain cases, and I do not believe that this is such a case. Most of the rows other than the top row are not headings, so should not be bold.

Other editors are invited to express an opinion ....Mitch Ames (talk) 08:33, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm afraid I'm going to have to disagree with you, Mitch. The cells you unbolded are as much headers as the ones you left bold. We're trying to convey the sense of phonemes positioned within a two-dimensional space. The vertical dimension (e.g. close-mid-open for monophthongs) is just as important as the horizontal (e.g. front-central-back). Thus the cells down the vertical axis are just as much table headings as those along the horizontal. Help:Table gives several examples of tables with headings down the vertical.
Consider this. Suppose linguists had adopted the convention of charting vowels with frontedness on the vertical and openness on the horizontal (instead of vice-versa), we'd have followed suit and, I'd assume, you'd have unbolded front-central-back instead of close-mid-open. Bolding should be dependant on an arbitrary convention, though.
I hope this goes some way to explain Erutuon's statement that "this is the way phonology tables are formatted, with phonetics terms as headers and phonetics symbols as table cells". Jimp 11:49, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
@Mitch Ames: MOS:BOLD is only talking about bold text created by three apostrophes ('''...'''), not about table headers. Bolding in table headers is automatic, and is not restricted like bolding in text, and neither is bolding of section headings, like the heading of this talk page section.
As Jimp says, the charts of vowel and consonant phonemes are xy graphs. In the vowel chart, the x-axis is backness (Front, Central, Back) and the y-axis is height (Close, Mid, Open). In the consonant chart, place of articulation (Labial, Dental, Alveolar, ...) is x, and manner of articulation (Nasal, Stop, voiced, voiceless, ...) is y. The phonetic symbols are the points on the graph, and have both x and y features (backness and height, place and manner of articulation). Because phonetics terms (height and backness, place and manner of articulation) are the x- and y-axes, they're headers. Because phonetic symbols are points, they're table cells. Hope this explanation makes sense of how the tables are formatted. — Eru·tuon 19:46, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
OK, thanks for that. I had overlooked the possibility of row headings. Mitch Ames (talk) 11:46, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

golf and gulf[edit]

Do Australians pronounce these two words the same way? I've heard that Australians pronounce them the same merging the short "o" and the short "u" vowels before /l/ and another consonant when the consonant after the /l/ doesn't form another morpheme as in "gulls". 2602:306:3653:8A10:C86D:9A81:A3E8:8B53 (talk) 19:51, 18 August 2015 (UTC)

Such merger is possible in London (see the second volume of Wells's Accents of English), but I don't know about Australia. It's probably also possible there. Peter238 (talk) 21:57, 18 August 2015 (UTC)
Yes, we do. Speaking on behalf of all Australians, I declare that we pronounce them the same, with the vowel of LOT and CLOTH. It's the same with "colt" and "cult". Seriously, though, I'd say I do and others seem to but I couldn't say for sure. It could vary from place to place (I'm from Sydney). Jimp 21:25, 5 November 2015 (UTC)
Hmm. Interesting that you have short "o" (the LOT vowel) in "colt". I have the GOAT vowel in that word. What about "volt", "bolt" and "dolt"? Do those have the LOT vowel for you? I have the GOAT vowel in those words. Do you pronounce "a dolt" and "adult" the same way? 2602:306:3653:8920:4DD1:65AF:320C:9D95 (talk) 18:33, 7 November 2015 (UTC)
Come to think of it, yes, it may be GOAT not LOT/CLOTH. Actually, I'm not so sure that I distinguish LOT/CLOTH from GOAT before /lt/ or /ld/. Jimp 02:30, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Do you rhyme "coaled", "dolled" (all dolled up), and "sold"? For me, "dolled" has the LOT vowel whereas "coaled" and "sold" have the GOAT vowel. I don't think any modern English speakers distinguish between LOT and GOAT before /lt/ and /ld/ in words with only one morpheme like "volt" and "bold". Dictionaries I've seen all show the GOAT vowel in those words.,,, While I think these words historically had the vowel in LOT it has shifted to GOAT in modern English at least for most speakers. 2602:306:3653:8920:4DD1:65AF:320C:9D95 (talk) 03:45, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
It's quite an extraordinary claim to say that "no modern English speakers distinguish between LOT and GOAT before /lt/ and /ld/ in words with only one morpheme". It's obviously not true - this distinction is present in RP, and in (almost?) the whole North America, in which LOT is nearly always merged with PALM in all environments (except for a negligible minority of speakers), and the outcome of that merger is often an unrounded open back-to-central vowel [ɑː ~ äː], which has practically no chance of merging with [oː~oə] (the pre-lateral GOAT vowel). That said, "volt" can be pronounced with either GOAT or (more rarely) LOT in RP, whereas "bold" is pronounced only with GOAT - at least that's what the Longman Pronunciation Dictionary says. Also, I can't imagine the LOT-GOAT merger occurring in accents that don't feature a velarized /l/ at all (e.g. traditional Tyneside (Geordie) and much of Ireland). Peter238 (talk) 03:57, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
The LOT vowel doesn't occur for most English speakers before /lt/ and /ld/ in words with one morpheme. Words ended in "-old" (cold, gold, fold, sold, old, hold) and "-olt" (volt, bolt, colt, dolt) are instead pronounced with the GOAT vowel for most modern English speakers. The only place where the LOT vowel occurs before /lt/ and /ld/ for most English speakers is in words with more than one morpheme like "dolled". 2602:306:3653:8920:4DD1:65AF:320C:9D95 (talk) 04:45, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Ok, it's true for /*ɒld/, but the LPD shows that 13 monomorphemic words (Alt, Balt, bolt, fault, Galt, gault, halt, malt, salt, smalt, vault, volt, Walt) have /*ɒlt/ as a possible (but not the first choice) RP pronunciation. Peter238 (talk) 04:56, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, no, I'd use the LOT vowel for doll and dolled and the GOAT vowel for dole, coaled and sold but I can't say I distinguish between LOT and GOAT before /lt/ and /ld/ in words with only one morpheme. Jimp 09:34, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
How do you pronounce the word "adult"? Do you pronounce it the same way as "a dolt"? Do you ever have the STRUT vowel before /l/ and another consonant in words with only one morpheme, not two morphemes like "gulls". I remember reading on some English discussion forums back in the day where some Australians stated that they didn't make a big phonetic discussion between the LOT and GOAT vowel before /l/, the two vowels sounded close in the pre lateral environment but not merged. 2602:306:3653:8920:BCA0:CC6C:4F79:3510 (talk) 16:41, 9 November 2015 (UTC)
I'd rhyme "adult" with "colt", "cult", "volt", "bolt", "holt", "halt", "salt", "dolt", "unbolt", "revolt", "moult", "smolt", "jolt", "abvolt", "Harold Holt", etc. Jimp 10:48, 12 November 2015 (UTC)
Here's something I have found that mentions a golf-gulf merger occurring in Australia 2602:306:3653:8920:B493:B6E5:59E1:E317 (talk) 01:41, 18 November 2015 (UTC)
Excellent find; thanks, E317! I chuckled where they mentioned a deleted Wikipedia page in the Introduction. Can we add the cult→colt merger to the article on that basis? Pelagic (talk) 22:07, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

Reason for different vowel-sounds?[edit]

Is it true that the Australian accent is basically traditional cockney spoken into overpoweringly bright sunlight? Valetude (talk) 23:36, 26 October 2015 (UTC)

The most influential dialect in the formation of Australian English would have been the late 18th century Cockney dialect bought by many of the convicts. Most of the Irish didn't speak English as a first language, so it was the English convicts who were most influential and most of the English were from the area that is now surrounding London where Cockney was the regional accent (received pronunciation had not yet developed at that time). So yeah, if you went back in time 250 years to the area surrounding London I think you would no doubt hear many features that have lived on today on the other side of the world in Australia. Equally, with such a long period of separation, there would be many features that are not familiar as Australian English inevitably diverged in many ways. This is similar to how the cockney dialect of two centuries ago is completely different to the 'estuary english' dialects that exist in those areas of Great Britain today.--Saruman-the-white (talk) 01:58, 27 October 2015 (UTC)


How do Australians typically pronounce this word? With a scwha sound for the first "a" or a short "a" for the first "a", like "add-ult"? (talk) 17:24, 8 March 2016 (UTC)

either but definitely leaning schwa first a --Saruman-the-white (talk) 11:16, 9 March 2016 (UTC)
I'll use either – sometimes /ˈædʌlt/ (AD-olt) and sometimes /əˈdʌlt/ (uh-DOLT) – but I can't discern a pattern as to when. (? More likely to stress the first syllable for the noun and the second for the adjective, but not consistently.) Pelagic (talk) 14:45, 18 March 2017 (UTC)

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Rounded NURSE - citation check needed[edit]

I've just reverted revision 742367463 by an anon with the IP starting with 60.240..., because he didn't say whether he checked the citations, just "seems to me to be part of the statement" in the edit summary, which would actually confirm that it's original research. So, anon, did you check the citations? Do they say that /ɜː/ is often pronounced rounded?

I'm not sure about the word 'often'. What I've heard from Australians ranges from an ordinary RP [əː] to a vowel that you could describe as a lowered cardinal [ɨː], which sometimes is indeed somewhat rounded. Then again - maybe I haven't listened to enough native speakers of AuE to judge the frequency of occurrence of these allophones.

@Officer781: Maybe you could check the citations, since you're so interested in Australian (and New Zealand) English? Mr KEBAB (talk) 14:13, 10 December 2016 (UTC)

The stated citation says "The lowered F3 for /ɜː/ may also indicate rounding as this vowel also has a fronted constriction for many SAusE speakers."--Officer781 (talk) 00:34, 11 December 2016 (UTC)
Thanks. Mr KEBAB (talk) 16:04, 12 December 2016 (UTC)


The Copper Triangle area is or was rhotic but this article doesn't mention it at all. — Preceding unsigned comment added by DustyRedSkies (talkcontribs) 18:18, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

You can add it yourself if you're aware of a reliable source that mentions it. Mr KEBAB (talk) 18:23, 21 February 2017 (UTC)