Perception of Vowel Phonemes in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and Buffalo, New York: An Application of Synthetic Vowel Categorization Tests to Dialectology The question of correlation between dialect and perception (that is, categorization) of synthetic vowels by speakers of different dialects of English was investigated experimentally for speakers from Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and Buffalo, New York. Eighty-eight high-school-age subjects were administered three tests in which they were asked to associate synthetic ... Research Article
Research Article  |   June 01, 1972
Perception of Vowel Phonemes in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and Buffalo, New York: An Application of Synthetic Vowel Categorization Tests to Dialectology
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Clodius Willis
    University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   June 01, 1972
Perception of Vowel Phonemes in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and Buffalo, New York: An Application of Synthetic Vowel Categorization Tests to Dialectology
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1972, Vol. 15, 246-255. doi:10.1044/jshr.1502.246
History: Received February 12, 1971
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, June 1972, Vol. 15, 246-255. doi:10.1044/jshr.1502.246
History: Received February 12, 1971

The question of correlation between dialect and perception (that is, categorization) of synthetic vowels by speakers of different dialects of English was investigated experimentally for speakers from Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, and Buffalo, New York. Eighty-eight high-school-age subjects were administered three tests in which they were asked to associate synthetic vowel sounds with English words. The results of these tests were compared with previously established phonetic features of the subjects' dialects. A correlation was found (1) between categorization of the opposition /ε/-/æ/ (bet/bat) and dialectal difference in pronunciation of the phoneme /æ/, (2) between categorization of the opposition /æ/-/α/ (hat/hot), and dialectal difference in pronunciation of the phoneme /α/. A third pair of oppositions, /e/-/i/ (bait/beet) and /o/-/u/ (boat/boot), showed problematic results which are discussed. It is concluded that the use of synthetic vowel perception tests in dialectology allows rapid and objective collection of data relevant to phonetic features of spoken dialects, and can assist in clarifying the phonetic nature of differences among dialects.

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