This paper investigates the initiation, progression, and conditioning of the short-front vowel shift in Australian English as observed in a sociolinguistic corpus capturing 40 years in real time (from the 1970s to today). Acoustic analyses of over 10,000 tokens reveal that the lowering and retraction of KIT, DRESS and TRAP was preceded by movement in BATH. This suggests that the short-front vowel shift was structurally triggered by BATH moving away from a canonical low position and providing room for TRAP retraction, mirroring the triggering event for similar shifts in other English dialects. We also find that while pre-obstruent TRAP lowers over time, pre-nasal TRAP maintains a high position, resulting in a splitnasal system. Additionally, variance in vowel categories appears to decrease as changes crystalise, suggesting that greater within-category variability is a precursor to vocalic movement. These findings bear on the short-front vowel shift as a worldwide phenomenon in English.
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Event||19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, ICPhS 2019 - Melbourne, Australia|
Duration: 1 Jan 2019 → …
|Conference||19th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, ICPhS 2019|
|Period||1/01/19 → …|