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Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

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Academic Paper


Title: The case for the epsilon symbol (ε) in RP
Author: Holger Schmitt
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://www.iaak.uni-bonn.de/people/schmitt
Institution: Bergische Universität Gesamthochschule Wuppertal
Linguistic Field: Phonetics; Phonology
Subject Language: English
Abstract: In this article, I will argue for the use of the epsilon symbol in the lexical set (which includes words like step, ready, said, shelf etc.) for RP. The need for this paper arises from the fact that many, but by no means all, dictionaries and linguistic treatises employ the [ē] symbol and that this symbol is neither the most accurate nor a particularly useful one, especially for foreign learners of English. An examination of current usage and its historical rationale (or lack thereof) is followed by articulatory and perceptual evidence for the vowel being close to the third cardinal vowel, more practical arguments, and a discussion of the issues raised.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Journal of the International Phonetic Association Vol. 37, Issue 3.

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