This 'Pull’s as Hot as 'Hal'

A Quantitative Acoustic Study of Two Pre-Lateral Vowel Mergers

  • Henry Leslie-O’Neill University of Melbourne


This paper investigates mergers of the DRESS-TRAP and FOOT-GOOSE vowels in pre-lateral position for speakers of diverse varieties of English in Melbourne, Australia. A total of 35 participants were recorded producing 22 words from a list representing 11 monophthongs in pre-t and pre-l position. The vowels were measured for F1, F2, and duration, from which Pillai scores were calculated. Variation due to the speakers’ variety of English was as predicted. Duration contrasts for both vowel pairs were present for most speakers as a way to differentiate the vowels when their formants overlapped. This was expected for FOOT-GOOSE but previously unreported for DRESS-TRAP.