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    #1

    Question I have trouble understanding some LPD symbols.

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    1- There are two parts for /ɪ/, but this is one symbol. I have marked them green. What does it mean?

    2- There are two parts for /ɑː/, but this is one symbol. I know "lot" and "odd" are mostly pronounced with /ɑː/ in AmE, but why is it separated from "start" and "father"? I have marked them red.

    3- The "father" and "standard" are marked in yellow. What does it want to express?

    Thanks.

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    #2

    Re: I have trouble understanding some LPD symbols.

    Quote Originally Posted by royal999 View Post
    1- There are two parts for /ɪ/, but this is one symbol. I have marked them green. What does it mean?
    Wells is (not very clearly, in my opinion) making this point (my underlining added):

    "For most Americans, /ə/ and /ɪ/ are not distinct as weak vowels (so that rabbit rhymes with abbot). For AmE, LPD follows the rule of showing /ɪ/ before palato-alveolar and velar consonants (ʃ, ʧ, ʤ, ʤ k. g, ŋ) but /ə/ elsewhere."

    Wells, J C (2008.xxi) Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd edn). Harlow: Pearson

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    #3

    Re: I have trouble understanding some LPD symbols.

    If you understand Well's lexical sets, you have your answers. Check his Accents of English Vol I or Wikipedia.

    1. The first part is KIT lexical set. The second one is unstressed variety.
    2. The LOT lexical set (lot and odd) does not have the same vowel in both RP and AmE. However, start and father have same vowels in both accents. That's why they are separated there.
    3. Unstressed r colored vowel.

    From wiki: "Wells also describes three sets of words based on their word-final unstressed vowels. Although not included in the standard 24 lexical sets, these "have indexical and diagnostic value in distinguishing accents"

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    #4

    Re: I have trouble understanding some LPD symbols.

    Quote Originally Posted by raindoctor View Post
    If you understand Well's lexical sets, you have your answers. Check his Accents of English Vol I or Wikipedia.
    raindoctor, as I have said in other threads in this forum, it is not helpful to mention writers/books unless you are going to give an idea of what they say. Most people who come to this forum do not have access to the books you mention.

    This article, Lexical set - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, if this is the one you meant when you mentioned Wikipedia, does not appear to help in answering the original question.

    I think that in Wells’s table he is indicating that, when he uses the symbol /ɪ/, he is normally denoting the vowel heard in ‘kit’ . However, when this vowel is unstressed, it may be indistinguishable from /ə/, for most Americans, before ʃ, ʧ, ʤ, ʤ k. g, ŋ. If I am right, then I think that for once Wells has not made a helpful choice of symbol.

    If I am wrong, then perhaps you could explain what you think Wells intended when he listed the symbol twice in his table.
    Last edited by 5jj; 04-May-2012 at 23:00.

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    #5

    Re: I have trouble understanding some LPD symbols.

    Wells is (not very clearly, in my opinion) making this point (my underlining added):

    "For most Americans, /ə/ and /ɪ/ are not distinct as weak vowels (so that rabbit rhymes with abbot). For AmE, LPD follows the rule of showing /ɪ/ before palato-alveolar and velar consonants (ʃ, ʧ, ʤ, ʤ k. g, ŋ) but /ə/ elsewhere."

    Wells, J C (2008.xxi) Longman Pronunciation Dictionary (3rd edn). Harlow: Pearson
    It is OK about AmE to show probable difference in that sound, but why BrE is checked with a dot there?


    If you understand Well's lexical sets, you have your answers.
    Unfortunately, I do not understand it perfectly. If you mean Lexical set - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, so it even increases my trouble rather than keeping me out of it by using even more different symbols.


    1. The first part is KIT lexical set. The second one is unstressed variety.
    What do you mean by
    unstressed? Why the symbols are the same? How can a learner know the difference?
    If "KIT" is
    stressed and you mean stress symbol, then "KIT" has no stress in /kɪt/.


    2. The LOT lexical set (lot and odd) does not have the same vowel in both
    RP
    and
    AmE
    . However, start and father have same vowels in both accents. That is why they are separated there.
    When I listen to many sound samples, I cannot detect any difference. How does it differ? I mean:
    When I listen to "
    lot" and "start" in AmE, I
    cannotdetect any difference in the /ɑː/ sound and this table shows that in AmE there is such a difference.

    3. Unstressed r colored vowel.
    It seems acceptable because I have seen in Learner Webster and American Longman that /ɚ/ can sound as /r/ and/or /ə/ and this can apply to BrE if we count /ɚ/ as /ə/. however, why only in BrE and having no symbol?

    From wiki: "
    Wells also describes three sets of words based on their word-final unstressed vowels. Although not included in the standard 24 lexical sets, these "have indexical and diagnostic value in distinguishing accents"
    I don't see any relevance between this and what I mentioned, unless loosely.


    I think that in Wells’s table he is indicating that, when he uses the symbol /ɪ/, he is normally denoting the vowel heard in ‘kit’ . However, when this vowel is unstressed, it may be indistinguishable from /ə/, for most Americans, before ʃ, ʧ, ʤ, ʤ k. g, ŋ. If I am right, then I think that for once Wells has not made a helpful choice of symbol.
    How can a vowel be
    unstressed and what does it mean? Is it stress symbol as in /prəˌnʌnsiˈeɪʃn/?


    Also now, I see the /ʊ/ to be repeated at the end of the table too.
    I can understand this if the problem of
    /ɪ/ is solved.
    However, I see that in words like "
    communist" and "stimulus" there is a tendency for using /
    ə
    / instead of /ʊ/ as in Learner Oxford.

    Thanks.
    Last edited by royal999; 05-May-2012 at 08:45. Reason: Color Fix

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    #6

    Re: I have trouble understanding some LPD symbols.

    I can't look at all your questions, but here are my responses to some:
    Quote Originally Posted by royal999 View Post
    It is OK about AmE to show probable difference in that sound, but why is BrE is checked with a dot there?

    The symbols in the AmE and BrE colums sometimes represent different sounds. In the AmE column, unstressed /ɪ/, may be indistinguishable from /ə/; In the BrE column, it may be indistinguishable from the sound in 'kit'. If it were not checked, we might think it did not exist. As I said above, if I am right, I think Wells has made an unhelpful choice of symbols.

    What do you mean by unstressed? Why are the symbols are the same? How can a learner know the difference?
    Dictionaries generally give only a phonemic transcription of words. These transcriptions represent a wide range of possible pronunciations. When we see, for example /bid/, we may know how we pronounce 'bid', and therefore have a pretty good idea of what is meant by /bɪd/ and /bɪt/. However, the /ɪ/ sound in 'bit' is slightly shorter in length than the /ɪ/ sound in 'bid'. Dictionaries, even pronouncing dictionaries, would be almost unusable if the compilers tried to show every minuscule difference in pronunciation. In any case, individual speakers pronounce words in slightly different ways. All we can say with confidence is that almost all speakers of, for example, British English feel that the vowel sound in 'bid' is the same is that in 'bit' and is different from that in 'bad', 'bed', bid', bud', etc.

    In a single syllable word such as 'bit', the vowel is always /ɪ/; in a word suh as 'rabbit', in which the second syllable is unstressed, the second vowel may be pronounced almost as /ə/ by some speakers.;

    When it comes to the difference in sound between stressed and unstressed vowels, a good pronouncing dictionary will show the main forms. To use any dictionary effectively you need to the introduction/guide/'How to use this dictionary' section. Even if you do, as we have found with your original question, we may not be sure exactly what is meant.

    If "KIT" is stressed and you mean stress symbol, then "KIT" has no stress in /kɪt/.
    With the exception of some three dozen auxiliary verbs, personal pronouns, prepositions, conjuctions and determiners. words in English do not have 'weak' and 'strong' forms. Words with more than one syllable may have stressed and unstressed syllables. In a single syllable word, the vowel always has the full, 'stressed' form.


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