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Friday, October 11 • 10:55am - 11:20am
Pabst: Is [nuz] really the new [njuz]? Yod dropping in Toronto English

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Is [nuz] really the new [njuz]? Yod dropping in Toronto English

This paper investigates yod dropping, i.e., the merger of /ju/ and /u/ after the coronals /t, d, n/, among 20 speakers of Toronto English. Results confirm that the merger is mostly complete. They further show that highly frequent variable yod words, which used to lag behind in this change, still do so. This supports the idea that frequency can have long-lasting effects on sound change, and that lexically gradual sound changes can also be phonetically gradual (Phillips 1994, 2006). Results also show that there is significant phonetic overlap between the vowels in variable yod words and no yod words with preceding coronals. This makes it difficult to distinguish between yod retention and /u/-fronting, an ongoing change (see also Roeder et al. 2018), suggesting that the common practice of using pre-determined F2 cut-off points to determine yod presence is problematic.

avatar for Katharina Pabst

Katharina Pabst

University of Toronto

Friday October 11, 2019 10:55am - 11:20am PDT
EMU Cedar & Spruce
  T: O Canada
  • Session type Talk
  • Chair: Gerard Van Herk