Online Phonology

Online Phonology deals with the interface between phonological output and pronunciation. It is easy to convince yourself that everyday speech is pronounced quite differently from what you see in dictionaries: my earlier work has shown that some of the differences found are systematic and occur in several varieties of spoken English.

Some examples are the change of /t/ to glottal stop before another consonant or at the very end of a word, the nasalisation of a vowel before a nasal and the subsequent omission of the nasal closure, and the replacement of schwa by various other things which can be syllabic.

An interesting fact about these features is that they do not disappear in formal speech: they are entirely subconscious, and you can't change something if you don't know you're doing it! Formal speech is characterised by phonetic, lexical, syntactic, intonational, and posture and gesture differences, but phonological differences are hard to find.

My research has consisted of finding characteristics of relaxed, unselfconscious pronunciation and estimating how consistent they are across accents. My current research is in how people unravel conversational reductions in perception. Why is it, for example, that you don't normally think of a bag to keep your ham in when you hear the term "ham bag"?

Linda Shockey

Return to my page