In Scottish and Ulster English the great majority of speakers have no distinction between trap and palm (the sam psalm merger). In Welsh English Wells finds broadening generally only in father, with some variation. 27 In the north of England, broadening is found only in father and usually half and master. 28 Before nasals edit There was a class of Middle English words in which /au/ varied with /a/ before a nasal. These are nearly all loanwords from French, in which uncertainty about how to realize the nasalization of the French vowel resulted in two varying pronunciations in English. (One might compare the different ways in which modern French loanwords like envelope are pronounced in contemporary varieties of English.) Words with Middle English with the /au/ diphthong generally developed to ɒ verification needed in Early modern English (e.g. However, in some of the words with the /a au/ alternation, especially short words in common use, the vowel instead developed into a long. In words like change and angel, this development preceded the Great Vowel Shift, and so the resulting long A followed the normal development to modern /eɪ/.
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This first changed to auf (accepted in Standard English from about 1625, but earlier in dialects 20 and was then shortened. 21 The subsequent development was similar to other words with af, such as staff. The development of draft/draught is notable: in the 17th century it was usually spelled draught and pronounced to rhyme with caught, making clear its derivation from the verb to draw. The pronunciation with f was rare, and its use in current English is a historical accident resulting, according to dobson, from the establishment of the spelling variant draft. 22 The words castle, fasten and raspberry are special cases where subsequent sound changes have altered the conditions initially responsible for lengthening. In castle and fasten, the /t/ was pronounced, according to a slight majority of 16th and 17th century sources. 23 In raspberry we find /s/ rather than /z/. 24 The pattern of lengthening shown here for Received Pronunciation is generally found in southern England, the caribbean, and the southern hemisphere (parts instruments of Australia, new zealand and south Africa). In North America, with the possible exception of older Boston accents, broadening is found only in father (the success of broadening in this word alone in North America unexplained 25 ) and pasta (which follows the general pattern for recent Italian loanwords,. In the boston area there has historically been a tendency to copy rp lengthening which perhaps reached its zenith in the 1930s 26 but has since receded in the face of general North American norms. In Irish English broadening is found only in father (which may, however, also have the face vowel).
For mathematics) bath, lath path _θc athlete, decathlon (pentathlon, biathlon, etc. maths _s alas ass (donkey ass (term of abuse crass, gas, lass, mass (amount mass (religious service brass, class, glass, grass, pass _sp asp, aspect, aspen, aspic (jelly aspirant, aspirin, diaspora, exasperate jasper clasp, gasp, grasp, hasp rasp _st aster, asteroid, astronaut (astronomical, etc. bastion, blastocyst ( blastopore, etc. canasta, castanets, chastity, elastic fantastic, essay gastric, gymnastic, hast, jocasta, mastic, masticate, mastiff mastitis, mastoid, mastodon, masturbate monastic, onomastic, pasta, pastel, plastic procrastinate, rastafarian, raster, sarcastic, scholastic, spastic aghast, avast, bastard blast, cast, caster, fast, ghastly, last, mast, master, nasty, past, pasteurize pastime, pastor, pastoral pasture. indicates that this word had late middle English /au/ (possibly in addition to late middle English /a words in italics were first recorded by the Oxford English Dictionary later than 1650 In general, all these words, to the extent that they existed in Middle. The exceptions are: half and calf, which had been pronounced with half, kalf in early middle English before developing around the early 15th century to hauf, kauf by l -vocalization. 18 In accents of England the development was subsequently the same as that in words such as palm (see below). The north American development to æ as in trap seems to be the result of shortening from hauf, kauf to haf, kaf, although there is little evidence of this development. 19 laugh, laughter and draft/draught, which all had auχ in Middle English.
A particularly interesting case is that of the word father. In late middle English this was generally pronounced faðər, thus rhyming with gather ɡaðər. Broadening of father is notable both in two respects: its occurrence before an intervocalic voiced fricative ð its distribution in many accents that do not otherwise have broadening, such as those red of North America. The Oxford English Dictionary describes the broadening of father as "anomalous". 15 Dobson, however, sees broadening in father as due to the influence of the adjacent /f/ and /r/ combined. Rather and lather appear to have been subject to broadening later, and in fewer varieties of English, by analogy with father. 16 The table below represents the results of broadening before fricatives in contemporary received Pronunciation. 17 Environment rp /æ/ as in trap flat a rp /ɑ/ as in palm or FAther broad a _f carafe chiffchaff, gaffe, naff, riffraff calf chaff giraffe, graph ( telegraph, see above half laugh staff _fc daphne, hermaphrodite, kaftan, naphtha aft, after, craft, daft, draft/draught.
In a phenomenon going back to middle English, f, θ alternate with their voiced equivalents v,. For example, late middle English path paθ alternated with paths paðz. When broadening applied to words such as path, it naturally extended to these derivatives: thus when paθ broadened to paθ, paðz also broadened to paðz. This introduced broadening into the environment before a voiced fricative. Broadening affected Standard English extremely inconsistently. It seems to have been favored when /a/ was adjacent to labial consonants or /r/. 14 It is apparent that it occurred most commonly in short words, especially monosyllables, that were common and well-established in English at the time broadening took place (c. Words of 3 or more syllables were hardly ever subject to broadening. Learned words, neologisms (such as gas, first found in the late 17th century and Latinate or Greek borrowings were rarely broadened.
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12 It has better affected most varieties of contemporary English, which have distinct vowels in pairs such as cat, cart. In non-rhotic accents, the /r/ of cart has been lost; in modern rp the word is pronounced /kɑt distinguished from cat only by the quality and length of the vowel. This lengthening occurred when /a/ was followed by non-pre-vocalic /r it did not generally apply before intervocalic /r/ (when the /r/ was followed by another vowel). Hence the first vowel of carrot and marry has normally remained the same as that of cat (but see the marymarrymerry merger ). However, inflected forms and derivatives of words ending in (historic) /r/ generally inherit the lengthened vowel, so words like barring and starry have /ɑ/ as do bar and star. Before fricatives edit Unlike lengthening before nonprevocalic /r which applied universally in Standard English, lengthening, or broadening, before fricatives was inconsistent and sporadic. This seems to life have first occurred in the dialects of southern England between about 15It penetrated into Standard English from these dialects around the mid-17th century.
The primary environment which favored broadening was before preconsonantal or morpheme-final voiceless fricatives /f, θ, s/. The voiceless fricative /ʃ/ has never promoted broadening in Standard English in words like ash and crash. There is, however, evidence that such broadening did occur in dialects. 13 Once broadening affected a particular word, it tended to spread by analogy to its inflectional derivatives. For example, from pass (pas) there was also passing pasɪŋ. This introduced broadening into the environment _sV, from which it was otherwise excluded (compare passage which is not an inflectional form, and was never affected by broadening).
In present-day rp, however, it has lowered to a fully front. 2 3 4 Such a quality is also found in the accents of northern England, wales, Scotland, Ireland, and the caribbean. In North America, however, there is a trend towards tensing (raising) of this vowel. Raised pronunciations are also found in southern Hemisphere English, and are also associated with Cockney. 10 For the possibility of phonemic length differentiation, see badlad split, below.
Development of the new long a edit In Modern English, a new phoneme /ɑ/ developed that did not exist in Middle English. The phoneme /ɑ/ comes from three sources: the word father lengthening from /a/ to /a/ for an unknown reason (thus splitting from gather 11 the compensatory lengthening of the short /a/ in words like calm, palm, psalm when /l/ was lost in this environment; and. In most dialects that developed the broad A class, words containing it joined this new phoneme /ɑ/ as well. The new phoneme also became common in onomatopoeic words like baa, ah, ha ha, as well as in foreign borrowed words like spa, taco, llama, drama, piranha, bahamas, pasta, bach, many of which vary between /ɑ/ and /æ/ among different dialects of English. Some of these developments are discussed in detail in the following sections. Before /r/ edit see also: English-language vowel changes before historic /r/ In late middle English, pairs such as cat, cart, were pronounced kat, kart respectively, distinguished only by the presence or absence. However, by the late 17th century they were also distinguished by the quality and length of the vowel. In cat, the vowel had been fronted to /kæt while in cart it had been lengthened to /kart/. This latter change seems to have first occurred in the dialects of southern England in the early 15th century, but did not affect Standard English until the later 17th century.
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As a result, there were now two phonemes /a/ and /a both written a, the long one being often indicated by a silent and e after the following consonant (or, in some cases, by a pronounced vowel after the following consonant, as in naked and bacon. Further development of Middle English /a/ edit further information: Great Vowel Shift and Phonological history of English diphthongs As a result of the Great Vowel Shift, the long /a/ that resulted from Middle English open syllable lengthening was raised, initially to æ and later. Æ "seems to have been the normal pronunciation in careful speech before 1650, and ɛ after 1650". it was raised even further, and then diphthongized, leading to the modern standard pronunciation /eɪ found in words like name, face, bacon. However, some accents, in the north of England and in Scotland, for example, retain a monophthongal pronunciation of this vowel, while other accents have a variety of different diphthongs. Before (historic) /r/, in words like square, the vowel has become ɛə (often practically ɛ) in modern rp, and ɛ in General American. 8 Changes in realization of /a/ edit Independently of the development of the long vowel, the short /a/ came to be fronted and raised. This change was mostly confined to "vulgar or popular" speech in the 16th century, but it gradually replaced the more conservative a in the 17th century, and was "generally accepted by careful speakers by about 1670". 9 This vowel (that of trap, cat, man, bad, etc.) is now normally denoted as /æ/.
In the low vowel area, there was also a pair of short essay and long diphthongs, /æɑ/ and /æɑ written ea (the long one also ēa in modern editions). In Middle English (me the short /ɑ /æ/ and /æɑ/ became merged into a single vowel /a written. In some cases (before certain pairs of consonants) the corresponding long vowels also developed into this short /a/. Mostly, however, oe /æ/ and /æɑ/ were raised to become middle English /ɛ/ (the sound that often gives ea in modern spelling and oe /ɑ/ was raised and rounded to become me /ɔ/ (often o, oa in modern spelling). For more details, see english historical vowel correspondences. During the middle English period, like other short vowels, the /a/ was lengthened in open syllables. Later, with the gradual loss of unstressed endings, many such syllables ceased to be open, but the vowel remained long. For example, the word name originally had two syllables, the first being open, so the /a/ was lengthened; later, the final vowel was dropped, leaving a closed syllable with a long vowel.
all words Before some fricatives, broadening happened inconsistently and sporadically words that had Middle English au had a regular development to ɒ (for example, paw ). However, before a nasal, such words sometimes instead developed to a (e.g. The a of the late 17th century has generally backed to ɑ in several varieties of contemporary English, for example in Received Pronunciation. The following table shows some developments of Middle English /a/ in Received Pronunciation. The word gate, which derived from Middle English /a has also been included for comparison. Gate cast cart cat glad Middle English ɡat kast kart kat ɡlad Great Vowel Shift Phase 1 ɡæt Phase 2 ɡɛt Phase 3 ɡet Phase 4 ɡeɪt Lengthening before /r/ kart Lengthening before /f,θ, s/ kast Fronting of /a/ kæt ɡlæd Backing of /a/ kɑst. Old and Middle English edit further information: Phonological history of Old English and Middle English phonology Old English (OE) had an open back vowel /ɑ written a, as well as a front vowel /æ written. These had corresponding long vowels /ɑ/ and /æ/ but were not normally distinguished from the short vowels in spelling although modern editions of Old English texts often mark them as ā and.
The /a/ long a was found in juan words such as face fas, and before /r/ in words such as scare skar. This long A was generally a result of Middle English open syllable lengthening. For a summary of the various developments in Old and Middle English that led to these vowels, see. English historical vowel correspondences. As a result of the, great Vowel Shift, the long a of face was raised, initially to æ and later. After 1700 it was raised even further, and then diphthongized, leading to the modern standard pronunciation /eɪ/. Additionally, the short a of trap was fronted to æ; this change became accepted in standard speech during the 17th century. Today there is much regional variation in the realization of this vowel; in rp there has been a recent trend for it to be lowered again to a fully open. These trends, allowed to operate unrestrictedly, would have left standard English without any vowels in the a or a area by the late 17th century.
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There are a variety of pronunciations in modern English and in historical forms of the language for words spelt with the letter. Most of these go back to the low vowel (the "short a of earlier, middle English, which later developed both long and short forms. The sound of the long vowel was altered in the. Great friendship Vowel Shift, but later a new long A (or "broad a developed which was not subject to the shift. These processes have produced the three main pronunciations of a in present-day english: those found in the words trap, face and father. Separate developments have produced additional pronunciations in words like square, wash, talk and comma. Contents, overview edit, late, middle English had two phonemes /a/ and /a differing only in length. The /a/ short a was found in words such as cat kat and trap trap, and also before /r/ in words such as start start.