Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 04:05:03 CST

From: Ellen Johnson Ellen.Johnson[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]INETGW.WKU.EDU

Subject: Irish /ai/au/ merger?

I heard a lecture by a woman from Ulster this weekend and was

struck by what seems to be a merger in her speech between

/ai/ and /au/. It was striking because it led to so many

misinterpretations in my own head: "grind" for "ground" and (the

one that reminded me of this list) "a night building" for "an out

building". The only possible diff in the way she pronounced /ai/

was that the onset may have been lower and backer (for /ai/).

Is this a common feature of Irish Eng? Did I miss a subtle

differentiation of the two sounds? I must have, because it seems

that widespread miscommunication would result from such a


ellen.johnson[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]