Uptalk variation in three varieties of Northern Irish English

Author(s): Nuzha Moritz

Abstract

Uptalk is subject to study across varieties and dialects of English but few studies have examined the phenomenon within the same variety. Uptalk or high rising terminal on declaratives is considered the norm in Northern Irish English. The goal of the study is to have a broader understanding of uptalk differences within this variety. The paper provides a preliminary account of rising pitch movement at the end of declarative phrases in three dialects spoken in Northern Ireland (NI): Ulster Scots, Mid Ulster English and South Ulster English. The investigation was based on the analysis of recordings taken from the “Dialects of English” corpus: Northern and Insular Scots. Assuming differences in the phonetic realization of uptalk within the three varieties, our experimental investigation was concentrated on phrase-final measurements: duration of the rise and pitch excursion of the rising phrase boundary. Regional differences in uptalk phonetic realization emerged between the three varieties: South Ulster English is noticeably different from Ulster Scots and Mid Ulster English, the two first dialects display a typical final high rising contour though with differences in duration and F0 values whereas falls were more frequently used than rises in South Ulster English.

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