Monday, 2 May 2011

William Arthur Philip Louis - the royal wedding vows

I'd like to draw your attention to four points:
The Royal Channel
  1. /e/ in better, health, death
  2. /æ/ in Catherine
  3. /əʊ/ in hold, holy, troth (my thanks to John C Wells for this reference)
  4. there'to
The words are marked red below:

A: I, William Arthur Philip Louis,
W: I, William Arthur Philip Louis,
A: : take thee, Catherine Elizabeth
W: take thee, Catherine Elizabeth
A: to my wedded wife,
W: to my wedded wife,
A: to have and to hold from this day forward,
W: to have and to hold from this day forward,
A: for better, for worse;
W: for better, for worse;
A: for richer, for poorer;
W: for richer, for poorer;
A: in sickness and in health;
W: in sickness and in health;
A: to love and to cherish,
W: to love and to cherish,
A: till death us do part,
W: till death us do part,
A: according to God's holy law;
W: according to God's holy law;
A: and thereto I give thee my troth.
W: and thereto I give thee my troth.

The /e/ is more open when said by William than by the Archbishop:

video

Likewise, the Prince's ash vowel is more open than the one of Dr R Williams:

video

The diphthongs  in hold, holy and troth as pronounced by William with a more backward first vocalic element, so that they sound like [ɒʊ]:
Two of my blog followers made me re-listen to the diphthongs in hold, holy and troth as pronounced by the Archbishop and Prince William. And I must say that I see things differently now. Here are the sound clips for hold and holy:

video

The Archbishop does not back the diphthongs in either hold or holy. The vowel which William produces is more in the back of the mouth and it's more like a monophthong: [hɔld] and [hɔli] respectively.

What about the diphthong in troth?

video

The diphthongs of both speakers are inconspicous renderings of /əʊ/. There's a strange i-like sound at the end of troth when William pronounces the word.

Finally, the archbishop stresses thereto on the second syllable (which is what the LPD notes), whereas William stresses the first one (which is not listed in LPD):

video

As a rider to a comment by John Maidment to this blog entry I've added another sound clip. There is a pause in between 'thereto' and the rest of the clause in William's utterance as well, isn't there?
video

8 comments:

  1. Nice cutting work!

    The diphthongs in hold, holy and troth as pronounced by William with a more backward first vocalic element, so that they sound like [ɒʊ]

    They're really more in the back, but I don't hear them as open as [ɒʊ]. Anyway, in the samples of both, there's a pretty wide range for both parts of the diphthong.

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  2. - Geek joke alert! -

    So, how about the bridal DRESS?

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  3. @Lipman: Maybe you're right and the diphthong is more like a [ɔo] or [ɔʊ]

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  4. On the matter of there'to vs 'thereto:

    It is noticeable that the archbishop, on both occasions produces the clause as 2 intonational phrases: and thereTO | I give thee my TROTH. This means that the accent on "thereto" is nuclear.

    Both the bride and groom produce the clause as 1 IP with the onset on the word "thereto".

    There is, I have long maintained, a "rule" in some forms of English which one might call the Early Onset Rule:

    If the onset occurs on a word put it on the earliest syllable capable of bearing an accent.

    Here is another (made up) example:

    He does REPresen'tational PAINtings

    rather than:

    He does 'represenTAtional PAIntings

    The capitals denote accented syllables.

    I don't think I have ever come across a published mention of this rule/tendency.

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    Replies
    1. John, it's is a long time since this Kraut blog was put up but such a stimulating one deserves being returned to. I like your 'Early Onset Rule' and especially the excellent example He does ˈrepresen(ˈ)tational ˋpaintings. This shows us thinking along the same lines as you may see at my article on Accentuation (www.yek.me.uk/accentuation.html) which has been suggesting for some time that "... the default tendency for speakers is .. to stress the first and last suitable words or syllables in any phrase or sentence". I've now incorporated this example of yours there.

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  5. @John M: Very interesting observation of yours! But be it as it may: The possibility of stress shift should be indicated in LPD but isn't. I've added another sound clip illustrating the pronunciations of the clause.

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  6. Both bride and groom sound as if they are saying "And there, too, I give thee my troth". Indeed, they may even believe that is what the archbishop is _asking_ them to say: I doubt either William or Kate uses the word "thereto" a great deal in everyday life!

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