Monday, 19 December 2011

more on innovative Molly Stevens

I'd like to continue my observations on the pronunciation of Molly Stevens in her interview with Jim Al-Khalili broadcast by BBC on the 15th of November.
/ɑː/ -> /æ/
There are a few words illustrating the replacement of /ɑː/ by /æ/, e.g. /fæst/ (2:38), /pæst/ (18:58), /ʧæns/ (19:50), /gr
ænts/ (15:02 and 25:05);
2. non-prevocalic /r/
The /r/ is pronounced in words like were (as in were developing (6:15), were screaming (6:24), were pretty stunned (9:45)), sure (at 14:30 and in oh, sure, sure (17:40)), more (in more nervous (22:27)), far (as in gone so far (25:33));
3. intrusive /r/
South East Asia/r/ and ... (15:43), to analyse the data/r/ in ... (17:48), I saw/r/ a picture on the screen (19:03);
4. /t/-tapping/flapping
Molly Stevens's behaviour is inconsistent (she needn't be consistent): She taps the /t/ in betting (10:03) but not in meeting; there's a tap in better than I can possibly hope for (25:35) but not in a lot of research money (22:24), nor in a lot of our innovation (25:50). At 12:49 she probably says "a load of ideas around" which sounds almost like "a lot of ideas" with a tap in lot;
5. relaxed pronunciations
The word actually is one of her favourites - it appears quite often ranging from /ækʃli/ to /ækʃi/. Here are some more:
- /æpslutli/ (19:27) for absolutely
- /prɒpli/ (23:07) for properly
- /taɪps ə piːpl/ (27:02) for types of people
- /bikəz/ (25:59) or /bikəs/ (15:05, 15:49) for because.

Does anyone happen to know where and how Molly Stevens spent her speech-forming years?

1 comment:

  1. On point 1, I don't think that EFL textbooks do a good job of pointing out that most people in England use /æ/ for BATH words. This is not an innovation: /ɑː/ was the innovation, but it has never taken much of a hold north of Cambridge.

    Combining points 1 and 2, I would've guessed that she's from Lancashire. However, she has lived in the USA for a while and might have acquired her occasional rhoticity during this period.