Saturday, 26 January 2013

Cameron's heart and sol [sic]

On the 23rd of January the British Prime Minister David Cameron gave an EU-shaking speech in which he talked about the future of the European Union and Britain's relationship with it.
Jack Windsor Lewis drew my attention to a particular utterance in this speech: "I will campain for it with all my heart and all my soul"
Please listen to this extract and concentrate on the pronunciation of the word "soul".



video

credit: The Prime Minister's Office

What does the pronunciation of 'soul' sound like to you? Is it Refined RP, General RP, Modern London English, Cockney, ...?


12 comments:

  1. I'd say this is proof that GOAT allophony is a part of General RP, and not only in the youngest speakers.

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  2. Strangely enough, coming from such a "toff", it does sound remarkably Cockney.

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    1. I agree. The first part of the diphthong sounds unrounded, which would suggest Cockney. A rounded starting point [ɔʊ ~ ɒʊ] is more geographically widespread.

      David Cameron has an unremarkable accent. Have you ever heard a comedian do an impression of him? I have not, and I think that's because there's not much to mock.

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  3. I'm inclined to agree with Kevin, DC's public biography lists Eton and Oxford, and noble ancestry. From that, and his navigating the tory hierarchy, we'd expect RP as Daniel Jones defined it. So where does this estuary, or London, vernacular come from? I don't have any examples of his early speeches to compare this with, so I can't say if he's he always been an estuary speaker, or acquired it during his career. Anyway, the pronunciation of "soul" was one of the golden linings of RP, especially if the dole/doll contrast was upheld.

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    1. I don't think that anyone speaks quite like Daniel Jones any more. Is there anyone left in England who still distinguishes NORTH-FORCE-CURE /ɔ:/-/ɔə/-/ʊə/?

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    2. Well, not NORTH-FORCE perhaps. The last person who insisted to me that her {non-rhotic) "sauce" and "source" did NOT rhyme was unable to convince me that she was not saying both words identically, or that the difference she perceived was not just in her head.

      As for CURE, however, I believe /ʊə/ to be still alive, even if by no means universally employed. Despite the fact that I rhyme "pour", "pore", and "poor" I do distinguish between

      door /dɔː/ and dour /dʊə/
      tor /tɔː/ and tour /tʊə/

      whilst, for me, /'tɔːrɪst/ for /'tʊərɪst/ always jars.

      But then again, I'm in Wales, not England.

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    3. I agree with Kevin on each item in his latest comment, and I grew up in the SE, as far from Wales as you can get. And I also rhyme pour, pore and poor, but with /ɔə/. That schwa is really a vocalized /r/, so perhaps we're only half-rhotic rather than non-rhotic. I have /pɔə/ but /'po:ring/ (pour), /pɔə/ but /'po:rə/ (poor). And /tʊər/ but /'tu:rɪst/.

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    4. @Sidney: Why don't we simply give up the seemingly clear distinction between rhotic and non-rhotic accents and refer to them as either being more or less rhotic (as suggested by Jack Windsor Lewis quite some time ago)?

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    5. Fine by me, Kraut, but there are almost certainly purists out there who'd insist if it's not an r it's not an r, or that a consonant can't have a vocalic allophone (that's only sloppy speech like vocalized /l/), or that vowels and consonants are two distinct and watertight classes, or that one phone [ə] can't simultaneously be an allophone of several different phonemes AND a phoneme in its own right.

      I believe there are vocalized [ə]-like allophones of German /r/.

      By the way, /tʊər/ for "tour" should've been /tʊə/ of course (my previous). On the other hand, if we're all rhotic deep down, we'd have to write /tur/ for everyone pronounced [tʊər] here and [tʊə] there. Or something like that.

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    6. @Sidney Wood:

      By phonetic criteria, sounds such as [ɹ], [ɻ] are vowels, not consonants (along with the undoubted semivowels such as [j], [w]).

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    7. @ vp: Which vowels on the vowel chart are [ɹ] and [ɻ] closest to? For example, I know [j] and [w] are closest to [i] and [u], respectively.

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  4. @Sidney: It was not my intention to 'push' /r/ into the vowel corner. Rather, if a language/dialect/variety pronounces each and every letter as /r/ or even has epenthetic r's, it should be called highly or fully rhotic. If a language never ever pronounces /r/, it's non-rhotic. Languages in between these two extremes are of high or low rhoticity depending on where they stand on the rhoticity scale.

    As for German: In Vater, Mutter, weiter etc. the syllable nucleaus of the final unstressed syllable is regularly articulated as [ɐ]

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