FOOT-fronting and FOOT–STRUT splitting: vowel variation in the East Midlands

Jansen, S. and Braber, N. ORCID: 0000-0003-2611-1190, 2021. FOOT-fronting and FOOT–STRUT splitting: vowel variation in the East Midlands. English Language and Linguistics, 25 (4), pp. 767-797. ISSN 1360-6743

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This article investigates the status of the FOOT–STRUT split in the counties of Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in the East Midlands of England. The East Midlands area is a linguistic transition zone between northern English varieties with a phoneme inventory of five short vowels, where FOOT and STRUT are represented by the same phoneme, and southern English varieties which have the FOOT–STRUT split and therefore six short vowels. However, a lack of research on the distribution of the FOOT and STRUT vowels in the East Midlands exists and to fill that gap, this article examines the possible diffusion of the split northwards as predicted by Trudgill (1986). Reading-passage data, stratified by age group, sex and location is used to provide an apparent time, multilocal view on the distribution of the two vowel categories. Surprisingly, the changes that we notice do not concern the increasing distance between FOOT and STRUT but mainly FOOT-fronting in Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire and STRUT-retraction in Derbyshire which leads to an increase in overlap between FOOT and STRUT in all three counties.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: English Language and Linguistics
Creators: Jansen, S. and Braber, N.
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Date: December 2021
Volume: 25
Number: 4
ISSN: 1360-6743
Rights: © The Author(s), 2020. Published by Cambridge University Press This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 18 Nov 2020 10:40
Last Modified: 10 Jan 2022 11:43

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