a1 (University of East Anglia)
1. In Lodge (1966), the data presented for the dialect of Stockport, Cheshire, did not show up the possible contrastive opposition in the vowels mentioned by Wells (1970: 238; in Wells' transcription, /e/: /ε̌/). It concerns the reflexes of ME ā, as in name, and ME e + gh (= voiceless palatal or velar fricative), as in eight, which have fallen together in RP. In the North of England, however, including part of the N.W. Midlands, the retension of [ç] and [x] longer than elsewhere in the country has caused differences in phoneme allocation and distribution. In the light of further evidence from Stockport and further experience of dialectal reflexes of Middle English, it seemed worthwhile re-assessing the phonemic interpretation of the Stockport data and comparing a few features of the phonology with older forms of speech from around the same area. We shall restrict our attention mainly to the vowel systems, with particular reference to the distinction mentioned above.