English Language and Linguistics

Research Article

Fricated realisations of /t/ in Dublin and Middlesbrough English: an acoustic analysis of plosive frication and surface fricative contrasts1


a1 Department of Linguistics, University of Cambridge, Sidgwick Avenue, Cambridge CB3 9DA, UK [email protected]

a2 Department of Language & Linguistic Science, University of York, Heslington, York YO10 5DD, UK [email protected]


The frication of the voiceless plosives /p, t, k/ in word-final intervocalic position in Dublin and Middlesbrough English is examined in controlled data, and the acoustic characteristics of fricated realisations of /t/ are compared with other fricatives. The findings are that /t/ is not the only plosive to be fricated in the data sample, but does appear to differ from other plosives in terms of the regularity of frication and its nongradient character for some subjects. The realisation of fricated /t/ at both localities differs from that of other fricatives, and is probably perceptually distinct from other fricative contrasts at each locality, but is not identical across the two localities. On the basis of data presented here, it appears unlikely that fricated /t/ in Middlesbrough English is a direct transfer effect from the language of Irish immigrants to Middlesbrough.

(Received June 06 2007)

(Revised February 15 2008)


1 The authors gratefully acknowledge helpful comments from Rachael-Anne Knight, Deborah Loakes, April McMahon, Dominic Watt and two anonymous reviewers in the publication of this article. Any errors remain our own. The first author is also pleased to acknowledge the assistance of a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship from the British Academy in preparing some of this work.