Rhoticity

From Teflpedia
IPA vowels
æ ɑː
trap father - start
e
dress face square
ɪ ɪə
kit fleece near
ɒ əʊ ɔː
lot goat taught
ʊ ʊə
foot goose mature
juː jʊə
cute cure
ʌ ə ɜː
strut comma nurse
ɔɪ
price mouth choice
IPA consonants
Normal sound: /b, d, f, g, h, k, l, m, n, p, r, s, t, v, w, z/
 ʃ  ŋ
show church sing
ʒ  j 
usual judge you
θ ð s
think that see
IPA Stress
ˈ Primary stress
hotel /həʊˈtel/
ˌ Secondary stress
understand
/ˌʌndərˈstænd/
IPA Syllabification
. nitrate /ˈnaɪ.treɪt/, night-rate /ˈnaɪt.reɪt/

English pronunciation can be divided into two main accent groups:

  • A rhotic speaker pronounces the letter "R" in hard and water.
  • A non-rhotic speaker does not pronounce it in hard, and will only pronounce it in water if the following word begins with a vowel.

In other words, rhotic speakers pronounce "R" in all positions, while non-rhotic speakers pronounce it only if it is followed by a vowel.

None of the above is absolute, and speakers living in regions where one form or another "dominates" may or may not follow the dominant form.

The following table summarizes the rhotic and non-rhotic phonemes of English.

Phonemes Non-rhotic Rhotic Example word Non-rhotic Rhotic
/ɑːr/ [ɑː] [ɑːr, ɑɚ] start [stɑːt] [stɑːrt, stɑɚt]
/eər/ [ɛə, ɛː] [ɛər, ɛr, eɚ] square [skwɛə, skwɛː] [skwɛər, skwɛr, skweɚ]
/ɪər/ [ɪə] [ɪər, ɪr, iɚ] near [nɪə] [nɪər, nɪr, niɚ]
/ɔːr/ [ɔː] [ɔːr, oɚ] north [nɔːθ] [nɔːrθ, noɚθ]
FORCE vowel [ɔː] [ɔːr, oɚ, or, oər] force [fɔːs] [fɔːrs, foɚs, fors, foərs]
/ʊər/ [ʊə, ɔː] [ʊər, ʊr, ɚ] cure [kjʊə, kjɔː] [kjʊər, kjʊr, kjɚ]
/ɜːr/ [ɜː] [ɜːr, ˈɚ] nurse [nɜːs] [nɜːrs, nɚs]
/ər/ [ə] [ər, ɚ] letter [ˈlɛtə] [ˈlɛtər, ˈlɛtɚ]
/aɪər/ [aɪə] [aɪər, ajɚ] fired [ˈfaɪəd] [ˈfaɪərd, ˈfajɚd]
/aʊər/ [aʊə] [aʊər, awɚ] coward [ˈkaʊəd] [ˈkaʊərd, ˈkawɚd]

In Teflpedia the silent /r/ is always written (as in the column "Phonemes"), because it is very simple to delete it. Conversely, it is not always obvious where it can be inserted. In /eə, ɪə, ʊə/ and /ɜː/ it is obvious. In /ɑː, ɔː, ə, aɪə/ and /aʊə/ it is not.

Additionally, and mainly in some rhotic accents in North America, the /æ/ and the /e/ phonemes become /eə/ in the position vowel-consonant-vowel.

Phoneme UK US Example word UK US
/æ/ [ær] [ær, ɛər, ɛr, er] marry [ˈmæriː] [ˈmæriː, ˈmɛəriː, ˈmɛriː, ˈmeriː]
/eə/ [ɛər, ɛːr] [ɛər, ɛr, er] Mary [ˈmɛəriː, mɛːriː] [ˈmɛəriː, ˈmɛriː, ˈmeriː]
/e/ [ɛr] [ɛr, ɛər, er] merry [ˈmɛriː] [ˈmɛriː, ˈmɛəriː, ˈmeriː]

See also[edit]