3

Essentially, I'm referring to how some British English speakers pronounce words like "time", "right". That first vowel changes and ends up sounding like "toyme" or "royght". Americans seem to have picked up on it, often laughing at us pronouncing "license" as "loicense", so it's definitely a real phenomenon.

It's something I've noticed among a lot of people, but it seems to be found somewhat randomly geographically - everywhere from the Black Country to Essex, and also in people from parts of the North. Is it a feature of some regional accents, or is it a class/age thing?

6
  • 1
    The OED gives the same IPA representation in BrE and AmE for void (/vɔɪd/), but for lie they have BrE /lʌɪ/ and AmE /laɪ/ (the first vowel within the diphthong is more "open" in AmE). But although it's stereoptypically identified as "dialectal, uneducated, rustic", I think people who don't actually use the more "closed" initial vowel there (loy, toyme, royght) tend to massively exaggerate the difference when poking fun at people who don't speak exactly the way they do. Maybe it's a hangover from "The Great Vowel Shift", I dunno. Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 15:44
  • 2
    (Actually, All royght is quintessentially a West Country form of All right. Northerners in the UK tend to veer more towards something like All rate - or All reet as you get up towards Scotland.) Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 15:50
  • I'll note that this pronunciation is likely popular in TV shows and the like because it's easy for an actor to mimic, even if it's not their native accent.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 17:40
  • 1
    I don’t about those two diphthongs in particular, but I know one of those diphthongs, /ɔɪ/, in (loin = lɔɪn) is pronounced as /oɪ/ in an Australian accent but as /ɔɪ/ in Br RP accent.
    – aesking
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 17:47
  • In Derby I hear 'all raaaaht' Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 18:41

1 Answer 1

2

As described in Geoff Lindsey's Beyond RP, this marks a difference between Received Pronunciation and the more modern Standard Southern British. In RP, the /aɪ/ diphthong is typically realized as [aɪ], similar to a common realization of it in General American (ignoring our version of Canadian raising). In SSB, by contrast, it is much further back, closer to [ɑɪ] or [ʌɪ], making it closer to a common General American realization of /ɔɪ/. This seems to be a recent phenomenon, so it is unsurprising that it would be slowly spreading through other British dialects.

1
  • It seems to be slightly different in lots of documents. For instance in Cockney /aɪ/ has various realisations, generally further back, [ɑɪ], [ɒɪ] or even [ɑː].
    – Stuart F
    Commented Jul 3, 2023 at 8:42

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.