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ILLUSTRATIONS OF THE IPA
School of Language & Literature
University of Aberdeen
School of English Literature, Language & Linguistics, University of Newcastle
Tyneside English (TE) is spoken in Newcastle upon Tyne, a city of around 260,000 inhabitants
in the far north of England, and in the conurbation stretching east and south of Newcastle
along the valley of the River Tyne as far as the North Sea. The total population of this
conurbation, which also subsumes Gateshead, Jarrow, North and South Shields, Whitley Bay,
and Tynemouth, exceeds 800,000. The transcription is based on the speech of a 24-year
old speaker who has lived all of her life in the Tyneside area, mostly in the Walker area of
Newcastle. It should be noted that there is considerable phonetic variation in TE as a function
of speaker age, sex and socioeconomic class, such that some of the features discussed in
this illustration do not apply to the speaker in question; conversely, the speaker uses certain
pronunciations which are not necessarily representative of the TE-speaking community as a
whole (see Docherty & Foulkes 1999, Watt & Milroy 1999, Watt 2000).
[p,t,k] are aspirated in word-initial position, except where preceded tautosyllabically by [s],
as in spy,sty,sky. They are also aspirated where they appear in the onsets of word-internal
stressed syllables, as in appear,attend,occur. In intervocalic positions, as in happy,pop out,
city,get off,sticker,stick up, however, a range of more localised pronunciations may be heard.
Journal of the International Phonetic Association (2003) 33/2 C
International Phonetic Association
DOI: 10.1017/S0025100303001397 Printed in the United Kingdom
268 Journal of the International Phonetic Association: Illustrations of the IPA
[p,t,k] in these contexts often involve a combination of an occlusion at the appropriate place
of articulation and ‘glottalisation’, usually manifested as a short period of laryngealised voice
before and/or after and often also during the stop gap (e.g. in words like carter,inwhichthe
medial consonant has traditionally been transcribed [/t]or[t/], but might better be transcribed
[d0]; see further Docherty & Foulkes 1999). For many TE speakers the timing of this double
articulation is such that the release of the oral occlusion is masked by the presence of the
glottal gesture. As many analysts have pointed out (e.g. Wells 1982: 374), this is auditorily
one of the most distinctive features of the accent. [p,t,k] in intervocalic positions may also be
fully voiced, though the speaker in our recordings generally avoids pronunciations of this type.
Contrary to the patterns observed in many contemporary urban varieties of British English,
use of [/] rather than [t] in words like carter or kite is rare in TE, although the speaker can
be heard to use it in, for example, disputing.[/] is used almost exclusively for [t] where it
precedes [l], as in bottle. Incomplete closure of [t] is fairly common, especially among female
TE speakers, resulting in a quality similar to the Hiberno-English ‘slit-t’ reported by Pandeli
et al. (1997). The articulation of [d] is also often characterised by incomplete closure. Such
pronunciations of [t]and[d] are more common in word-ﬁnal positions than in word-medial
ones. Additionally, among younger women word- and utterance-ﬁnal [p,t,k] (as in loop,
white,kick) is frequently preceded by a period of ‘pre-aspiration’. Pronunciations of this sort
are somewhat variable in terms of the spectral properties of the fricative noise preceding the
stop closure, however, such that some would not accord fully with conventional accounts of
pre-aspiration (for discussion see Docherty & Foulkes 1999, Docherty 2003).
[b,d,g] are rarely fully voiced in TE, but may be voiced where they occur between voiced
sounds. Unlike many other urban accents of England, TE features neither [h]-dropping (except
in unstressed function words such as pronouns) nor ‘TH-fronting’ (the substitution of [f]and
[v]for[T]and[D], respectively, in words like thirsty or either). Allen (forthcoming) and
Kerswill (2003) report evidence that the latter is becoming more frequent in the English
spoken in the region, however. [l] is traditionally ‘clear’ in all contexts (cf. later and solve)
though it may be noted that our informant habitually produces a velarised quality in syllable-
ﬁnal positions (e.g. fatal) and even uses a vocalised [U]inbottle. The informant is somewhat
atypical for a TE speaker in that rather than using [®]inred,wrapped, etc., she uses [√], and
at times even a quality close to [w]. Use of [√] appears to be on the increase among young
Tyneside women, but is only very rarely used by older or male TE speakers. It can thus almost
certainly be regarded as an incipient sound change in the variety, since it has been shown
to be a recently-adopted innovation in other urban accents of northern England (Williams &
Kerswill 1999, Foulkes & Docherty 2000). TE is a non-rhotic accent of English, meaning
that [®] is not realised in post-vocalic positions (e.g. cart,doctor) unless it is followed by a
vowel, as in very,Murray,colour is, etc. So-called ‘intrusive’ [®], as in comma in, is used by
the informant where a word-boundary intervenes, but is generally absent in more traditional
TE, in which [/] is frequently inserted in these contexts (see Foulkes 1998). Indeed, insertion
of [/] to ‘break up’ any V =V juxtaposition across a word boundary (not just those which
trigger intrusive [®] in other non-rhotic British accents) is characteristic of TE.
D. Watt & W. Allen: Tyneside English 269
Because it is undergoing change (see Watt 2000), the system of vowel contrasts used in
TE varies markedly between speakers, and so it is difﬁcult to posit a single vowel system
or set of phonemic contrasts for the variety. For example, it is perhaps misleading to state
that the vowel of boat is [o…] in this accent, when in fact this is only the most frequent of
several possible pronunciations of the vowel, some of which are markedly divergent from
this quality and which would perhaps stand as better exemplars of the vowel in this variety
than [o…] does because they are more localised. The stereotyped TE pronunciations [U´]and
[π…] are examples of this, as are the archaic [a…]and[aU], which among older speakers occur
sporadically in words like snow [sna…]andsoldiers ["saUldZåz]. Other pronunciations, such as
[ni…]no and [stI´n]stone, serve to cloud the picture further. The distribution of vowel qualities
across the lexicon in TE should therefore not be assumed to adhere to the same patterns found
even in neighbouring accents, let alone in British Received Pronunciation, and still less so
in the English accents of other parts of the world. The space limitations imposed by this
Illustration necessitate a rather simplistic and incomplete view of the TE vowels, then, but
fuller descriptions of TE phonology may be found in Viereck (1966), Watt & Milroy (1999),
Trousdale (2000) and Allen (forthcoming).
i… bead Å… bard ai buy
Ibid O… board oe boy
e… bayed o… boat œu cow
Ebed Ubud iå pier
E… pair u… booed uå poor
abad P… bird
The distinctions between [E]and[E…] and between [Å]and[Å…] in TE are arguably only
of length for many speakers, though some speakers may use a more standard-like [A…] rather
than [Å…] in words like farm, card, etc. It will also be noticed that there is no contrast between
e.g. put and putt,asperthe[ø]∼[U] distinction found in accents of English outside northern
England. [i]and[u] are typically closer than in other varieties, and [u] – at least in more
conservative TE – is less prone to the fronting observed in many other accents, retaining a
quality quite close to Cardinal Vowel 8. [i]and[u] are diphthongs in morphologically open
syllables, such that freeze [f®i…z] and frees [f®eiz], or bruise [b®u…z] and brews [b®πUz] are not
homophonous. Instrumental evidence (Paul Foulkes, p.c.) indicates that when produced as a
monophthong [e…] (rather than as a centring diphthong [I´] or a closing diphthong [eI]), the
vowel of face is often fronter than that of ﬂeece, especially among younger women. These
speakers also frequently front [u] to a quality in the region of . The pronunciation of bird
may be anything from [bO…d]to[bP…d]or[bI…d] depending upon the age and sex of the speaker,
while boat and bought are indistinguishable in the speech of many female TE speakers. Some
TE speakers exhibit length/quality alternations which are strongly reminiscent of the Scottish
Vowel Length Rule (e.g. Scobbie et al. 1999), in that, for instance, the diphthong of knife is
shorter in duration and has a fronter, closer onset than that of knives (see Milroy 1995). Lastly,
the quality of schwa is highly variable in TE, and is typically fairly open; [å] is a frequent
pronunciation. Schwa is also often longer in duration than the vowel of a preceding stressed
syllable, even if the latter is a phonologically long vowel (e.g. butter,water,meter,etc.;see
the following section).
Stress and intonation
Stress patterns in TE follow those found in other British accents quite closely. As noted
above, however, stressed syllables are often shorter in duration than unstressed ones, and
are frequently produced with lower F0 as well (e.g. in words like water). The use of rising
270 Journal of the International Phonetic Association: Illustrations of the IPA
intonation patterns on declarative utterances is a feature TE shares with the accents of other
northern British cities (Cruttenden 1997, Grabe et al. 2000). There is a tendency among TE
speakers not to reduce the vowel in some unstressed syllables, e.g. ones containing [Å], as in
the recorded speaker’s pronunciation of confess.
Transcription of recorded passage
Two transcriptions are given, the ﬁrst being a broad phonemic transcription using the symbols
in the charts above, and with vowel length and primary stress marked. Interpretation of
this transcription should be made bearing in mind the comments made about variability in
preceding sections. The second transcription is a narrow phonetic transcription which aims
to capture the pronunciation of the passage by the speaker recorded for this purpose.
D´ "nO…T "wInd ´n D´ "sUn w´ dIs"pju…tIN "wItS w´zD´ "st®ÅNg´ wEn ´ "t®av´l´ "ke…m
´lÅN "®apt In ´ "wO…m "ko…t DeI ´"g®i…d Dat D´ "wÅn hu… "fP…stsUk"si…d´dIn"me…kIND´
"t®av´l´ "te…k hIz"ko…t Åf SUd bi… kÅn"sId´d "st®ÅNg´ D´n Di "UD´ DEn D´ "nO…T "wInd
"blu… ´z"hA…d ´zhi "kUd bUt D´ "mO… hi "blu… D´ "mO… "klo…sli dId D´ "t®av´l´ "fo…ld hIz
"ko…t ´"®aund hIm ´nd ´t "last D´ "nO…T "wInd "ge…v Up Di ´"tEmpt DEn D´ "sUn "SÅn
œut "wO…mli ´nd I"mi…dj´tli D´ "t®av´l´ "tUk Åf hIz"ko…t ´nd so… D´ "nO…T "wInd w´z
´"blaidZd t´ kÅn"fEs D´t D´ "sUn w´zD´ "st®ÅNg´ ´v D´ "tu…
D´6"nO…T "wInd ´) D´ "sU5m ´ dIs"pj00/nÆ"wItS w´z9´"st®Å)NgE∞wEn ´ "t®9avlE∞kÓe…m ´lÅN
"√aÓpt3 In´ "wOm "kÓoÓtÓ DeI"g√eid Da/ D´ "wÅn hU "fE∞Ús´k"siÚdId nÆ"mE6/N D´ "t®9avl´
"tÓE6i/kI 9z9"kÓoU/t Å0fS
Ib…i kÓÅn"sId´ "s…t®ÅNg´ d1´)≠"IDE∞DEn1D´ "nO…T wIm "blIu Iz9 "hA…d
Izi"kÓP∞|§bI0d1 ´0"mÅ)… Hi "blIu D´ "mÅ)…"kl9O6…sli dId1´"t®9avlå "fo´ld Iz"kÓOÚd0´0"√aU)nd9hI)m
´nd I/ "l0as T "nO§…T "wI§N"gI
hEmt "d1En I "sUn "Sø*n EU/ "wO…mli n´)"mi…dZ´0l0i0D´
"t√9avlø "tÓUk’Af I9s"kÓO6…ÓtÓ nÆso§D´ "nO…T "wIn w´z´"blaEs2kÓÅµ"fEs… å0/ D´ "sUmUzD
We are grateful to Gerry Docherty and Paul Foulkes for their comments on a draft of this article.
ALLEN, W. (forthcoming). Phonological Variation and Change in the Speech of Tyneside Adolescents.
Ph.D. thesis, University of Newcastle upon Tyne.
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sociophonetic variation. In Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences,
Barcelona, August 2003, 11–16.
DOCHERTY,G.J.&FOULKES, P. (1999). Derby and Newcastle: instrumental phonetics and variationist
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emologie, Langage 19, 73–96].
D. Watt & W. Allen: Tyneside English 271
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of the Hiberno-English slit-t. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 27, 65–75.
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or externally motivatedŒLanguage Variation and Change 12, 69–101.
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