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Si Abdennour Kahil



Nom : Si Abdennour KAHIL

Master 1 Linguistique d’une Langue Etrangère

Sujet du mémoire

The Great Vowel Shift in Northern England : limits of its effects.

The Great Vowel Shift happens when the vowel sounds of a particular accent or language move from one part of the vowel space to another. English has many vowel shifts, the English language used today, might not exist without the shift that occured hundreds of years ago.

In fact, there are two ways to describe a vowel shift, a pull chain or push chain. The former means the diphthongization of the high vowels that dragged the other vowels, which in turn, dragged the other vowels up. The latter, according to many linguists, is the rising of /e :/ and /o :/, pushing the high vowels, and which therefore diphthongized.

Indeed, my study deals with the limits of the great vowel shift in Northern England. In other words, the failure of the long high vowels /i :/ and /u :/ to diphthongize respectively to /ai/ and /aʊ/. for instance, town is proununced /tu:n/ instead of /taʊn/ as RP speakers pronounce, house /hu:z/ instead of /haʊz/, mouth /mu : θ/ rather than /maʊθ/, time /ti:m/ instead of /taim/.

As for the methodology, comparative analysis between a group of native speakers from the North East of England and a group of South England speaking RP English, I will highlight any significant differences recorded in the responses of the two groups.

As far as the corpus is concerned, a recording of some Native speakers originated from the North East of England is needed to demonstrate the failure of the vowel in house, brown or about to diphthongize in northern English dialects during the Great Vowel Shift. Again, some websites are needed to collect data to my study as ’The Newcastle Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English’ NECTE, ’The Diachronic Electronic Corpus of Tyneside English’ DECTE and ’The Talk of the Toon : an Archive of Local Language and stories’ and others.


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