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Modern English is sometimes described as the global [[lingua franca]]. Modern English is sometimes described as the global [[lingua franca]].
== Phonology == == Phonology ==
-The [[phonetics]] and [[phonology]] of the English language differ from one dialect to another, usually without interfering with mutual communication. Phonological variation affects the inventory of [[phoneme]]s (i.e. speech sounds that distinguish meaning), and phonetic variation consists in differences in pronunciation of the phonemes. {{sfn|Wolfram|2006|pp=334–335}} This overview mainly describes the [[standard language|standard pronunciations]] of the [[United Kingdom]] and the [[United States]]: [[Received Pronunciation]] (RP) and [[General American]] (GA). (See {{slink||Dialects, accents, and varieties}}, below.)+[[English phonology]] of the English language differ from one dialect to another, usually without interfering with mutual communication. Phonological variation affects the inventory of [[phoneme]]s (i.e. speech sounds that distinguish meaning), and phonetic variation consists in differences in pronunciation of the phonemes.
- +
-The phonetic symbols used below are from the [[International Phonetic Alphabet]] (IPA).{{sfn|Carr|Honeybone|2007}}{{sfn|Bermúdez-Otero|McMahon|2006}}{{sfn|MacMahon|2006}}+
- +
-=== Consonants ===+
-{{Main|English phonology#Consonants}}+
- +
-Most English dialects share the same 24{{nbsp}}consonant phonemes. The consonant inventory shown below is valid for [[California English]],{{sfn|International Phonetic Association|1999|pages=41–42}} and for RP.{{sfn|König|1994|page=534}}+
- +
-{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center"+
-|-+
-|+ Consonant phonemes+
-!+
-! colspan="2" | [[Labial consonant|Labial]]+
-! colspan="2" | [[Interdental consonant|Dental]]+
-! colspan="2" | [[Alveolar consonant|Alveolar]]+
-! colspan="2" | [[Postalveolar consonant|Post-<br />alveolar]]+
-! colspan="2" | [[Palatal consonant|Palatal]]+
-! colspan="2" | [[Velar consonant|Velar]]+
-! colspan="2" | [[Glottal consonant|Glottal]]+
-|-+
-! [[Nasal consonant|Nasal]]+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|m}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|n}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|ŋ}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-|-+
-! [[Stop consonant|Stop]]+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|p}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|b}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|t}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|d}}+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|tʃ}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|dʒ}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|k}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|ɡ}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-|-+
-! [[Fricative consonant|Fricative]]+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|f}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|v}}+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|θ}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|ð}}+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|s}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|z}}+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|ʃ}} || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|ʒ}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | {{IPAlink|h}} || style="border-left: 0;" |+
-|-+
-! [[Approximant consonant|Approximant]]+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| colspan="2" |+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|l}}+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|ɹ}}*+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPAlink|j}}+
-| style="border-right: 0;" | || style="border-left: 0;" | {{IPA link|w}}+
-| colspan="2" |+
-|}+
-<small><nowiki>*</nowiki> Conventionally transcribed {{IPA|/r/}}.</small>+
- +
-In the table, when [[obstruent]]s (stops, affricates, and fricatives) appear in pairs, such as {{IPA|/p b/}}, {{IPA|/tʃ dʒ/}}, and {{IPA|/s z/}}, the first is [[fortis and lenis|fortis]] (strong) and the second is lenis (weak). Fortis obstruents, such as {{IPA|/p tʃ s/}} are pronounced with more muscular tension and breath force than lenis consonants, such as {{IPA|/b dʒ z/}}, and are always [[voicelessness|voiceless]]. Lenis consonants are partly [[voice (phonetics)|voiced]] at the beginning and end of utterances, and fully voiced between vowels. Fortis stops such as {{IPA|/p/}} have additional articulatory or acoustic features in most dialects: they are [[aspirated consonant|aspirated]] {{IPA|[pʰ]}} when they occur alone at the beginning of a stressed syllable, often unaspirated in other cases, and often [[unreleased stop|unreleased]] {{IPA|[p̚]}} or pre-glottalised {{IPA|[ʔp]}} at the end of a syllable. In a single-syllable word, a vowel before a fortis stop is shortened: thus ''nip'' has a noticeably shorter vowel (phonetically, but not phonemically) than ''nib'' {{IPA|[nɪˑb̥]}} ([[#Vowels|see below]]).{{sfn|Collins|Mees|2003|pages=47–53}}+
-* lenis stops: ''bin'' {{IPA|[b̥ɪˑn]}}, ''about'' {{IPA|[əˈbaʊt]}}, ''nib'' {{IPA|[nɪˑb̥]}}+
-* fortis stops: ''pin'' {{IPA|[pʰɪn]}}; ''spin'' {{IPA|[spɪn]}}; ''happy'' {{IPA|[ˈhæpi]}}; ''nip'' {{IPA|[nɪp̚]}} or {{IPA|[nɪʔp]}}+
- +
-In RP, the lateral approximant {{IPA|/l/}}, has two main [[allophone]]s (pronunciation variants): the clear or plain {{IPA|[l]}}, as in ''light'', and the dark or [[velarized alveolar lateral approximant|velarised]] {{IPA|[ɫ]}}, as in ''full''.{{Sfn|Trudgill|Hannah|2008|p=13}} GA has dark ''l'' in most cases.{{Sfn|Trudgill|Hannah|2008|p=41}}+
-* clear ''l'': RP ''light'' {{IPA|[laɪt]}}+
-* dark ''l'': RP and GA ''full'' {{IPA|[fʊɫ]}}, GA ''light'' {{IPA|[ɫaɪt]}}+
- +
-All [[sonorant]]s (liquids {{IPA|/l, r/}} and nasals {{IPA|/m, n, ŋ/}}) devoice when following a voiceless obstruent, and they are syllabic when following a consonant at the end of a word.{{sfn|Brinton|Brinton|2010|pages=56–59}}+
-* voiceless sonorants: ''clay'' {{IPA|[kl̥eɪ̯]}}; ''snow'' RP {{IPA|[sn̥əʊ̯]}}, GA {{IPA|[sn̥oʊ̯]}}+
-* syllabic sonorants: ''paddle'' {{IPA|[ˈpad.l̩]}}, ''button'' {{IPA|[ˈbʌt.n̩]}}+
- +
-=== Vowels ===+
-{{Main|English phonology#Vowels}}+
- +
-The pronunciation of vowels varies a great deal between dialects and is one of the most detectable aspects of a speaker's accent. The table below lists the vowel [[phoneme]]s in Received Pronunciation (RP) and General American (GA), with examples of words in which they occur from [[lexical set]]s compiled by linguists. The vowels are represented with symbols from the International Phonetic Alphabet; those given for RP are standard in British dictionaries and other publications.<ref>{{cite web|last=Wells|first=John C.|date=8 February 2001|url=https://www.phon.ucl.ac.uk/home/wells/ipa-english-uni.htm|title=IPA transcription systems for English|publisher=University College London}}</ref>+
- +
-{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center; float: left; margin-right: 1em;"+
-|+ Monophthongs+
-![[Received Pronunciation|RP]] !! [[General American|GA]] !! Word+
-|-+
-| {{IPA link|iː}} || {{IPA link|i}} || n'''ee'''d+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA link|ɪ}} || b'''i'''d+
-|-+
-| {{IPA link|e̞|e}} || {{IPA link|ɛ}} || b'''e'''d+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA link|æ}}<!-- Pronunciation differs between RP and GA, but until we use separate symbols, these cells will be merged. --> || b'''a'''ck+
-|-+
-| {{IPA link|ɑː}} || rowspan="2" | {{IPA link|ɑ}} || br'''a'''+
-|-+
-| rowspan="2" | {{IPA link|ɒ}} || b'''o'''x+
-|-+
-| rowspan="2" | {{IPA link|ɔ}}, {{IPA link|ɑ}} || cl'''o'''th+
-|-+
-| {{IPA link|o|ɔː}} || p'''aw'''+
-|-+
-| {{IPA link|uː}} || {{IPA link|u}} || f'''oo'''d+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA link|ʊ}}<!-- Pronunciation differs between RP and GA, with GA probably closer to {{IPA|[ɵ]}}, but until we use separate symbols, these cells will be merged. --> || g'''oo'''d+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA link|ɐ|ʌ}} || b'''u'''t+
-|-+
-| {{IPA link|ə|ɜː}} || {{IPA link|ɚ|ɜɹ}} || b'''ir'''d+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA link|ə}} || comm'''a'''+
-|}+
- +
-<div style="float: left;">+
-{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"+
-|+ Closing diphthongs+
-![[Received Pronunciation|RP]] !! [[General American|GA]] !! Word+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA|eɪ}} || b'''ay'''+
-|-+
-| {{IPA|əʊ}} || {{IPA|oʊ}} || r'''oa'''d+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA|aɪ}} || cr'''y'''+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA|aʊ}} || c'''ow'''+
-|-+
-| colspan="2" | {{IPA|ɔɪ}} || b'''oy'''+
-|}+
- +
-{| class="wikitable" style="text-align: center;"+
-|+ Centering diphthongs+
-![[Received Pronunciation|RP]] !! [[General American|GA]] !! word+
-|-+
-| {{IPA|ɪə}} || {{IPA|ɪɹ}} || p'''eer'''+
-|-+
-| {{IPA link|ɛ|eə}} || {{IPA|ɛɹ}} || p'''air'''+
-|-+
-| {{IPA|ʊə}} || {{IPA|ʊɹ}} || p'''oor'''+
-|}+
-</div>+
-{{clear}}+
- +
-In RP, vowel length is phonemic; [[vowel length|long vowels]] are marked with a [[triangular colon]] {{angbr IPA|ː}} in the table above, such as the vowel of ''need'' {{IPA|[niːd]}} as opposed to ''bid'' {{IPA|[bɪd]}}. In GA, vowel length is non-distinctive.+
- +
-In both RP and GA, vowels are phonetically [[clipping (phonetics)|shortened before fortis consonants]] in the same [[syllable]], like {{IPA|/t tʃ f/}}, but not before lenis consonants like {{IPA|/d dʒ v/}} or in open syllables: thus, the vowels of ''rich'' {{IPA|[rɪtʃ]}}, ''neat'' {{IPA|[nit]}}, and ''safe'' {{IPA|[seɪ̯f]}} are noticeably shorter than the vowels of ''ridge'' {{IPA|[rɪˑdʒ]}}, ''need'' {{IPA|[niˑd]}}, and ''save'' {{IPA|[seˑɪ̯v]}}, and the vowel of ''light'' {{IPA|[laɪ̯t]}} is shorter than that of ''lie'' {{IPA|[laˑɪ̯]}}. Because lenis consonants are frequently voiceless at the end of a syllable, vowel length is an important cue as to whether the following consonant is lenis or fortis.{{sfn|Collins|Mees|2003|pp=46–50}}+
- +
-The vowel {{IPA|/ə/}} only occurs in unstressed syllables and is more open in quality in stem-final positions.{{sfn|Cruttenden|2014|p=138}}{{sfn|Flemming|Johnson|2007}} Some dialects do not contrast {{IPA|/ɪ/}} and {{IPA|/ə/}} in unstressed positions, so that ''rabbit'' and ''abbot'' rhyme and ''Lenin'' and ''Lennon'' are homophonous, a dialect feature called [[weak vowel merger]].{{sfn|Wells|1982|p=167}} GA {{IPA|/ɜr/}} and {{IPA|/ər/}} are realised as an [[r-colored vowel|''r''-coloured vowel]] {{IPA|[ɚ]}}, as in ''further'' {{IPA|[ˈfɚðɚ]}} (phonemically {{IPA|/ˈfɜrðər/}}), which in RP is realised as {{IPA|[ˈfəːðə]}} (phonemically {{IPA|/ˈfɜːðə/}}).{{sfn|Wells|1982|p=121}}+
- +
-=== Phonotactics ===+
-An English syllable includes a syllable nucleus consisting of a vowel sound. Syllable onset and coda (start and end) are optional. A syllable can start with up to three consonant sounds, as in ''sprint'' {{IPA|/sprɪnt/}}, and end with up to four, as in ''texts'' {{IPA|/teksts/}}. This gives an English syllable the following structure, (CCC)V(CCCC) where C represents a consonant and V a vowel; the word ''strengths'' {{IPA|/strɛŋkθs/}} is thus an example of the most complex syllable possible in English. The consonants that may appear together in onsets or codas are restricted, as is the order in which they may appear. Onsets can only have four types of consonant clusters: a stop and approximant, as in ''play''; a voiceless fricative and approximant, as in ''fly'' or ''sly''; ''s'' and a voiceless stop, as in ''stay''; and ''s'', a voiceless stop, and an approximant, as in ''string''.{{sfn|Brinton|Brinton|2010|page=60}} Clusters of nasal and stop are only allowed in codas. Clusters of obstruents always agree in voicing, and clusters of sibilants and of plosives with the same point of articulation are prohibited. Furthermore, several consonants have limited distributions: {{IPA|/h/}} can only occur in syllable-initial position, and {{IPA|/ŋ/}} only in syllable-final position.{{sfn|König|1994|pages=537–538}}+
- +
-=== Stress, rhythm and intonation ===+
-{{See also|Stress and vowel reduction in English|Intonation in English}}+
- +
-[[stress (linguistics)|Stress]] plays an important role in English. Certain [[syllable]]s are stressed, while others are unstressed. Stress is a combination of duration, intensity, vowel quality, and sometimes changes in pitch. Stressed syllables are pronounced longer and louder than unstressed syllables, and vowels in unstressed syllables are frequently [[vowel reduction|reduced]] while vowels in stressed syllables are not.{{sfn|International Phonetic Association|1999|page=42}} Some words, primarily short function words but also some modal verbs such as ''can'', have [[weak and strong forms in English|weak and strong forms]] depending on whether they occur in stressed or non-stressed position within a sentence.+
- +
-Stress in English is [[phoneme|phonemic]], and some pairs of words are distinguished by stress. For instance, the word ''contract'' is stressed on the first syllable ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|k|ɒ|n|t|r|æ|k|t}} {{respell|KON|trakt}}) when used as a noun, but on the last syllable ({{IPAc-en|k|ə|n|ˈ|t|r|æ|k|t}} {{respell|kən|TRAKT|'}}) for most meanings (for example, "reduce in size") when used as a verb.{{sfn|Oxford Learner's Dictionary|2015|loc=Entry "contract"}}{{sfn|Merriam Webster|2015|loc=Entry "contract"}}{{sfn|Macquarie Dictionary|2015|loc=Entry "contract"}} Here stress is connected to [[vowel reduction]]: in the noun "contract" the first syllable is stressed and has the unreduced vowel {{IPA|/ɒ/}}, but in the verb "contract" the first syllable is unstressed and its vowel is reduced to {{IPA|/ə/}}. Stress is also used to distinguish between words and phrases, so that a compound word receives a single stress unit, but the corresponding phrase has two: e.g. ''a burnout'' ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|b|ɜːr|n|aʊ|t}}) versus ''to burn out'' ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|b|ɜːr|n|_|ˈ|aʊ|t}}), and ''a hotdog'' ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|h|ɒ|t|d|ɒ|g}}) versus ''a hot dog'' ({{IPAc-en|ˈ|h|ɒ|t|_|ˈ|d|ɒ|g}}).{{sfn|Brinton|Brinton|2010|page=66}}+
- +
-In terms of [[rhythm]], English is generally described as a [[stress-timed]] language, meaning that the amount of time between stressed syllables tends to be equal. Stressed syllables are pronounced longer, but unstressed syllables (syllables between stresses) are shortened. Vowels in unstressed syllables are shortened as well, and vowel shortening causes changes in [[vowel quality]]: [[vowel reduction]].+
- +
-=== Regional variation ===+
-{| class="wikitable mw-collapsible"+
-|+ class="nowrap" | Varieties of Standard English and their features{{sfn|Trudgill|Hannah|2002|pp=4–6}}+
-! Phonological<br />features !! [[American English|United<br />States]] !! [[Canadian English|Canada]] !! [[Hiberno-English|Republic<br />of Ireland]] !! [[Ulster English|Northern<br />Ireland]] !! [[Scottish English|Scotland]] !! [[English language in England|England]] !! [[Welsh English|Wales]] !! [[South African English|South<br />Africa]] !! [[Australian English|Australia]] !! [[New Zealand English|New<br />Zealand]]+
-|-+
-! [[father-bother merger|''father''–''bother'' merger]]+
-| yes || yes || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"|+
-|-+
-! {{IPAc-en|ɒ}} is [[unrounded]]+
-| yes || yes || yes || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"|+
-|-+
-! {{IPAc-en|ɜr}} is pronounced {{IPA|[ɚ]}}+
-| yes || yes || yes || yes || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"|+
-|-+
-! [[cot-caught merger|''cot''–''caught'' merger]]+
-| possibly || yes || possibly || yes || yes || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"|+
-|-+
-! [[Full–fool merger|''fool''–''full'' merger]]+
-| style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || yes || yes || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"|+
-|-+
-! {{IPAc-en|t|,_|d}} [[flapping]]+
-| yes || yes || possibly || often || rarely || rarely || rarely || rarely || yes || often+
-|-+
-! [[trap-bath split|''trap''–''bath'' split]]+
-| style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || possibly || possibly || style="background:lightgrey;"| || yes || yes || yes || often || yes+
-|-+
-! [[rhoticity in English|non-rhotic]] ({{IPAc-en|r}}-dropping after vowels)+
-| style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || yes || yes || yes || yes || yes+
-|-+
-! close vowels for {{IPA|/æ, ɛ/}}+
-| style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || yes || yes || yes+
-|-+
-! {{IPAc-en|l}} can always be pronounced {{IPA|[ɫ]}}+
-| yes || yes || style="background:lightgrey;"| || yes || yes || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || yes || yes+
-|-+
-! {{IPA|/ɑːr/}} is [[fronted (phonetics)|fronted]]+
-| style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || possibly || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || style="background:lightgrey;"| || yes || yes+
-|}+
-{|class="wikitable" style="float: right;"+
-|+ Dialects and low vowels+
-! [[Lexical set]] !! RP || GA !! Can !! Sound change+
-|-+
-! {{sc2|THOUGHT}}+
-| {{IPA|/ɔː/}} || rowspan="2" | {{IPA|/ɔ/}} or {{IPA|/ɑ/}} || rowspan="4" | {{IPA|/ɑ/}} || [[Cot–caught merger|''cot''–''caught'' merger]]+
-|-+
-! {{sc2|CLOTH}}+
-| rowspan="2" | {{IPA|/ɒ/}} || [[Lot–cloth split|''lot''–''cloth'' split]]+
-|-+
-! {{sc2|LOT}}+
-| rowspan="2" | {{IPA|/ɑ/}} || rowspan="2" | [[Father–bother merger|''father''–''bother'' merger]]+
-|-+
-! {{sc2|PALM}}+
-| rowspan="2" | {{IPA|/ɑː/}}+
-|-+
-! {{sc2|BATH}}+
-| rowspan="2" | {{IPA|/æ/}} || rowspan="2" | {{IPA|/æ/}} || rowspan="2" | [[Trap–bath split|''trap''–''bath'' split]]+
-|-+
-! {{sc2|TRAP}}+
-| {{IPA|/æ/}}+
-|}+
-Varieties of English vary the most in pronunciation of vowels. The best known national varieties used as standards for education in non English-speaking countries are British (BrE) and American (AmE). Countries such as [[Canadian English|Canada]], [[Australian English|Australia]], [[Hiberno English|Ireland]], [[New Zealand English|New Zealand]] and [[South African English|South Africa]] have their own standard varieties which are less often used as standards for education internationally. Some differences between the various dialects are shown in the table "Varieties of Standard English and their features".{{sfn|Trudgill|Hannah|2002|pp=4–6}}+
- +
-English has undergone many [[Phonological history of English|historical sound changes]], some of them affecting all varieties, and others affecting only a few. Most standard varieties are affected by the [[Great Vowel Shift]], which changed the pronunciation of long vowels, but a few dialects have slightly different results. In North America, a number of chain shifts such as the [[Northern Cities Vowel Shift]] and [[Canadian Shift]] have produced very different vowel landscapes in some regional accents.+
- +
-Some dialects have fewer or more consonant phonemes and [[phone (phonetics)|phones]] than the standard varieties. Some conservative varieties like Scottish English have a [[voicelessness|voiceless]] {{IPAblink|ʍ}} sound in ''whine'' that contrasts with the voiced {{IPA|[w]}} in ''wine'', but most other dialects pronounce both words with voiced {{IPA|[w]}}, a dialect feature called [[wine–whine merger|''wine''–''whine'' merger]]. The unvoiced velar fricative sound {{IPA|/x/}} is found in Scottish English, which distinguishes ''loch'' {{IPA|/lɔx/}} from ''lock'' {{IPA|/lɔk/}}. Accents like [[Cockney]] with "''h''-dropping" lack the glottal fricative {{IPA|/h/}}, and dialects with [[th-stopping|''th''-stopping]] and [[th-fronting|''th''-fronting]] like [[African American Vernacular English|African American Vernacular]] and [[Estuary English]] do not have the dental fricatives {{IPA|/θ, ð/}}, but replace them with dental or alveolar stops {{IPA|/t, d/}} or labiodental fricatives {{IPA|/f, v/}}.{{sfn|Roach|2009|p=53}}{{sfn|Giegerich|1992|page=36}} Other changes affecting the phonology of local varieties are processes such as [[Yod-dropping|''yod''-dropping]], [[yod-coalescence|''yod''-coalescence]], and reduction of consonant clusters.+
- +
-[[General American]] and [[Received Pronunciation]] vary in their pronunciation of historical {{IPA|/r/}} after a vowel at the end of a syllable (in the [[syllable coda]]). GA is a [[rhotic and non-rhotic accents|rhotic dialect]], meaning that it pronounces {{IPA|/r/}} at the end of a syllable, but RP is non-rhotic, meaning that it loses {{IPA|/r/}} in that position. English dialects are classified as rhotic or non-rhotic depending on whether they elide {{IPA|/r/}} like RP or keep it like GA.{{sfn|Lass|2000|p=114}}+
- +
-There is complex dialectal variation in words with the [[Phonological history of English short A|open front]] and [[Phonological history of English low back vowels|open back vowels]] {{IPA|/æ ɑː ɒ ɔː/}}. These four vowels are only distinguished in RP, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. In GA, these vowels merge to three {{IPA|/æ ɑ ɔ/}},{{sfn|Wells|1982|pages=xviii–xix}} and in Canadian English, they merge to two {{IPA|/æ ɑ/}}.{{sfn|Wells|1982|page=493}} In addition, the words that have each vowel vary by dialect. The table "Dialects and open vowels" shows this variation with [[lexical set]]s in which these sounds occur.+
- +
- +
== See == == See ==
*[[Anglophone]] *[[Anglophone]]

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

English is a West Germanic language originating in England.

Modern English is sometimes described as the global lingua franca.

Phonology

English phonology of the English language differ from one dialect to another, usually without interfering with mutual communication. Phonological variation affects the inventory of phonemes (i.e. speech sounds that distinguish meaning), and phonetic variation consists in differences in pronunciation of the phonemes.

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