Phonological Generalizations

In order to say something about the phonetic transcriptions in this site, we have developed a series of phonological generalizations. Generalizations are general rules that describe a speaker's accent. Generalizations are made based on a comparison between the sample and our own dialect which happens to be General American English (GAE). We are not presuming to say that our accent is the only true English accent in comparison to which all others are deemed sub-standard or faulty. However, it would be impossible to make generalizations about our samples without some dialect to compare them to. Since we are American, we chose GAE, specifically English 1.

Our generalizations look at what non-native and non-GAE speakers do that is different from GAE. Each generalization must have two or more instances in the sample to be considered a general rule for that speaker. And each generalization must have two or more instances among a set of speakers to be considered a general rule for that language set. We divide the generalizations into 3 types: consonantal changes, vowel changes, and syllable structure changes (additions or subtractions of consonants or vowels):

Consonantal Change
  • voicing change
  • stop --> fricative
  • interdental fricative change
    • th --> t/d
    • th --> s/z
    • th -->f/v
  • palatalization
  • retroflexing
  • alveolar approximant change
    • r --> trill
    • r --> uvular fricative
    • r --> l
    • l --> r
    • r-->flap
  • w -->fricative
    • w --> v
    • w --> bilabial
  • dentalization
  • h --> velar fricative
  • sh --> s
  • stop --> implosive
  • labialization
Vowel Change
  • vowel raising
  • vowel shortening
  • vowel lowering
Syllable Structure Change
  • vowel insertion
  • consonant deletion
    • r-deletion
  • cluster reduction
  • consonant insertion
    • glottal insertion