International Phonetic Alphabet for 'my'

SnakI Survived the Great Vowel Shift

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International Phonetic Alphabet for 'my'

Dette emne er markeret som "i hvile"—det seneste indlæg er mere end 90 dage gammel. Du kan vække emnet til live ved at poste et indlæg.

Redigeret: mar 2, 2010, 4:01am

I realised this morning that there was something puzzling in the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary. Since I got it last January, my eye had been attracted by something queer in the International Phonetic Alphabet transliteration of words such as ‘my’, which is given as /m۸ı/ (sorry I do not know where to find the proper phonetic character for the one in the middle, which is an inverted v; I do not know if the Arabic number I inserted instead will work).

When I refer to my French-English Harrap’s Shorter (1967) and my Harrap’s Unabridged (2007), the phonetics is /maı/. This is also what Burchfield gives in the IPA summary at the beginning of his New Fowler’s Modern English Usage.

Hence my question:
Has there been a shift in pronunciation for a word such as ‘my’? Or does the transliteration used by the SOED better reflect the nuance to pronounce this sound?

mar 2, 2010, 9:29am

The transcription of the PRICE vowel by /ʌɪ/ rather than /aɪ/ is one of the controversial changes in Clive Upton's SOED scheme. You can read about this, for instance, on John Wells's page (last section).

There are English dialects where that vowel is definitely formed that way in some environments, such as Canadian. But that wasn't the intention here, which was to show some nuanced, as you say, difference in the onset vowel in RP / Estuary.