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Department of Linguistics

PHONETICS AND PHONOLOGY

Phonemic (Broad) Transcription of Australian English

Robert Mannell and Felicity Cox

What symbols should we use for a phonemic transcription of Australian English?

 

Phonemes of General Australian English

Consonants

The voiceless (or unvoiced) consonants are on the left and the voiced consonants are on the right in each of the tables, below.

1. Oral stops (or plosives)

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/p/ pat  
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/b/ bat
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/t/ tin  
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/d/ din
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/k/ cap  
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/ɡ/ go

2. Affricates

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/tʃ/ or /t͡ʃ/ choose  
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/dʒ/ or /d͡ʒ/ judge

3. Fricatives

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/f/ fan  
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/v/ van
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/θ/ think  
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/ð/ these
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/s/ so  
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/z/ zoo
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/ʃ/ she  
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/ʒ/ beige
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/h/ he      

4. Nasals (or nasal stops)

   
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/m/ my
   
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/n/ no
   
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/ŋ/ sing

5. Approximants

   
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/w/ we
 
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/j/ you
 
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/l/ leaf
 
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/ɹ/ run

Note: /w/ and /j/ are also called semi-vowels, because they are very similar acoustically to vowels.

Vowels

This material should be read in conjunction with the lecture materials on Australian English Vowels.

1. Monophthongs

Long vowels
 
Short vowels
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/iː/ heed  
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/ɪ/ hid
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/eː/ hair  
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/e/ head
       
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/æ/ had
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/ɐː/ hard  
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/ɐ/ mud
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/oː/ hoard, saw  
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/ɔ/ pod
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/ʉː/ who'd  
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/ʊ/ hood
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/ɜː/ herd  
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/ə/ the (spoken quickly)

2. Diphthongs

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/æɪ/ say  
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/əʉ/ so
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/ɑe/ high  
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/æɔ/ how
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/oɪ/ toy  
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/ɪə/ here
     

 

Diagnostic chart of General Australian English Vowels

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/ɪ/   Is a little lipstick permissible for women in Egyptian villages?
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/iː/   The trees seem a very deep green this season.
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/e/   Fred was sent to bed at twenty to seven.
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/æ/   That man had a bad habit of cramming his hats and jackets into a bag.
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/ɐː/   It's rather hard to laugh when your fast car can't pass a large farm cart.
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/ɐ/   My brother jumped but stumbled into a muddy puddle.
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/ɔ/   Frogs squat on rotten logs in foggy bogs.
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/oː/   The author's small daughter was born on August the fourth.
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/ʊ/   Look at the cook putting sugar in the pudding.
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/ʉː/   Who'd choose the juice of stewed fruit such as prunes?
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/ɜː/   It's absurd for a worker to burn his dirty work shirt.
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/ə/   One of the policemen told them there was a photographer at the corner.
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/æɪ/   The waiter gave the lady the eight stale cakes.
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/ɑe/   A bright white light is shining high in the sky.
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/oɪ/   I'm annoyed that the poisonous oysters have spoilt my enjoyment.
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/æɔ/   This town has a thousand houses with a mouse in every house.
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/əʉ/   I hope Joan won't go home alone.
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/ɪə/   The engineer's gear is near here on the pier.
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/eː/   Sarah has fairer hair than Mary.

/ʊə/ note: This centring diphthong does not regularly occur in the speech of young Australians. Speakers regularly substitute either /ʉːə/ (a sequence of 2 phonemes and in 'tour') or use /oː/ (a long monophthong as in 'poor'). For this reason no examples are given here.

 

References

Cox, F., (2012) Australian English: Pronunciation and Transcription, Cambridge University Press.

Harrington, J., Cox, F., and Evans, Z. (1997) An acoustic phonetic study of broad, general, and cultivated Australian English vowels. Australian Journal of Linguistics, 17, 155-184.