Vowels in Contact: A case study in Romanian

Sorina Dragusanu


From a desire to better understand the effect of both external and internal factors on vowel production in immigrant groups, this paper explores the change in vowel quality of two speakers of Romanian in Canada. The focus is on the behaviour of the central high vowel, which lacks a correlate in English, and the implication of age at the time of immigration.

The Lobanov vowel extrinsic method for normalization of speaker data was used to analyze two speakers’ vowel production. The raw and normalized means from each participant are compared to a control. Language internal factors were better at predicting change than language external ones. Both participants maintained their production of the high central vowel due to its phonetic distance. Further, both participants produced a more raised schwa than the control. This points to a divergence rather than convergence towards English.


sociolinguistics, vowels, Romanian

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Working Papers of the Linguistics Circle

EISSN: 1920-440X
ISSN: 1200-3344

University of Victoria