FOOT and STRUT in Northern England

Josh Lalonde   Mon May 07, 2007 12:49 am GMT
From what I've read, not distinguishing 'put' and 'putt' is fairly stigmatized in the North. How common is the non-split accent? Is it only working-class people who have it, or do some middle class people as well? Is it less common among young people? Do some people have a variable split?
Guest   Mon May 07, 2007 1:24 am GMT
Is it really stigmatized? I thought that was standard?
Guest   Mon May 07, 2007 1:45 am GMT
It less accepted than the absense of the trap-bath split.
Liz   Mon May 07, 2007 6:29 am GMT
It isn't stigmatised in the North, being quite normal and widespread there. It is stigmatised in the South as it is a feature of northern dialects, which are somewhat looked down on in the South.

I know lots of middle class / educated people who don't have the split. I think it isn't necessarily the indicator of SES or the level of education in the North.
I might be wrong, though.
Adam   Wed May 09, 2007 7:03 pm GMT
"not distinguishing 'put' and 'putt' is fairly stigmatized in the North"

I didn't think it was possible to differentiate between "put" abd "putt".

They sound EXACTLY the same to me.

How are they pronounced in Southern England?
Damian in Edinburgh   Wed May 09, 2007 9:57 pm GMT
As a Scot commenting on English accents there doesn't seem to be much difference (to my ears) between the Northern and Southern pronunciations of the world "put". Rhymes with "soot". Add a "t" and getting "putt" does make a world of difference...the Northern still sounds like "put" (rhyming with "soot" - a closer "u" sound) but the Southern sounds like "but" with a wider "u" sound, as in a host of other words like gut, strut, hut, shut, butter, mutter etc. The vowel sound is quite different North to South, and that's one of the main differences between Northern and Southern English speech, just as the broader "a" sound in the South (past, mast, grant, trance, last etc) and the very short flat "a" in the North in such words.

Perhaps Adam can tell us whereabouts on the map of England the North/South dividing line lies? But with the Midlands acting as a buffer zone I suppose there are two lines - one north of the Midlands and one south? Nottingham in the north Midlands and Northampton in the south Midlands? Adam - over to you, pal. On second thoughts, don't bother - knowing you the C&P jobs will be too long and tedious......
Rick Johnson   Thu May 10, 2007 9:30 pm GMT
People in the South of England have vowel splits between "put" and "cut" and between "full" and "dull" with the latter two having more of an "a" sound. These tend to be rhyming pairs in the North of England amongst all social classes. An example of this was on a TV comedy series called Phoenix Nights set in Bolton where a southern student asks is this the "funny farm?" the "fanny farm" replies one of the bouncers.

The North/ South divide is somewhere slighly south of Leicester.
Guest   Thu May 10, 2007 11:27 pm GMT
Sorry but "fanny" and "funny" are pronounced differently in the south. You'll have to use some other phonetic notation to describe what you mean.
Liz   Fri May 11, 2007 1:45 pm GMT
<<Sorry but "fanny" and "funny" are pronounced differently in the south. You'll have to use some other phonetic notation to describe what you mean.>>

No, I think you've misunderstood what Rick said. He didn't claim that "funny" and "fanny" are pronounced the same in the South. "Funny" is pronounced with an "u" and the vowel in "fanny" is closer to the southern "strut"-vowel than to the southern "fanny"-vowel in the North. As northeners don't have the strut-vowel, they might mistake it for a "path"-vowel. Hence the comical situation of misunderstanding.
Josh Lalonde   Fri May 11, 2007 9:33 pm GMT
I did a little more reading on the subject and seems to be in the Midlands that non-split FOOT-STRUT is most stigmatized. I suppose there's more influence from Southern varieties there. I also read that a 'fudge' vowel somewhere between FOOT and STRUT is becoming more common in different parts of England, from Newcastle to London. In the North, I guess it would be an approximation of RP from speakers who don't know which set to put the words in, but I don't know why Southern speakers would do this.