flan, anyone?

The pink dot in the chart shows F1 and F2 values for the vowel in flan as spoken by an American (in pink); the blue dots show a variety of vowels spoken by a Scot. US flan is closer to Scottish /ɔ/ and /o/ than /a/, when the values for these vowels are measured from the following handful of words which happened to be in my files:

  • /o/ from coat, rope, story, roadblock, gold-digger
  • /ɔ/ from fawn, lorry, chops, quantity, conscience
  • /a/ from lamb, grandmother, blackbird, glass, magpie, magic


The other vowels are just added in for comparison – I started off with /i/ (as in deed, bean, leaf, bean, beam) and /u/ (as in queue, toothpaste, cartoon, saloon, movement, tuna) to complete the triangle with /a/ (except that it didn’t make a triangle, somewhat predictably, hence the inclusion of /o/). You can fill in /e/ and /ɛ/ for yourself (that’s as in bait, gate, etc for /e/ and bet, deck, etc for /ɛ/) – they’d go down the right hand side somewhere (see here for a rough idea – and even more vowels!).

8 thoughts on “flan, anyone?

  1. Wow – thank you so much, Cath! I do, however, now feel quite guilty about distracting you from your PhD work with my inane trivialities :oops:

    I take it you have some fancy software package that you play sounds into and it plots the results for you?



  2. Nothing to feel guilty about! It’s not difficult at all, plus it gave me the chance to confirm that the values for /u/ which i plotted on that earlier chart are actually representative, not just a blip from choosing the wrong word to analyse. (I still need to look at other speakers – this is just data from one speaker so maybe that /u/ will move more rightwards on the chart where it’s canonically expected to be (see here eg), altho i somehow doubt it

    In terms of software, i swear by Praat :)


  3. Explain Spaceship in liguistic terms Cath and I can prove I ‘aint delusional right now :). Also explain Alex Salmond, three FCC scallywags and demons in the same pizza box and I can tell my GP and psych that I ‘aint deluded :).

    Methinks it’s time for mair Barley cup :)

    And by the way some folk from the FCC use worse software than Praat. They use Road Angel – shocking!


  4. Well, i’m comparing one Scottish speaker with one American speaker who are both presumably representative of their local dialects. I’d love to make it *more* representative but it’ll have to wait till i have time & opportunity (read: funding)


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