9th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Brisbane, Australia
September 22-26, 2008

Reversal of Short Front Vowel Raising in Australian English

Felicity Cox, Sallyanne Palethorpe

Macquarie University, Australia

In this paper we present the results of a trend analysis comparing acoustic vowel data collected from Australian English speakers over the past 40 years. Results reveal the final stage of short front vowel raising and provide evidence for subsequent lowering as a change in progress. We argue that this result reflects the reversal of a series of vowel changes that have been in progress for over 100 years. These findings raise interesting theoretical questions about the nature of vowel shifts and challenge Bybee's [1] assertion that sound change reversals cannot occur.


  1. ] Bybee, J., Phonology and Language Use, CUP, 2001.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cox, Felicity / Palethorpe, Sallyanne (2008): "Reversal of short front vowel raising in Australian English", In INTERSPEECH-2008, 342-345.