The efficacy of the use of the Ling sounds in South Wales
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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Purpose This study investigated the suitability of the /u/ (‘oo’) vowel for use in the Ling sound test in South Wales. /u/ was included in the test as a low frequency sound. However, research suggested that it was produced with higher frequencies in some accents of the UK, compared to North America, where the test was designed. There was little information about the nature of /u/ in South Wales, therefore this study aimed to investigate this vowel, along with / / (‘or’), as a possible alternative low frequency sound. Method Audio recordings of /u/ and / / were made of 20 male and 20 female speakers from 2 areas of South Wales. These recordings were used to produce spectrograms, which were analysed, to identify the formant frequencies. Results The results revealed that /u/ was produced with a higher frequency second formant than / / in South Walian accents. /u/ had a higher first and second formant in South Wales, both compared to other accent studies in Wales, and to the nature of the sound as intended by the creator of the Ling sound test. Conclusion /u/ is not an appropriate low frequency sound to use in the Ling sound test in South Wales. Further research is needed to determine whether / /, or a different sound would be the most suitable low frequency sound for use in this area, and across the UK.
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